Q. I have been trying to find white (no dye) iodine. No pharmacy near me carries it. In the past I used it successfully to get rid of wart-like growths. I have also heard that it works against nail fungus. Any ideas where I should look?
A. Iodine has been used as a disinfectant and antifungal agent for more than a century. Standard tincture of iodine can stain the skin brown, which is why people use “white” iodine. Humco makes iodides tincture (decolorized iodine). Your pharmacy can order it or you may find it at Humco.com.
You are right that many people have found it helpful against nail fungus. Here’s one report:
Q. I was interested in the letter from a reader who applied tincture of iodine to his nails to fight fungus. He mentioned that it stains the nails brown. I am surprised you did not tell him that iodine also comes as a colorless liquid. My mother used it for years to control toenail fungus.
A. Many other readers hastened to tell us that we should have mentioned clear iodine. It is also called decolorized or “white” iodine (yodo blanco in Spanish) and won’t stain the skin the way brown tincture of iodine does. It should be available in most drugstores, though you may have to ask the pharmacist to help you find it. Iodine is a good disinfectant and also has antifungal activity.
A few other readers have made suggestions:
“I am surprised that you did not give the correct chemical name for white/clear iodine. It might make it easier to find. It is simply a water solution of potassium iodide. In addition to being anti-fungal it is also used as an expectorant.”
“I think that some of you are using the wrong word about white iodine. Try asking for DECOLORIZED IODINE. I found some in the CVS pharmacy. If you can’t find it then ask your pharmacist to order, using the word “DECOLORIZED IODINE” instead of “WHITE IODINE.” Paint your toenail several times a day.”
“I had toenail fungus. My doctor prescribed lamisil, but after reading about the side effects I did not want to take it, even though my insurance would have covered the THOUSANDS of dollars in cost! After reading your article, I went online and ordered decolorized iodine which came in small bottles. I could only get like a package of 6. It was about $30 and I figured it was worth a try.
“I used it once a day for a month, at bedtime after washing my feet. I swabbed it carefully all over the toenail and all around the cuticle and skin surrounding the toenail, including the tip of my toe. I only had a problem on the big toes but applied the iodine to all toes just in case it was starting where I could not see.
“Two months later now, there is plainly new growth that is healthy and the old discolored part is plainly growing off. About half my nail is new, clean and strong, while the part that is growing off is discolored and thin and weak. There is a very obvious line where the old nail is growing off. I’m very happy with the results”
Should you wish to know lots more about other low-cost, low-risk remedies for nail fungus, wart removal and all sorts of other common conditions, check out our People’s Pharmacy Quick & Handy Home Remedy book.