Several months ago we heard from a reader that soaking her feet in vinegar and Listerine cleaned up her toenail fungus:


“When I read your article about soaking the toes in vinegar and Listerine every day, I figured I had little to lose. I started soaking twice a day and I still am. It’s been three months and all my nails have cleared up except for the big toes. Even they have nearly grown out and are looking pink and healthy. I can’t thank you enough.”

Since then we have heard from others that this inexpensive home remedy has been helpful. Of course readers want to know what the “right” formula is and how long they must soak their tootsies. The answer is, there is no answer. Some people use a half and half dilution. Others dilute the vinegar (2 parts water to 1 part vinegar) first. There is no science here, so experimentation is not only permitted, it is encouraged.
Here is the most recent story from Andrea:

Hi! Just wanted to let you all know that I have been doing the vinegar since January and my toenail is almost cured!
I don’t soak my foot anymore because I got sick of sitting around and my husband was sick of the terrible smell. So I put some vinegar in a little spray bottle that I would take with me everywhere I go. I spray my toenail every time I remember, at least 4 times a day. I realized about a month ago that my toenail was much better. I was doing the spraying thing just as a routine, with little hope… thinking about doing the pills (a friend told me it worked for her, but I was scared about any side effects).
So now I will keep spraying my toenail and will do more foot treatments like I used to do. My toenail is growing and the bad part is almost gone!! :)))
April 6, 2010
Andrea

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  1. Betty
    Reply

    Thank you for all the great info. I’m going to start the Listerine/Vinegar treatment today.

  2. Ruby
    Reply

    To AMH: It’s almost certainly fungal. It came back when you wore the shoes because it never really went away. It takes a long time to fully leave your system, and only with consistent treatment. Forget those antibiotics; use either an anti-fungal toenail treatment from the drugstore, or try this vinegar/Listerine soak. I can’t personally attest to how well the soak works because I haven’t tried it yet, but everyone posting here seems to have had a lot of success. I plan to try it soon myself.
    One thing I can say for sure is it’s really important to keep your feet clean and dry as much as you can, and try to wear flip flops or sandals. Feet perspire inside closed-toed shoes, so if you have to wear that kind, be sure to wear only white socks with them. Wash your socks in the hottest water with no soap. A little bleach is okay. If there is some kind of stain or grime on the sock, just spot clean it with a little drop of liquid detergent, or one of those Clorox bleach pens. Then wash in the hot, hot water and rinse extremely thoroughly. Only wear fresh, clean socks, never longer than one day in a row. (Don’t be offended; lots of people re-wear their socks. I used to! I wore the same few pairs of socks in layers all winter, several days each time, because my house has no heat. That’s all it took. I won’t be doing that again.)
    I have been using an expensive anti-fungal serum (brushed on like polish) from the dermatologist. It has been helping, but when it runs out soon, I am eager to try the vinegar and Listerine. In fact, I’m going to get generic Listerine from Walmart (Equate brand). Might as well save a couple bucks considering the serum cost over $50 for a 3-month supply!

  3. SS
    Reply

    This is the third time I had a toenail fungus infection; could I dig it out with a toothpick, or will it eventually dissolve on its own? Because I do not want to make the infection worse.

  4. TC
    Reply

    I was told to spray inside of shoes to prevent reinfection of fungus. Or buy all new shoes. Change shoes frequently and let them air dry from wearing. Wash sox in hot water with detergent. I dry my sox (usually worn only during winter) in the dryer, then spray them with vinegar and let them air dry. This is my personal preference.

  5. Libby Howard-Blood
    Reply

    Another wonderful remedy is TEA TREE OIL…..which is anti-viral/anti-fungal and anti-bacterial. Apply directly to affected problem area. Extremely cost effective.

  6. AMH
    Reply

    I have one toe that was red and swollen around the nail and the nail is now half yellow. I took 10 days of antibiotics which cleared up the swelling and pain and redness. A month later, after wearing a loose fitting pair of shoes for a day, it is now red, swollen, and painful again. Yellow nail is gradually growing out. Anyway, I think it’s bacterial, not fungal. Would the vinegar/Listerine soak work for bacterial infection as well?
    Thanks!

  7. Kahleen
    Reply

    That’s good news!

  8. cf
    Reply

    I have had yellow toenails since I was like 11, I am now 24. I was in karate n had to be bare foot which I’m guessing is the reason I had mild athletes foot as well. I have been putting on white vinegar in a cotton ball n taped it on my toenails for about 4 weeks. It has worked great! My nails are half way grown out and they look great!! Excited till they grow out completely!

  9. Kahleen
    Reply

    Excellent SJ – I was using my slippers to prop up the heel area creating the same affect! I love how we keep perfecting everyone’s ideas – makes things so much easier without your own “trial-error” process.

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