a bag of cornmeal

Q. I remember reading in one of your columns that soaking your toes in corn meal will get rid of toenail fungus. I have very bad toe fungus from years of competitive tennis and I would love to get rid of it.

My toenails are ugly. I tried taking Lamisil but had a bad reaction to it, so I stopped. Could you please tell me how to use the corn meal? Melanie, in Long Beach, CA.

A. We have heard from many visitors to this website that cornmeal is surprisingly effective against nail fungus. Since this is a home remedy there are no clear cut instructions. Some people suggest adding one part cornmeal to two parts warm water in a foot bath. Soak your tootsies (or fingernails) for roughly half an hour. Some say to do this once a week for a couple of months. Others say to soak nails every other day for a month.

We will share some stories from readers and let you give it a go based on your own schedule. We would love to hear back from you about how well it works.

“I had a mild, annoying case of toenail fungus and read about using cornmeal to treat it. I mixed a cup of whole-grain cornmeal in very warm water and soaked my toes for about a half hour. I did that for a month or so, and, lo and behold, some months later the fungus started to disappear.

“I’d had that fungus for many years, so it wasn’t any lifestyle change that caused it to go away. There must be something in the cornmeal grain that attacks the fungus.”

“As a child I lived on a ranch in Oklahoma and went barefooted most of the time except for school. Needless to say, I had tonenail fungus.

“The doctor tool my toenail off and scraped the fungus off with me screaming. This was repeated well into my 50s. Then I head about cornmeal. I immediately got some plain old yellow cornmeal from the grocery store. You know the kind that you make cornbread with. I put ¼ cup of it in lukewarm water since cold water puts it to sleep and hot water kills it.

“I soaked my feet 30 minutes twice a week and by the third week my nails were already on the road to healthy. I now go for years without having to use the ‘cure’ but at the first signs of fungus I do not hesitate to grab my yellow cornmeal.”

“The real cure for nail fungus IS the cornmeal.

“The reason being?: Cornmeal has a natural fungus in it that is ravenous for toenail fungus, with no interest whatsoever in the keratin of the nail.

“You put some cornmeal in your palm and add water, then apply it on an infected nail.
Let it soak for 1 hour for 10 days.

“My experience: I felt something happening after about 30 minutes. After 3 days of the program, the bent-up nails relaxed and became normal in shape. By the tenth day, there was a slight blackening in places, with clear new nail material growing-in. The nail then crumbled right off where it was blackened. The exposed nail bed was not sensitive. In about two months I will have brand new normal nails.

“This is the real deal, and it’s understandable why. The cornmeal fungus is as ravenous for toenail fungus as a seal is for fish.”

Anyone who would like to know more about getting rid of nail fungus with other remedies may find our book, The People’s Pharmacy Quick & Handy Home Remedies, useful. (Take advantage of our special offer and get a copy of Recipes and Remedies from The People’s Pharmacy for 50% discount!)

The 264-page Quick & Handy book provides details on Listerine and vinegar soaks, Vicks VapoRub, dandruff shampoo, hydrogen peroxide, iodine, tea tree oil or urine soaks. You can also find hundreds of other home remedies for a variety of ailments in our Home Remedy Library on this website.

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  1. Matt

    I had no luck applying cornmeal mush to my affected toes directly so I took a different path. I dumped about half a cup of the cornmeal into a foot tub (shallow bucket, pan, etc.) and added around a half gallon of warm water and let it sit for an hour or so.

    Then I’d soak my feet for 20 mins – or longer if I had the free time. The trick here is that I’d let this tub stay as is for maybe as long as a week and soak my feet in it whenever I chose. The process thus became very convenient.

    I assumed that the active organisms would only multiply over this long period and become even more effective as a bath. I would also add a cup of hot water when desired to make the soak more comfortable.

    The nails are definitely improving and the skin of my feet feel smooth and invigorated. (Note, there is an odor of wet corn that wafts from the tub as time goes by but the solution becomes more and more effective so start a new tub when you choose!)

  2. Jim

    You know I’ve been doing the foot bath now for about a month. I know something is happening cause I will feel a mild pain the kind you get when something is healing. But in reading the articles here some mix a 1 part corn to 2 part water, or make a paste out of the corn meal, enough to cover the infected toes. And they let it soak into toes for about 1 hour. I think I’m going to try this instead of soaking my entire foot, since it’s only the toenails I’m going after.
    Any thoughts on this. It seems to make sense and will save using a cup of cornmeal at a time. Just apply the paste on the fungi infected toenails and let it do its thing.

  3. Laurie
    san antonio

    I found Nature’s Creation Fungicide with corn meal at a garden center. It says it is 1% garlic and 99% horticulture grade cornmeal (which is roughly ground). It comes in a 30 lb bag. Do you think this is safe for use as treatment of toe nail fungus?

  4. Dullis

    Can the initial used batch of cornmeal be warmed and used again, or must one start with a fresh batch each time. I would appreciate a response to my query asap.

    Thank you

  5. shirley b.
    rincon ga 31326

    I have the same question that terri had in jan 2014. can you reuse the cornmeal mixture or do you need to use fresh mixture each time?

  6. shirley b.

    I still did not see weather or not you can reuse the mixture or need fresh one each time you soak in the cornmeal?

  7. Kate

    I used cornmeal on my toenail fungus and it actually worked! I went to the dollar store and bought some big tin foil pans (big enough to use as a foot bath). I then bought a large bag of yellow corn meal from a natural food store. I put a couple of cups of corn meal in the pan and added enough hot water to cover both my feet, and let it sit for 30 minutes before I soaked my feet. Then, I sat and soaked my feet for 1 hour while watching TV, once a week for 6 weeks in the cornmeal mush (be sure to have towels around so you don’t make a mess when you are ready to rinse off). Unbelievably my toe nail fungus went away! I had been bothered by toenail fungus for several years and had tried everything else that was non prescription. I tried Vicks for several months and never saw any improvement. I used Tea Tree Oil daily for over one year and had no improvement either. I tried a wide array of topical concoctions, but to no avail. It is two years later, after using cornmeal, and my toenails are still fungus free. A few times I thought it might be coming back, so I did another soak, just in case. I don’t know if this will work for you, but for me it was rather amazing. Good Luck!

  8. Tom
    Pinon Hills, CA, USA

    I have been reading comments you published by your readers with toenail fungus who treated it successfully with corn meal. One reader says corn meal has a fungus that is “ravenous” to toenail fungus. I am wondering if this unidentified fungus may in fact be the insecticide scientists have engineered into the genome of corn and the corn now being grown has this genome. I haven’t seen a corn worm in years.

  9. Lillian

    I too have tried everything suggested except the vodka. I’m willing to try this because I’m desperate. Here we go again…………

  10. sharonj
    Murrieta, CA

    I have a white fungus under my big toenail. My doctor suggested Vicks Mentholatum. That hasn’t worked. I will try the cornmeal, 1 part cornmeal and 2 parts water? I was confused about the lukewarm vs cold & hot water. Can you explain? Also, I am unable to get under my nail. I hope that means it hasn’t reached a critical point yet? Can you please help me with my questions?

  11. Grandma

    Our dog had a fungal infection in her ears. We tried the liquid the vet gave us, but we had no luck. I thought it was because she kept shaking it out. I went to the store and bought a tube of generic Monistat. The cream stayed in her ears and the infection cleared up. Then I had the idea to try it on my big toe, which had a fungal infection for several years. I applied it to my nail, the nail bed, the edges of the nail, and under the tip. I repeated this for a few days and as the nail was growing out it was clear. Now I just have to wait for the whole nail to grow out.

  12. Gloria Morris
    Arlington, TX

    I found vinegar very helpful with toenail fungus; however, when I quit having my toenails painted/pedicures, I have not had the fungus since.

  13. Bruce
    United States

    Everyone keeps saying they add X Amount of cornmeal to water, but then nobody says how much water. Someone that has had success with this treatment, can you PLEASE respond with how much cornmeal and how much water? Thanks.

    • SLL
      Raleigh, NC

      It really doesn’t matter. I just dumped half a bag of cornmeal and then added enough water to make it a bit soupy. Sometimes there was more water, sometimes less. You just really want a way to soak your feet.
      This solution is what finally worked for me after about 9 years of toenail fungus. Plus it feels great, especially in the winter when you want to soak in something warm.
      And as an added benefit, your feet feel very soft.
      I soaked off and on for about six months before it finally cleared. Maybe if I had done it every day it would have cleared faster.

  14. Mark

    Did it work for you?

  15. Gary

    My Doctor recommended the corn meal treatment, but said not to use grocery store corn meal because it has been processed. Buy it from a feed store because it isn’t processed corn meal. You can buy about 20 pounds for $15.
    There are three adults in our family that have had chronic toenail fungus for years. A 30-minute foot bath for three weeks will do the job. I even found a corn meal mixture with other herbs that the feed store had that they said has worked for many. It was more expensive than the corn meal though.

  16. Terri

    Do you have to start over with the mixture each time you do the soak or can you re-use the water/cornmeal mixture?

  17. Nancy

    Yes, this woks and I’m proof! Don’t waste money on the junk at the drug stores. Just try it, you will be amazed.

  18. JM

    Does it matter what kind of cornmeal yellow or white?

  19. LFM

    I think cotton wool is another name for a cotton ball. Ask at drug store in first aid aisle or (cheaper) the cosmetic aisle.

  20. LJB

    I was unfortunately introduced to toe nail fungus several years ago and have tried many remedies with no success. Then I remembered that I had GSE (Grapefruit Seed Extract) in my cabinet. Under the product label were instructions to treat many ailments including toe fungus. The instructions used 1 ounce of isoprol alcohol and 5-10 drops of GSE. This is applied to the entire toe nail and qtips are recommended to apply under the toe nail. Results can be seen in less than 2 weeks with twice daily treatments. There is also a tablet form of GSE that can help speed up the healing from the inside. GSE appears to be anti-bacerial, anti-fungal and anti-viral.

  21. GEM

    Does this treatment also work for fingernails?

  22. Anonymous

    Does the cornmeal treatment for toenails also work for finger nails?

  23. PAO

    What kind of vinegar? White, red??? And where did you find a cotton and wool fabric to wrap it in?

  24. vicky

    I had nail fungus in one big toe nail for 2 years and began wrapping it in white vinegar soaked cotton wool and in less than a month the new nail has been growing clear of fungus.

  25. Naomi B.

    I’ve tried so many others, I’m going to give this a shot. Sticking the toes into a whole lemon worked but it’s messy and my tree is out of yellow lemons now so, corn meal, here we come !

  26. Col Yogurt

    I also had a toenail fungus that didn’t respond to all the OTC choices. After several years, I painted vodka on and under the nail every night before bed and in the morning after a shower. Unbelievably, it took 8 months for a new nail to grow in and its been perfect for over two years now. Haven’t used the vodka treatment for two years.

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