Q. After reading about toenail fungus, I could not resist passing along my recommendation. Four months ago a nurse who does foot care suggested I use Vicks VapoRub for my own nail fungus. I rub it on each nail every day, and my nails are growing out clear. The treatment is cheap and easy. I’m sure many households keep Vicks on hand for congestion just as we do.

A. This is not the first time we have heard about using Vicks VapoRub on nails infected with fungus. Several years ago a professional foot care nurse told us that this old-fashioned herbal ointment might be helpful.
The ingredients in Vicks VapoRub include camphor, menthol, eucalyptus oil, cedarleaf oil, nutmeg oil, petrolatum, thymol and turpentine oil. Some of these ingredients have antifungal activity.
Over the years we have suggested this as one possible approach for getting rid of nail fungus. Many health professionals have scoffed that such an old-fashioned remedy could do anything against entrenched fungus in the nail bed.
There is now research to support this remedy, though. The U.S. Air Force 375th Medical Group published a study titled “Novel Treatment of Onychomycosis [nail fungus] Using Over-the-Counter Mentholated Ointment: A Clinical Case Series” in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine. The bottom line according to these researchers, “Vicks VapoRub seems to have a positive clinical effect in the treatment onychomycosis.”
If you would like to learn more about how to use Vicks against nail fungus you may find two of our guides of interest, Unique Uses for Vicks and Hair and Nail Care. You will be amused and amazed to find out about the versatile Vicks and how people have used it over the years to treat an amazing number of minor ailments.
There are all sorts of other home remedies for getting rid of nail fungus. One of most surprising is corn meal mush:

“I had a mild, annoying case of toenail fungus and read about using cornmeal to treat it. I mixed a cup of whole-grain cornmeal in very warm water and soaked my toes for about a half hour. I did that for a month or so, and, lo and behold, some months later the fungus started to disappear.
“I’d had that fungus for many years, so it wasn’t any lifestyle change that caused it to go away. There must be something in the cornmeal grain that attacks the fungus.”

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  1. RENEE
    Reply

    My podiatrist just told me to try both the anti-fungal nail polish and vicks.

  2. n.c.
    Reply

    My finger nails starting lifting up and a few weeks later there were huge spaces in 8 nails. It didn’t affect the thumbs. I was wearing a thin veneer of acrylic over them for about a year. Then all of a sudden this happened. It looks horrible and have to wear polish on them because they are so noticeable. Any suggestions?

  3. lou
    Reply

    Yes you can use fungal nail polish and vicks together I do and I can see the change.

  4. K8
    Reply

    I have just started using a anti fungal nail paint. Can I use vicks as well as the paint? Or will it stop the nail paint from working? Also if anyone has used curanail, has it worked for them?

  5. Sharon
    Reply

    A couple of years ago I had a fungal infection so bad in my toenail that it was about to fall off. My GP recommended Vicks Vaporub and it worked a treat. It took several months for the new nail to grow out, but once it did it was perfect. Because of my occupation as a nurse I was prone to these infections, and now I use the rub a couple of times a week to prevent the problem from returning. It may not work for everyone, but it’s worth a try.

  6. Adriana
    Reply

    Hi, I’m 18 and on my right big toe I have fungus I’ve been reading what y’all been writing I will give vicks a try. Hopefully it becomes my best friend. Wish me luck.

  7. AL
    Reply

    Now that summer is here, I prefer to keep my toes polished. Has anyone tried applying these various treatments for nail fungus to painted nails?

  8. Ann R
    Reply

    I had fungus on my big toenail a couple of years ago and read about the Vicks Vaporub remedy. I tried it, but it was such a pain to apply! I decided to try Campho-phenique instead since it seems like the same sort of mentholy-thing. I used a toothpick dipped in it, and ran it around the nail and let it seep under. Within a few weeks, it was obviously clearing up, and after the nail grew out, it was perfect!

  9. LA
    Reply

    Unbelievable! I skimmed the Air Force study (which showed good results over 48 weeks with certain species of fungi) and decided to give Vicks Vaporub a try. I have one toenail that has been thick, yellow, and deformed for years. Within 2 days I had a white nail that was much thinner. After 4 days it appears to be much flatter. I doubled the treatment the study was using. I put a thin coat on twice a day. I am astounded at the change. Can’t wait to see how it looks a couple of weeks from now.

  10. kaf
    Reply

    Just a note, Vicks actually made my toenail fungus much worse! What works for one person might not work for another. If it doesn’t work, there are other options out there, including tea tree oil, vinegar soaks etc. and one of them is likely to work for you.

  11. JMG
    Reply

    I’ve had 2-3 fingernail fungus attacks; I used the half-water half vinegar solution to soak the nail for 20-30 minutes twice a day and it worked! It is not speedy, taking about a month or so to kill the fungus and it does take discipline, but it gives me an excuse to sit down, read, and relax while I’m undergoing my ‘treatment’!

  12. PH
    Reply

    Thanks for the tip. I’ll be trying this today. It may help me more than my doctor did. She said everyone has them, just cover it up. My husband has it on a nail on his hand. Not a pretty sight. I can’t wait to give this a try. thanks
    PEOPLE’S PHARMACY RESPONSE:
    The key to success is patience! It takes months for prescription anti-fungal medications to work to get rid of fungus in the nail bed. Home remedies are no faster. It could take as long as 6 months or longer to see real improvement. You will find lots of remedies on this website as well as in our books. They include cornmeal mush, hydrogen peroxide, tea tree oil, Listerine & vinegar soaks, and many more: https://store.peoplespharmacy.com/

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