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 helped you in curing nail fungus and which have not in the comment section below.

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  1. Heather

    I’ve been plagued with toenail fungus for almost 20 years. I’ve tried various remedies over the years, including Lamisil, which worked well until I stopped using it. My biggest problem is lack of follow- through with any of the natural remedies. I usually throw in the towel, so to speak, after a couple of weeks. I appreciate all the suggestions and success stories from my fellow posters. You’ve given me the courage to renew my efforts against this formidable foe. Wish me luck!

  2. Sue
    Eclectic, Al.

    Started using iodine on my husband’s toe fungus. Had his nails cut back then painted iodine on them and we are seeing a difference.

  3. deb

    Use white vinegar twice a day, and you will see improvement. I tried everything else including organic acv.

  4. Claire

    I had a toenail fungus on my big toes for about 3 years. I tried everything…. well almost. I read about vinegar. Went and bought a bottle of cheap black and gold white vinegar. I cut back my toenail as far as I could and drenched a cotton ball in it. Stuck it on my toe (without wringing it out) with some tape, Left it on for about 45min (stung like buggery) then dID it again later on that night. My nail has now grown back in about a month and yay! No fungus!!

  5. Liz
    Phoenix, az

    I have had fungus on 3 to 4 toes for 5 years. I have tried everything to no avail. I will not do laser or pills. By accident I tried this and it has worked but I have been very diligent!!! #1. I keep my nails very short. #2. I keep the nail bed of affected toes filed so they are very thin with a nail file so nightly cream will absorb through the nail.
    #3 I shower every evening and carefully dry my toes.
    #4 IMPORTANT….After showering, I further dry all toes with a hairdryer while pushing back the skin so every part dries. This is a biggie!
    #5 I put Lamisil extra strength cream on EVERY toe being careful to get it under the nail as well. I use less on non-affected toes. #6 I keep sandals in my car and I slip off my shoes whenever possible so toes stay as dry and cool as possible. So far so good for a year. Nails have grown back and are clear. I know summer will be a battle as temperatures and humidity rise. I will add medicated foot powder in my shoes during the summer to reduce moisture.
    Give the listerine & vinegar a try, if that does not work give my treatment a go. Sadly I think this is a problem I will have to stay on top of every day for the rest of my life…and so I will. I would say I had a moderate case. My nails were moderately yellow and crusty and a little thickened and hurt.
    Oh yes, I only put toe nail polish on for special occasions, but I take it off immediately because to stay on treatment. Small price to pay.
    Sorry to say but diligence is critical. Once my nails were healthy
    I still continue the exact routine, every night, I just use less lamisil cream. I think this is a long term problem but at least I
    can live with this routine, not that bad. I buy the name brand at the drug store. not taking any chances.

    It gets very hot here….really bad for fungus!!!

  6. Suzanne

    dont waste your money and time on any laser clinic. i spent $700 doing the laser toenail fungus removal for one feet and bought about $90 antifungi medicine from the same doctor, all paid out of pocket. She told me to wait for 6 months to notice the clear nail growing. I patiently waited and waited, nothing changed. The nail kept growing thick and yellow. 9 months later, I went to the laser clinic and spent another $100 doing a repeat treatment, waited 6 months, nothing changed, till now over a year past, nothing changed.
    I have just started trying the vinegar. Someone also mentioned you can soak a small cotton with vinegar and use regular tap over your infected nail and sleep on it over night.

  7. Lynn
    Las Vegas

    Please state the exact amount used for Listerine, vinegar and Vicks. Thank you.

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