Jar of Vicks VapoRub

Q. I am a 51-year-old physician who had some toenail fungus on a third of my great toenail. It had been gradually worsening over the prior two years, but I did not want to take Lamisil orally for 12 weeks for just one toenail.

My dermatologist suggested applying Vicks VapoRub to the affected nail. I put it on once a day after showering or bathing. After six months, my nail is now completely normal looking! I wouldn’t have believed it had I not seen it with my own eyes. I hope that someone does a controlled clinical study on the use of Vicks VapoRub for toenail fungus one day.

A. One test tube study found that the ingredients of Vicks VapoRub (menthol, eucalyptol, camphor, thymol, etc.) are effective against various fungal organisms that can infect toenails (Phytotherapy Research, Apr., 2003). A small preliminary trial at Michigan State University mentioned in Consumer Reports (March, 2006) found Vicks to be somewhat helpful.

Some readers report success with Vicks against nail fungus, but it does not work for everyone. We have collected a number of other home remedies for this common scourge in our Guide to Hair and Nail Care, which also describes pros and cons of prescription treatments.

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  1. Danielle M.

    Any results yet?

  2. jb

    I’ve had nail fungus for 6 mths now I’ve used vinegar, cinnamon. But no results so far I’m so glad I found this website so I will be trying vicks I’ll do a update soon thanks.


    I used vicks saw results right away, now after 4 months nail is fully grown and health. I would recommend to give it a try. It’s absolutely amazing!!!

  4. Jenn

    When I painted my big toenails took the paint off my both toenails it was gray then I started to notice pus and blood it hurt a lot now my big two toenails have grown in layers one on top of the other just started using Vicks Vaporub hopefully it goes back to normal tired of hiding my nails.

  5. AG

    I actually peeled off the toenail until I had only about 1/2″ left. It sounds horrible, but the fungus sort of disintegrates th bond between nail and nailbed, so it didn’t hurt. Then I kept applying the Vick’s the toenail that is left looks good, and I am monitoring the nail bed (which has a super thin layer of nail in some areas) for infection.

  6. J

    I’ve had fungus on my big toe was told about Vicks so been tying it the corner of my nail has gone brown is that normal when using Vicks anyone know should I carry on using it?

  7. Susan R

    I started trying Vicks a couple of weeks ago and have seen results in the appearance of both of my big toenails. I don’t know if I should be taking something to cure the problem from the inside out or not. Any suggestions? Also, I noticed that when the skin around the nail isn’t kept moisturized, it makes the toes worse. So I spread the Vicks all over the top, the cuticle and around the nail on the end of the toe.

  8. RJS

    I am 63 and periodically get toenail fungus. Everytime vicks has worked to kill the fungus. It only takes a few weeks to kill the fungus, and it works much quicker if you grind the nail a little thinner with a drimmel honing tool. You must be aware that it will still take time for the nail to grow out and look normal again. After all the fungus attacks under and into the nail, so the goal is a new nail without fungus. I swear it works for me. Apply the vicks after feet have been cleaned and dried. Just make sure you do it everyday, it does not take much. For most of us it is a free cure as we have vicks around for chest colds anyway. It has worked for me since I was about 40, so I am convinced it works. Good luck.

  9. JIM H.

    For pete sake smear it allover the nail. just do it. relax now and get it on.

  10. Dave

    Vicks has worked great for me, and both my sister and brother in law…. as far as the location goes, just dab a finger tip of the stuff all over the top of the affected nail. The ointment will actually penetrate the nail after several applications, and the nail will soften as the ointment begins to take effect. I have never had any infection, soreness, or irritation from using Vicks. The key is consistency. I keep a jar in my bathroom, nightstand, and traveling pharm case. It’s simple and effective.

  11. dj

    Sooo, did anyone who was successful using Vicks ever respond as to how to apply??

  12. Harriet

    I still did not see where you put the Vicks. Do you put it under the nail or on the cuticle or all over? I have tried Listerine, vinegar and now tea tree oil. Nothing has worked yet.

  13. Ty

    I found this remedy while looking for something else. I am currently taking a generic Lamasil and figured why not try it. My 3rd toe toenail was completely chalky. In less than 24 hours of using Vick’s the nail looked like the others. Its still brittle and striated so I am still taking the Lamasil to kill off the cause but the visual results of the Vick’s was amazing.

  14. John

    Works for me, but works best if the grease can be left on for extended time. To do this I wrap the greasy toe with kitchen stretch plastic, then put on socks and shoes as usual, and leave it all day. This way the grease can stay on all day but the socks do not get greasy. Works with other greasy medications also, such as Neosporin. Good Luck, John

  15. Barbara M.

    Vicks worked so well in eliminating all my toenail fungus over the course of about four months that I decided to continue its use as a prophylactic twice a week. That was a year ago and still no further sign of fungus.

  16. Naomi F. B.

    Someone told me “remedies” should go on the cuticle, in particular, since that’s where the nail starts emerging. Tried tree oil – n.g. for me.
    After trying that, vinegar and water, mouth wash with vinegar and you name it, one day I noticed they were growing healthily. Keep on truckin’.

  17. Fred B.

    I have a nasty case of what I think is tinea on my hands. Both hands are scaly, split open, itchy, and sore. I have been fighting this for about a month and a half and have been through several tubes of both Clotrimizole and Terbinafine with only limited improvement. Any suggestions?

  18. Cindy B.

    So do you put it ON TOP of the nail? Does it somehow work its way down through the nail? Or do you scrunch it down around and under the nail as far as possible? I have what I guess is a long-term intermittent fungal infection on both great toes. This happened specifically because of a disastrous pair of ski boots that were TOO SHORT, though the boot fitter kept insisting they were not.
    Grievously injured both great toes, to the point that it now takes VERY little pressure to separate the nail from the nail bed; then discoloration sets into the gap. Super irritating! Between seasons (skiing vs hiking), the nails grow back and are pink and normal looking; then the process starts all over again.

  19. EB

    Worked for me too. About half the nail was affected, and it took a year to fully resolve, probably because I kept forgetting to apply it so only ended up using Vicks a couple of times a week. Thanks Joe and Terry!

  20. Kathryn

    Didn’t work for my husband, sad to say….

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