Nail fungus, which doctors call onychomycosis, is unsightly and can make nails hard to trim. This is especially true of toenails, which can be a little tough to cut anyway. So it makes sense that people would want to get rid of their toenail fungus.
It also makes sense for people to try home remedies for this condition. There are now a number of prescription medications that can be used to treat nail fungus, but most of them are quite expensive. Moreover, none have a truly impressive record of clearing toenail fungus.
Efinaconazole (Jublia), for example, produced a complete cure of toenail fungus in 17.8% of the volunteers in one study; in a second trial, 15.2% of the participants got a cure. All this took 48 weeks and costs more than $500 for a 4-ml bottle.
Home Remedies for Onychomycosis (Nail Fungus):
Few home remedies for nail fungus have been tested. If they were included in an experiment, they might well not do any better than the prescription products. But they cost a whole lot less. In addition, home remedies generally have a lower likelihood of triggering a dangerous reaction than oral antifungal drugs such as itraconazole (Sporanox) or terbinafine (Lamisil). This reader tried a home remedy that did the job.
Q. Your advice for toenail fungus works. I’ve been soaking my affected toenails daily in a Listerine/white vinegar mixture. After four months they look normal and have almost grown out.
I will continue with the soaks until they are totally clear. I tried many tubes of antifungal prescription ointment that did not work. This approach takes persistence and devotion and at least 30 minutes daily, but seeing these results is very rewarding.
Listerine and Vinegar to Fight Nail Fungus:
A. We are glad to hear you are getting benefit. Listerine contains several herbal oils that have antifungal properties (eucalyptol, thymol, menthol). The alcohol may also discourage fungal growth. Vinegar, because of its acidity, creates a hostile environment for fungi.
There is more information about this and many other remedies for toenail fungus in our Guide to Hair and Nail Care. Patience and persistence are required for any nail fungus treatment to take effect; toenails grow slowly, and they must grow out completely to be clear of any fungus.
We suspect that there are a number of different types of fungus that can affect nails and cause onychomycosis, and they may respond differently to each medication or remedy. Finding the one that is just right for your nails may require some trial and error.