The People's Perspective on Medicine

Listerine Fights Nail Fungus

Q. I read in the paper a few years ago to soak nails with fungus in amber-colored Listerine every day for 20 or 30 minutes. I am so happy to say that it worked!
I soaked my toes every morning as I read the paper. (In the beginning I soaked in the evening too.) It took several months, but I could see the healthy nail growing out at the cuticle so that kept me going. I now have been fungus-free for over a year!

Before the Listerine soak, I had tried prescriptions from my doctor and remedies I found online. Everything seemed to help a little but nothing cured it. Listerine soaks are the answer!

A. Listerine contains a number of herbal oils that have mild anti-fungal activity in an alcohol base. We have heard from a number of other people who have had success treating their nail fungus with Listerine soaks.
Suzy shared her 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, if 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.”

Not everyone benefits from Listerine, but it is inexpensive and seems to be safe. Other home remedies that people have tried for nail fungus include Vicks VapoRub, which contains many of the same herbal oils as Listerine. Some folks find that tea tree oil solutions are beneficial, and others swear by decolorized (“white”) iodine. Read more here.

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    About the Author
    Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
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    Amber Listerine worked for me. At first I tried it mixed 50/50 with vinegar, but the smell was terrible. I switched to straight Listerine. I put it in a squeeze bottle and poured it over my toenails each morning right before drying off from the shower. The results were amazing and quick. Within a week I could see healthy toenail growth. In a couple of months I had fungus free toenails. I know it sounds crazy, but it worked. It is affordable and doesn’t cause kidney damage like the prescription products do!

    Well just started this listerene thingy and wow does it stink! I’m going to do it though as I’m in terrible pain with it now as has spread to other foot. I’ve spent so much money on these over the counter lotions and potions which promise a cure… rubbish all of them, I’m now on prescription drugs for it and that doesn’t seem to be working either let’s hope eh …

    For me, the only thing that has worked is soaking the toes in Listerine as recommended in a different story here on PP. My big toenails have had a fungus for over two years even though I eat a strict paleo-type diet. I won’t list what did not work for my toes.

    What is working now: I found at Walmart some silicone grippers in the cooking aisle (like silicone oven mitts, but these look like clam shells sort of). After cutting these into two pieces (one for each foot), I nestled a few towels in a plastic dish pan, poured in plain yellow store-brand Listerine, and soaked my toes about 15 minutes, twice a day. It’s been three weeks and new non-yellow toenail is growing in (about 2 mm so far). Previously I had tried soaking both feet (entire feet) in ACV in the dishpan, but boy is that cold, even in the summer with AC, so I gave it up after three days. This new method of soaking only my toes is quite bearable – the liquid warms up quickly. Also I apply a drop of tea tree oil to each nail twice a day, letting it soak in for a few minutes before putting the socks back on. I am hoping that within nine or twelve months my nails will look normal.

    How much Listerine and do u add water ???

    You do a 50/50 solution of Listerine and apple cider, or white vinegar. I’ve been using one or the other, which is helping, but I never thought of combining the two! I’m doing it right now! I’m going to soak for at least an hour twice a day.

    How long should one soak the toes daily in hydrogen peroxide?

    Your toe nail will grow back as I hit my toe nail with the dresser when I was helping someone move it and it was a really hard bang which I think put the nerves into shock. A couple weeks later I noticed the nail was loose and didn’t know what to do about it, and then it eventually fell off which took a few weeks and then it started growing back again, so it will grow back, so not too worry.

    The most effective and easiest cure for nail fungus is HYDROGEN PEROXIDE. Simply soak the affected nail in hydrogen peroxide.

    So I have been fighting toenail fungus for a couple years now. For awhile I had it pretty much wrapped up with home remedies (vapor rub, vinegar, lemon juice… you name it) but when I wasn’t keeping up with my “treatments” it came back.
    Now my nail is so bad and is loose at the root. So looks like my nail will officially fall off, I am pretty much freaking out. Will it grow back? Oh please tell me it will.
    I was reading all the above posts, and I am going to try the Brewer’s yeast, I soaked in diluted bleach tonight and now vapor rub is on my toes.
    Please just comfort me and tell me if it falls off it will grow back.

    Just a note-dealing with toenail fungus can be frustrating. But soaking in listerine/ACV or a dilute bleach solution works well. Also, I used a 50/50 mixture of tree tea oil and vicks vapor rub. Put a dab on the affected nail and cover it with a bandaid. This keeps it working all day without being rubbed off by your socks. Works great.

    After trying any number of medications for adult acne prescribed by my personal physician, I read a comment on the People’s Pharmacy about using Listerine on the face. I cautiously tried it, being skeptical at first, and within a short period of time with daily use, my face cleared up for the first time in years! I used the original amber Listerine with a cotton ball dabbing gently on the areas needed. I thank the People’s Pharmacy for all the wonderful advice offered over the years. Please keep your program going. Many thanks. “P”

    I used tea tree oil. no need to soak, use pl; just put some on your finger and apply then go about your business. Apply every day to nails and surrounding area. It isn’t long before it’s gone.

    I discovered fungus on my toe nail after removing nail polish. I tried Listerine and then Listerine and apple cider vinegar. I had some improvement, but not as much as I had hoped for. I remembered that I had some essential lavender oil that is supposed to have antibacterial properties. I thought “what the heck”. I started putting the lavender oil on my nail once a day and in two weeks the fungus had disappeared.

    I had a minor case of toenail fungus and Vicks Vaporub applied morning and night cleared it up completely in less than a month. Less time-consuming than the Listerine soak.

    Vicks work well for foot fungus too. My husband who is severely dementia so he can’t care for himself. I put Vicks on his toes 2, 3 times per week for about 2 months. I saw result every day and now I only put Vicks maybe once per week and the fungus did not come back.

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