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Vinegar Solves Toenail Problem

Some time ago, we heard from a reader that soaking her feet in vinegar and Listerine cleared up her toenail problem, a yucky fungus.
Vinegar Solves Toenail Problem
Foot bath at a day spa in a bowl feet soak

Toenail fungus is common and often stubborn. Newer medications for this problem can be quite pricey. Just about any treatment for toenail fungus requires a lot of patience. That is because the affected individual needs to keep treating the nails until they grow out completely fungus-free. Consequently, many people use home remedies to take care of their toenail problem.

Several months ago we heard from a reader that soaking her feet in vinegar and Listerine cleaned up her toenail fungus:

“When I read your article about soaking the toes in vinegar and Listerine every day, I figured I had little to lose. I started soaking twice a day and I still am. It’s been three months and all my nails have cleared up except for the big toes. Even they have nearly grown out and are looking pink and healthy. I can’t thank you enough.”

Vinegar and Listerine for a Toenail Problem:

Since then we have heard from others that this inexpensive home remedy has been helpful. Of course, readers want to know what the “right” formula is. In addition, they wonder how long they must soak their tootsies to treat their toenail problem. The answer is, there is no answer. Some people use a half and half dilution. Others dilute the vinegar (2 parts water to 1 part vinegar) first. There is no science here, so experimentation is not only permitted, it is encouraged.

Here is a recent story from Andrea:

“Hi! Just wanted to let you all know that I have been doing the vinegar since January and my toenail is almost cured!

“I don’t soak my foot anymore because I got sick of sitting around and my husband was sick of the terrible smell. So I put some vinegar in a little spray bottle that I would take with me everywhere I go. Whenever I think of it, I spray my toenail, at least 4 times a day. I realized about a month ago that my toenail was much better. I was doing the spraying thing just as a routine, with little hope. In fact, I was considering the pills (a friend told me it worked for her), but I was scared about any side effects.

“So now I will keep spraying my toenail and will do more foot treatments like I used to do. My toenail is growing and the bad part is almost gone!! :)))”

Science on Vinegar for Nail Fungus?

There are few if any scientific studies on vinegar against nail fungus. However, we found an acknowledgment that organic acids such as acetic acid (vinegar) may have value (Sleven et al, Mycoses, May 2016). We haven’t found any clinical trials, though, so readers will have to continue to experiment for themselves. Filing down the thickened nail between treatments may help the vinegar soak through to the fungus infection and help heal the toenail problem.

Revised 4/12/18

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About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.” .
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