Print This Page

Listerine Soaks Proved Effective Against Toenail Fungus

  • Currently 4.8/5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Not Helpful ..... Very Helpful
Was this information helpful? Average rating: 4.8/5 (58 votes)
What do you think? Click the stars to vote!
If you have more to say, post a comment below!

Q. I have had fungus on one of my toes for a long time. I have been to the dermatologist and podiatrist repeatedly and even had the nail removed. I was given strong pills, but they didn't work. The podiatrist does not understand why the infection persists.

I started searching desperately for other things that might help and read about Listerine. This has given me the best results so far. The infection is almost gone, the nail has its nice pink color again and it is not sore. Hooray!

A. Soaking an infected nail in amber Listerine alone or mixed 50/50 with white vinegar is a favorite remedy for nail fungus. You need patience since it takes months for toenails to grow out, but this remedy is neither difficult nor expensive.

You will find many other home remedies for nail fungus in our Guide to Hair and Nail Care.

Other readers have also reported on their experience. One, writing under the name Diocletian, gave this lengthy report on using Listerine and vinegar: 

"I finally started using the regimen of soaking my feet about 3 times a week in a square Rubbermaid dish bucket of hot bath water, Epsom Salt and White Vinegar. I evolved within the first two months into creating a blend from the hot water, a big bottle of generic Apple Cider Vinegar (buy AC at your local grocer, NOT Bragg's, because I don't have much money). Then I began to incorporate the hot water and ACV with original Listerine (I would use rough equivalents to a cup of ACV and a cup of Listerine). Also, I throw out my mixture after every use, I don't keep it around for a week. My reasoning for throwing out my foot soak blend every time is not based on science, it is based on my phobia of germs associated with the feet.

"With respect to how long I would soak my feet, I probably began with 30 minutes once I changed to using ACV and Listerine as a combo-blend (made this change after reading reader remarks on the People's Pharmacy website). The time of soaking has since been lengthened to 40 minute soaks, and now I am pretty regularly soaking for a target of 50 minutes in the hot water/ACV/original formula Listerine blend. Have recently soaked for one hour increments in the past week. Soak for however long you feel works for you and your schedule.

"Progress? I write this on July 15, 2013. I know I started in the first week of March 2013. It has now been a pretty disciplined four months of treatment. I have seen good progress. I am not cured, just as yet, but I think I am on a path to having regular looking big toe nails. My toe nails began to develop the fungus back around 1999. In my mind, I am done with living with this fungus any longer. I feel like I am getting my feet back again!

"Two further notes to consider. In the third month of my treatment (I didn't intentionally time this), after reading other success stories on treating toe fungus without using Lamisil, I began to take a Q-Tip and began applying copious amounts of Vicks Vapo Rub (specifically use this brand) to my infected toe nails, before putting on socks. I usually only wear socks when I absolutely have to wear shoes in the summer (to work, or when exercising, or to go to a function that requires shoes, etc.). I am trying to go barefoot as much as possible to prevent moisture build-up under the nails. As well, in May 2013 I picked up a bottle of Tea Tree Oil (I think any brand will do just fine).

"I don't have an austere regimen for treating my toes, but when I do have 20 minutes I can set aside I put a little rag under my feet as I sit with my laptop on my desk to do e-mails, etc. I take an eye dropper and simply drop droplets of Tea Tree Oil onto my infected toe nails and typically reapply after ten minutes. I keep my feet in place on the rag for those 20 minutes and let the oil disinfect away (the toenails marinade in the oil), if in fact what I have read is true about Tea Tree Oil, that it is anti-fungal/disinfectant.

"All Ingredients Used during self-treatment:

- Hot Water soaks
- Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) for the hot water soaks
- Original formula Listerine for the hot water soaks
- Vick's Vapo Rub to apply topically to my toe nails (use a Q-Tip), before putting on socks. (I only use Vick's before putting on socks, never w/o).
- Tea Tree Oil (use an eye dropper to drop whatever amount you prefer topically onto the nail and surrounding area.
- Epsom Salt (used this in my early hot water soak blend). Haven't used since incorporating Listerine and ACV as a blend.

"Progress? Yes, I have considerable progress to report. I think the process is working (it takes much patience and lots of time. LOTS of time). I also think I need a few more months to get to a complete healing of the nails."

You can report your own experience below.

  • Currently 4.8/5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Not Helpful ..... Very Helpful
Was this information helpful? Average rating: 4.8/5 (58 votes)
What do you think? Click the stars to vote!
If you have more to say, post a comment below!


| Leave a comment

I have been using generic white vinegar and generic brown Listerine for a couple years now ever since I read about it in the Peoples' Pharmacy. I just do a maintenance soak twice a month now, mostly because it makes my feet feel so good. A nice side affect. You will never have athletes' feet again! Thanks again Peoples' Pharmacy!!!

In April 2013 I noticed I had a toenail fungus on my 2 big toes. I went to your website and read the information for cures. I started putting Vick's Vapo Rub on every night (with my finger) and putting socks on. I did do the cornmeal soak one time, about June 2013, but found it pretty messy. The fungus is almost gone now (7 months) as the toenails have grown out. This is the 1st time I've ever had a toenail fungus and hope it is the last.

would appreciate getting comments on this. tx.

also mixing :listerine + tea tree oil will help (since both have anti virus, bacteria and fungus.)

I have been keeping up on your new ideas to combat toenail fungus. I am happy to say that since March '13 I have been soaking my toes every day for 30 minutes with a combination of Listerine and ACV with great success. All my nails are nice and pink-colored now except for one. That one will require more soaking to complete the deal. What a sight to see (normal nails). I also treat my nails with Vicks for the remainder of the day. Thanks so much!!
I will continue to treat sparingly to stay ahead of any returning fungus.

Five years ago I noticed one of my big toe nails no longer resembled the other one; discolored, rough ridges and slightly painful to pressure. I HAD FUNGUS! I immediately started with Vicks after a shower or bath and before I went to bed. I began to see the new nail beginning to grow in pink and smooth. I continued the treatment with Vicks until the last of the ugly nail was cut off. I hadn't worn nail polish again until this summer. So far no fungus, but I've decided no nail polish in the winter only the three months of summer. I don't know if wearing polish 365 days a year contributed to the fungus, but I know I was fungus-free the whole 5 years I left it off.

I got fungus this summer under an unpolished index finger. I'm a constant gardener and can only think it was picked up from the soil and the new batch of purchased compost. Am presently using Vicks on it. It is only at the top of the nail with inroads going down like tiny roots. The arthritis is so much worse in that singular knuckle. Coincidence? I don't know. But when the fungus is gone, if the pain is also gone, I'll know the answer.

I had yellow fungus under my left big toenail and it was detached almost to the nailbed. The doctor wanted to put me on Lamasil. I did not like the side effects that I read about. On this web site I found out about Vicks VapoRub and rubbed in a thin layer onto the toenail each night when I went to bed. No socks or bandage. It took about 10 months - the toenail is now a healthy, natural-looking nail!

Undecylenic Acid is a great ingredient for treating nail fungus and is derived from castor oil. Using that in combination with Tea Tree Oil is a really great way to get results. However, you need to spend some real time treatment wise before seeing solid results. Healthy nail regrowth is a snail paced slow process.

I also tried the Vick's, with moderate success. Soaking in aloe vera juice cleared up a fungus in two days.

I went through all these remedies for years. (Including two different courses of Lamasil which did nothing for me.) Ultimately a $35 bottle of 1% Tolfinate I bought through a podiatrist and painted on like fingernail polish did the trick in two or three weeks.

You also need to get rid off infected shoes. Some people get the infection again because the shoes.

My husband had ridiculously horrible toenail fungus for years. I told him about soaking his feet in cornmeal water (1 c cornmeal to enough water in a container big enough to fit his foot, let it set for an hour, then soak for 1/2 hour) that I read about on this site. It totally cleared up the fungus in about 2 months of weekly soaks. You see improvement immediately. The listerine didn't work for him.

After being told by the podiatrist that it would cost $600 for laser treatment on my big toe that has a nail fungus or to take Lamisil which has many bad side effects, I decided to try a home remedy which I read about on this site. I mixed a half cup of apple cider vinegar and a half cup of Listerine in a small jar. I then dipped a half a cotton ball in the mixture and put the damped cotton on the toe with the fungus and used white sports tape to keep it in place. I changed the bandage each night for 3 months. My nail is now fungus free and looks very healthy. So glad I tried this remedy.

Susan, did you wear the 'dressing' of the cotton ball all day or just at night? If all day, how did you manage that when needing to wear shoes? Thanks.

Is the Aloe Vera heated?

I use straight listerine on a cotton ball soaked til near dripping and left it on big my toe for maybe thirty minutes most evenings while watching tv. It took a week or so before real results began. I didn't, need to soak the whole foot. It took maybe 2 months to be gone. The toe nail took some time to grow to a normal toe, maybe a couple more months. Only sweet flesh remains. I had had the fungus for a few years, I didn't think that was long.

I am a qualified herbalist and tried a LOT of different herbal treatments. Nothing helped.

Be cautious. I wore a pair of shoes I hadn't worn for a long time and reinfected the toe nail. So I had to go through the process again, but it took only a couple of weeks.

Did you just sleep with the soaked cotton ball (treatment only during sleeping time)?

Leave a comment

Share your comments or questions with the People's Pharmacy online community. Not all comments will be posted. Advice from other visitors to this web site should not be considered a substitute for appropriate medical attention. Concerns about medications should be discussed with a health professional. Do not stop any medication without first checking with your physician.

Check this box to be notified by email when follow-up comments are posted.