bottles of listerine and white vinegar

Q. Hi, I am a 21-year-old college student, and I have not had a “normal” big toenail on my left foot since I was 14.  It came off when I was a freshman in high school as I was removing nail polish.  Since then, the toenail has grown back (with fungus) over and over and then repeatedly fallen back off.

I went to a podiatrist once, who prescribed me paint-on medication that did not make any difference at all.  The toenail continued to grow back rough and a yellow-brown color.  It was unsightly and embarrassing, especially in high school. In the summers I kept it covered with a bandaid. As I got older I discovered that I could buy fake nails from Wal-mart and glue them over my ugly toenail.  To say the least, my toenail was annoying and bothersome.  I often said if I could change anything, I would just want pretty feet.

About a year ago, a friend’s mom told me that she had heard of someone using tea tree oil on fungus.  I tried this for a few months. Again, I thought the toenail was growing in clear but then it would just fall off again. I gave up on the tea tree oil.

However, I thought maybe there were other suggestions that might really work, so I got online and found many websites like this one.  I was skeptical, but I thought anything was worth a try. I went out the next day and bought Listerine, Vicks VapoRub, and white vinegar (the off-brand of all 3).  This was 4 months ago.  Since then, I have soaked my toenails for thirty minutes a day in a mixture of equal amounts of Listerine and vinegar.

I use the same mixture for several nights before discarding.  At night I put the Vicks on my toenails and put socks on to sleep (the Vicks does stain your socks!).  Because I have been using the Vicks and the Listerine, I don’t know which is actually curing my toenail, but something is working!

My big toenail is almost completely grown out and it is completely healthy. (Although it did take a while for it to start growing in like that.)  I cannot believe that it has worked so well.  I honestly thought that I would never have a pretty toenail again.  Thank you to the ones who have posted about this. I hope this post will help someone.  Feel free to ask me questions, and I’ll tell you what I know from my experience.

A. Thanks so much for sharing your story. We find it fascinating that many visitors to our website expect nail fungus remedies to work within a few weeks. Many give up and assume that their foot soaks are a waste of time.

It takes a long time for nails to grow out. Even powerful oral anti-fungal drugs can take many months to work. We’re glad your patience was rewarded. Here are some other stories that support your experience:

“I’ve been soaking my toes in a 50%/50% solution of Listerine (use Original formula — the Freshmint made my feet green) and apple cider vinegar for 20 minutes each day, faithfully. I clip my toenails once a week. I make just enough to cover my toes in a small plastic container. I put plastic wrap on the surface of the solution when I’m not using it to keep the air out, and I change the solution every two weeks.

“In six weeks, I’ve seen a REMARKABLE difference. The fungus stopped spreading and the solution actually seems to be repairing the damage, it that’s possible. My nails are growing in healthy and they look great. I’ll probably continue to use the solution periodically to prevent this embarrassing fungus from ever coming back. I wish I could tell everyone about this inexpensive and effective solution.” Suzy


“Got that old toe fungus. Read here over a year ago – soak toe in amber Listerine 20 minutes/day, every day. The sender said to do it at the same time every day, which I was not able to do.

“Did the soak for a few weeks, got busy, stopped daily but did 2-3 x /week. OH MY GOSH—-had this for 30-40 years, but nail now turned black! After the soak nail growing out nicely. Dr. never wanted to give me an RX, and I agreed, so was just living with it…. embarrassing, no sandals in summer, etc. It has about 1/4 inch to go.

“But please note this: Hiking a few years ago, my feet became terribly hot so I took a break to cool them. Guess I switched socks, cuz the fungus started on the other toe.
Be very wary, and yes spray every shoe, slipper, everything you put on your feet.
I had thought of the lazer treatment, but it was $900.00 per toe or foot–who cares–too much!

“It really pays to check back to this site, as I totally forgot the Vicks! Need reminding on many things AND need the new experiments explained.

“Easier, and good to add at nite, what could be easier. Also thinking adding the apple cider vinegar to the Listerine. I have a sad feeling the fungus may be returning as my toe HURTS– and I have not been diligent.

“As always Graedons—most grateful” Char


Not everyone benefits from Listerine, vinegar or Vicks. If you check out our book, The People’s Pharmacy Quick & Handy Home Remedies, you will learn about cornmeal mush (foot soaks), Pert Plus, hydrogen peroxide, iodine, urine as well as more details about Vicks & Vinegar. In addition you will find some cool remedies for dealing with allergies, arthritis, bug bites, insomnia, plantar fasciitis, and dozens of other common conditions.

Tell us what remedies have worked to get rid of your fungus and which have not in the comment section below.

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  1. Jennifer
    United States
    Reply

    I have been fighting toenail fungus for so many years. I have used prescription medications you paint on, sprays, oils and every brand made of fungal treatment solutions. I even took Lamisil prescription by mouth for two months. Then my liver function tests came back lots higher, my doctor wouldn’t prescribe another month. He told me that it was only allowed to be prescribed for a three month time period, once in a lifetime. I have used home remedies like vinegar but no good, longterm results. A friend told me about her success with vicks. I started that night, put it on, slept in socks. Within three weeks things started changing. In a two day period, my nail humped up into a u shape, turned black and was sore from the pressure, I think. I tried to keep nails trimmed and filed the surface, regularly. One day while trimming, my nail moved from the pressure of my hand against it. It scared me silly. I did some screaming and jumping around. Quite funny, I am!!! I started pulling up on it, it started coming away from the cuticle. I kept thinking it was going to hurt, it never did. The nail came off completely. Some new healthy nail, just barely noticeable, was growing in. I was thrilled. Now for a question: the skin on the tip of my toe has turned black. Today while trimming, a great big chunk of flesh came off. There’s still black on some skin, but under part that came off, it’s pink. A surgeon told me one time that skin cancers can start under toenails along the same line as skin cancers, and look like a bruise or freckle. I want to know if anyone else has had skin turn black. It kind of relieved my mind a little today, my big toe on my right foot is turning black, also. I think for some reason the fungus must be in my skin, too. Please, if anyone has had this happen, post.

  2. Trish
    Canada
    Reply

    Can I wear nail polish while doing this process?

  3. Trish
    Mississauga, ON
    Reply

    I will try this out. Make sure to throw out all of your old nail polishes that were used when you had nail fungus.

  4. Lyla
    So. Tx.
    Reply

    I’ve been using a prescribed medication and have not seen results. I am researching home remedies and have come across several. But this particular one seems what I want to start. I’m so frustrated with having to hide my nails. I will post results after I’ve started on it.

  5. Lupita
    Texas
    Reply

    I’ve had to fungus toe nails for years and I’m very embarrassed to wear sandals. But I am going to start using the vinegar and vapor rub and hopefully the is going to help me.

  6. Tootie
    Ohio
    Reply

    Someone said to spray all your shoes and slippers, etc. What do you use to spray them with, and how often should it be done? Thank you.

  7. toni brunkey
    clinton twp., mi
    Reply

    Used to listen to you on the radio on my way home from the night shift as an RN. Lived in Fl at the time. Haven’t found you on any station in Mi. since moving ten years ago. I’m going to try tx for toe nail fungus I’ve been plagued with for at least 30 years. Wish me luck.

  8. Mary
    oakland, CA
    Reply

    I am giving this program a try, just started with the Vicks last night, and the soak this morning. My question is this – what do you do during the day? do you put more vicks on with saran, then a sock? or do you just let the toe(s) breathe and put on clean socks? Right now I’ve treated my toe again with the vicks and covered with plastic wrap, but I’m not sure if that’s too much, or the right thing to do. look forward to hearing back.

  9. Jack
    Worcester
    Reply

    Have been using Lotrimin Ultra cream (for athletes foot) on my nails/nail beds for years but not consistently. When I stop and the fungus starts spreading under the nail I start up again and it basically halts spreading and slowly reverses it. Although I assume Vicks is much less expensive, so I’m considering switching to that if I can manage to do the vinegar regiment daily.

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