toes with nail fungus, ugly toenail fungus, help toenail fungus, cure toenail fungus

Q. Over a year ago, I read about multiple home remedies for nail fungus. I’ve soaked my feet in vinegar and Listerine, applied tea tree oil, Vicks VapoRub and Naftin (a topical prescription drug).

I have been diligent and even spend most of my time shoeless to let my 10 diseased dogs breathe. None of this has worked in over a year. The filing I do every two weeks is about the only thing that keeps the nail thickness down.

Given the time I have spent on this project, I am very disillusioned to see so little difference. In summary, I have found that these remedies are the adult equivalent of catching birds by sprinkling salt on their tails.

A. Treating nail fungus can be difficult. Even prescription drugs don’t work for everyone. It would be unreasonable to expect home remedies to be much more effective. You may want to have your dermatologist confirm that you are actually dealing with nail fungus and not some other condition.

Home remedies do work for some people: “I read about toenail fungus and different cures that may or may not work. I have been fighting toenail fungus for six years now. I was using prescription Penlac all this time, every day, seven days a week with no results other than keeping it at bay.

“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.”

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  1. rob

    so no-one has any solutions here or anywhere on the internet
    I would like to see photos of progress over time with description of application-
    I’ve tried regular two times a day apple cider soaking over 3 months – no result
    tea tee oil- terrible skin reaction after a few days so had to stop
    I refuse to take pills when they are known to have such terrible side effects
    tried every varnish available- currently using the expensive excilor – which after 3 months shows no difference
    the only time I noticed any difference was after two weeks daily bathing in the sea- am thinking of carting a gallon of sea water back to london from Brighton – seems mad but no-one has a convincing answer.
    I have the fungus on every toe nail and have done for maybe 8 years – it drives me nuts. am not a woman so cannot conceal with nail varnish- there seems to be no cure.

  2. Vikash

    I have fungus in both toe nails. One is severe (75% of nail) and other is light (20% of nail). After wondering for one month what it’s started the treatment as suggested on this site.
    I used different methods e.g. Apple Vinegar Cider soak (regular) and also Undecylenic Acid (on counter anti fungal). But, I have also tried intermittantly, coconut oil, soaking in baking soda, soaking in salt water. My fungus is not cured yet (after one month of treatment as above), but there is some improvement. 2mm of new nail has comeup, but I am keeping my finger crossed. Will update if the treatment works. Feel free to comment if I am not doing right.

    • Brian
      United States

      I was in the same boat as you, tried everything, nothing worked, and plenty of mula spent on the medications for it. This was until a few weeks ago, and so love seeing healthy nails growing in, and the rest of what existed, decimated.

      Make your morning routine after your shower to douse your nails in vinegar, I prefer white since it’s not as smelly as apple cider vinegar but that works as well. While your nails are still wet, sprinkle salt liberally on them and underneath the nail bed. Put on your socks and go about your day. You will see results in days, and within a week, you’ll start seeing new healthy nails form.

      Yes, you are going to have stinky feet for a while due to it, but that’s a temporary trade off and it’s not too bad, it’s only when you take your shoes off.

      Enjoy your new nails and the cure, shame on you pharmaceutical companies for exploiting us that are in this situation.

  3. Cathy

    did you ever find a cure for fingernail fungus? I’m battling with it.. and polish my nails to hide it..

  4. Carol G.

    I don’t know if I have toenail fungus or a form of it. My nails are growing in really thick that I can hardly trim them anymore. Not all of the nails are like this just some on each foot. I’ve always trimmed my nails and had no problem until now. Some of the nails have turned into knobs and are slightly discolored. I am a female and am 71 years of age. No new drugs have been added, what should I do to try to correct this? There was nothing wrong last year so it has been 6 months. I would appreciate a response.

  5. CC

    I tried Vicks. After two weeks my toenail is removed. Shall I keep putting the vapor rub on?

  6. Sold Skeptic

    Read about tea tree oil here. Got some at Trader Joe’s. Occlusively bandaged the offending big toe overnight for a few weeks. Then just rubbed some in once or twice a day since. WORKED GREAT… normal nail growing in… will keep rubbing in 2x/day until all sick nail gone.

  7. pam in georgia

    I had a nail fungus on the toe next to the big toe on my left foot for 10 years or longer. I tried all of the above including every expensive prescription you could imagine, including Vapor Rub. I finally gave up. I picked up a tip to use caster oil. I massaged it in morning and night to the affected nail. After worrying about it this whole time and just a couple of dollars the toe is fungus clear.

  8. Tina

    For what its worth, I read that its 4 parts water to one part vinegar. Also, apple cider vinegar is more acidic than white distilled vinegar. Vinegar is very acidic so reusing it would be fine from what I understand because anything “in there” would be killed off by the acid in the vinegar. Apple cider vinegar is more expensive than white distilled so use your own judgment. Also, wine vinegar is about as acidic as apple cider vinegar. Also more expensive.

  9. BAR

    I have used the rotary “grinder” for my husbands nails for quite a while, and it works very well… He soaks them first in hot water to soften them, and then we use the rotary. Very successful for the comfort if gives to the nails while we are growing out and soaking with Listerine.

  10. KS

    I have used Vicks vaporub and the discoloration is gone and has been for over a year BUT I still have very thick nails that don’t lie flat but are more (upside down) U-shaped. I find them impossible to trim. I have bought expensive nail clippers and scissors but they do nothing. I’m tempted by those commercials for the battery operated rotary files for dog’s nails. Any recommendations out there?

  11. Jw

    Maybe I’m just being gross and cheap but I was wondering if you should change out the listerine vinager solution everyday or can you reuse it a few times? Thanks a bunch!

  12. JimP

    The best toenail fungus cure I have found is Vagisil. On a show in mid-2008, it was mentioned that Vagisil contains resorcinol, which has anti-fungal properties. So I tried it on my toenail fungus. It works great! Leaves my nails almost completely clear, where VapoRub left my nails with a rough, mottled surface. (When I tried tea tree oil, the fungus returned.)
    I rub a small amount of Vagisil into each of my 4 infected toenails every morning after my shower. Takes 30 seconds. Non-greasy, no smell. Great remedy for people that wear sandals. Best remedy for busy people that are always on-the-go.
    Note that nothing will clear up existing fungus spots in your nails. What these cures do is stop new fungus from forming at the base of the nail. The new growth is clear and fungus-free. You have to wait for the old fungus-infected parts to grow out until you have trimmed them all off.
    I also find that Vagisil will clear up mild cases of athlete’s foot. A severe case still required prescription fluocinonide.
    Earlier when I was using VapoRub, the fungus returned when I stopped applying the VapoRub. I have continued using Vagisil daily and have not experimented with stopping treatment.
    My dermatologist tells me there are 4 forms of nail fungus, and I have the least severe form. But I had three toe nails where the surface flaked off and one where there was a vertical split. She has been quite surprised by my earlier success with VapoRub. She was really impressed by her first look at Vagisil-treated nails!

  13. Starlette

    I too want to know the portions of vinegar & Listerine.

  14. Engineer

    I found that soaking in white vinegar is helpful. If you can work up to 50% white vinegar and 50% water without undue redness, that would be good. Also, try to work up to soaking 3 or more times per week. I start with a warm solution and soak for about a half hour while watching the tube or reading the paper. I find that using the Vicks Vaporub (Walmart generic) twice a day helps keep the fungus under contol but it is not a permanent cure for me. However, I will take what I can get from it. There is almost no abnormal color or visual clue when I use that regimen. The only clue is the nail thickness and hardness when I cut the nail.

  15. Dianne

    I’m having trouble with three fingernails, and I’ve also tried all the home remedies suggested, to no avail. So I’m covering the offending nails with polish, and wishing I had another alternative. I’m not willing to take the drugs, as they sound way too toxic. Any other ideas would be much appreciated.

  16. R.E.S.

    I am interested in the portions required for toenail fungus——–meaning how much Listerine to how much vinegar? And white, or apple cider vinegar?
    Please let me know what portions of each to use, and how often.

  17. Fran N

    I have tried all the home remedies and prescription meds, nothing helped much. I swim at the local pool three days per week, summer & winter. I know peroxide helps dry out ears after swimming so I started putting straight peroxide on my nails before I leave the pool. I think this has started my road to recovery.

  18. Robert S.

    I had athlete’s feet and nail fungus and had tried miconazole nitrate 2% for the athletes feet and some over the counter nail fungus drug. Neither were doing much, until I soaked my feet in vinegar and salt water for a few days and then I started treated the nails and toes with Listerine. Within two weeks I had no more problem.

  19. Gas...

    I used vinegar and Listerine with some good results but when I also rubbed my toenails with “Head & Shoulders” shampoo the problem disappeared in a couple of months. I still use H & S regularly when I shower as a control and it is still all clear.

  20. Gayle

    I would also take probiotics (Acidophilus) daily to put the friendly bacteria back in your system. Cut out sugar, white flour, the foods that breed yeast. I know it’s not a perfect world but the probiotics will help to work from the inside out. Found in health food stores and get a good brand. Ask the attendant.

  21. Ed S.

    I had been using Vicks Vapor Rub for some time and the only benefit I noticed was the nails were softer and easier to trim. About 4 months ago I started to use a Q tip and swab Peroxide on my toes about 4 days a week. I have noticed that some pink has started to show on the three biggest toes. I am going to continue treatment and see what happens.

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