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.

Get The Graedons' Favorite Home Remedies Health Guide for FREE

Join our daily email newsletter with breaking health news, prescription drug information, home remedies AND you'll get a copy of our brand new full-length health guide — for FREE!

  1. Geo

    I’ve been taking Lugol’s iodine internally and externally for months with no ill effects.

  2. dk

    I have been trying to find white decolorized iodine. I have gotten it from Walgreens in the past but now I am getting told it has been discontinued by HUMCO. Is there a way to find some through ordering? The Walgreens I have by me says they can’t even order it, is there another where I can find it somewhere?

  3. BFT

    Did it work?

  4. S Giddens

    July 4th I purchased white iodine and began using on nails daily. July 18th I began to have an allergic reaction. My face, neck, hands, and feet began to heat up. I began to burn and itch. My stomach began to cramp, vomiting followed with profound stomach cramps. I began to have severe difficulty breathing. I had 4 of these episodes lasting about 5 minutes each, with the exception of the vomiting which lasted about 6 hours. Iodine poisoning is what the diagnosis turned out to be. WARNING TO EVERYONE WHO USES IODINE TO STRENGTHEN NAILS……IT MAKES YOUR NAILS STRONG BUT IT ALSO CAN KILL YOU IF USED IN EXCESS.

What Do You Think?

We invite you to share your thoughts with others, but remember that our comment section is a public forum. Please do not use your full first and last name if you want to keep details of your medical history anonymous. A first name and last initial or a pseudonym is acceptable. Advice from other commenters on this website is not a substitute for medical attention. Do not stop any medicine without checking with the prescriber. Stopping medication suddenly could result in serious harm. We expect comments to be civil in tone and language. By commenting, you agree to abide by our commenting policy and website terms & conditions. Comments that do not follow these policies will not be posted.

Your cart

Shipping and discount codes are added at checkout.