Most people are pleased to put winter in the rear-view mirror, but the hot humid weather of summer can bring on its own maladies. One reader requests remedies to vanquish summertime athlete’s foot.
Q. Whenever the weather gets warm I know athlete’s foot is sure to follow. Yesterday my feet began to itch and when I looked I had signs of fungus between several toes.
Do you know of a home remedy for this condition? I have been plagued with athlete’s foot for decades and have used drugstore products without much success. They hold the fungus at bay for a while, but then it always comes back.
A. There are numerous home remedies for athlete’s foot. We can’t promise that any one of them will work better than drugstore creams, but they might help.
Some people find that soaking the feet in a solution of half vinegar and half water several times a week is a cheap and easy way to overcome the fungus that causes athlete’s foot. Here is just one story from J.W.
“My teenage son has had athlete’s foot for over two years. The doctor’s prescription for anti-fungal cream did not work. I tried boric acid soaks for a week. Nothing.
“Over the yrs he has used anti-fungal powders and sprays DAILY. I also got him Funga Soap (found at the grocery store) and tree tea oil (found at the pharmacy over the counter). He applied them daily as well. Still… no improvement.
“So I tried the white vinegar soaks. I did 1/3 vinegar to 2/3 warm warm water soaks 15 min once a day and have done this for a week. I also soaked all socks in vinegar and water for 20 min one time then washed the socks as usual.
“Low and behold…it is 90 percent cleared! Vinegar is my new best friend. :). I swear this stuff is amazing.”
One very old-fashioned, if slightly unappealing, option is to soak the affected feet in urine. One reader wrote:
“My ex-wife was a nurse and she convinced me to try it. It worked like a charm for my athlete’s foot. I had tried many different creams over the years, and it always kept coming back. I have now had 15 years with no athlete’s foot. Try it; the only thing you have to lose is your fungus.”
One ingredient in urine is urea. This natural nitrogen-containing compound made by the body can fight foot fungus in concentrations of 20 to 40 percent (Cutis, May, 2004).
Another approach to summertime athlete’s foot is to wear sandals when possible. Athlete’s foot fungus loves dark, damp places, so exposing the feet to air and light can discourage fungal growth.