Be it a toenail fungus or fingernail fungus, it is very painful and embarrassing to deal with it. A nail fungus develops when mold or fungus grows rapidly under the nails leading to discolored and distorted nails. Prolonged exposure to moist/dark environments and using un-sanitized nail spa tools are the main causes of a nail fungus.
Toe nail fungus is more common than fingernail fungus. why? Because of less blood circulation in the nails, our immune system cannot detect and fight with the infection. If left untreated, it leads to pain, foul-smelling odor and even loss of nail. As per MayoClinic, many people have successfully cleared nail fungus with home remedies.
Before trying out any home remedy, you have to follow the steps below to receive the best out of it.
Step 1: Using a nail clipper, clip off the dead part of nail. While doing this process, avoid cutting the skin surrounding the nail.
Step 2: Using a coarse nail filer, file the dead part of the nail which you couldn’t remove with a clipper. It is better to use medium or fine grade filers.
Step 3: Using soap water or lotion, clean your nails to remove the dirt and dust.
The diseased nail should be clipped and filed regularly. Now, let’s have a look at the natural remedies for nail fungus.
Vinegar contains antifungal properties which kill the fungus. The acidic nature of vinegar balances the pH levels of the nails and skin which becomes less hospitable for fungal growth. It also provides relief from itching and speeds up the healing process. You can use any type of vinegar as they all are acidic.
How to Use Vinegar to Treat Nail fungus?
- Take a bowl which is big enough to soak your nails or fingers. Add 1 part of vinegar and 2 parts of warm water into the bowl. Make sure the solution is enough to completely cover the nails.
- Soak infected nails in the solution for 15 – 20 minutes.
- Remove from the solution and rinse them with clean water. Make sure to remove all the traces of vinegar. Dry the nails completely with a towel or hair dryer (set the temperature to low).
- Repeat the process 2 times in day until you achieve the results.
Note: If the vinegar is causing irritation, then dilute it with more water and repeat the process only 2 – 3 times in a week.
Epsom salt contains anti-inflammatory, antifungal and antibacterial properties. It exfoliates the skin and nails gently to speed up the healing process.
How to Use Epsom Salt to Treat Nail Fungus?
- Take enough water to soak your nails. Bring the water to boil and remove from the flame. Let the temperature of water reduce till your skin can tolerate it.
- Place your toes or fingers in the water and pour Epsom salt on the infected nails. Let the infected nails be fully surrounded by Epsom salts. It doesn’t matter how much Epsom salt is present in the remaining water. Make sure the concentration of magnesium (present in Epsom Salt) has surrounded the affected nail.
- Soak for 15 – 20 minutes, rinse with water and pat dry completely.
- Repeat the process 3 times in a day.
The fatty acids present in coconut oil insert themselves in to the fat layer of the fungal membrane which disturbs its cell integration and destroy the fungus. It also contains antifungal properties.
How to Use Coconut Oil for Nail Fungus?
- Scoop out some coconut oil, spread a thin layer on the affected nail and massage gently for few minutes to ensure the oil gets under the nails and behind the cuticles. If you have several infected nails, then soak a bandage in the coconut oil, wring out the excess and apply it to the nails and wear socks.
- Leave the application overnight and remove the bandage in the morning.
- Repeat the application or re-apply a fresh bandage 3 – 6 times in a day.
Note: Once, the infection is gone and nail falls off, you can apply coconut oil daily to prevent fungal recurrence of the infection and grow a healthy nail.
Being antifungal, honey heals toenail fungus by drawing out the toxins out of the foot. It also contains hydrogen peroxide which heals the wounds on the skin.
How to Use Honey to Treat Nail Fungus?
- Pour a small amount of honey on the affected nails.
- Wrap the affected area with gauze. After several hours, remove the gauze and rinse the area with water. Pat dry completely.
- Repeat the process 2 times in a day until you achieve the results.
For Added Benefits: you can treat the nail fungus from inside by consuming a tablespoon of honey along with a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar daily.
Lemon juice contains antifungal, antiseptic properties and citric acid which deals with the fungal infection.
How to use Lemon Juice to treat Nail Fungus?
Method 1: Squeeze some fresh lemon juice on the affected nails. Leave it on for 30 minutes. Rinse with warm water and pat dry.
Method 2: Combine equal amounts of lemon juice and olive oil. Apply the mixture on the affected nails. Rinse off the application after 2 – 3 hours.
Foods to Include:
- Antifungal Foods: Garlic, coconut oil, onion, carrots, raw honey contains antifungal properties so include them in your daily diet. You can add the antifungal foods in your daily food or consume them directly. For example, 2 – 3 tablespoons of coconut oil is enough or 2 – 4 garlic cloves crushed and mixed in honey. Some people don’t like eating raw garlic, they can take garlic supplements instead of it.
Foods to Avoid:
- Sugar: Fungus grows and lives on feeding sugars. So cutting back the sugar consumption can starve out the fungus.
- Gluten: Fungus also feeds on gluten which is available in wheat products. So, reduce the amounts of gluten in your diet at least until the infection clears.
Tips and Precautions:
- The above mentioned remedies should be followed until the diseased nail comes out and new nail grows out completely.
- After each treatment, make sure to dry the nails properly as moist environments encourage fungal growth.
- Dry your nails completely after taking a shower or swimming.
- Avoid walking barefoot in public places like gyms, stations and malls.
- Clip and file your nails regularly. This helps to speed up the healing process and prevent nail fungus in future.
- Wear gloves while washing clothes and utensils. This keeps your nails dry.
- Wash your feet regularly with antifungal soap.
- Avoid wearing socks with synthetic fibers. Socks made with wool should be preferred. They help to provide enough air circulation to the feet.
- Always sprinkle antifungal powder before wearing socks. If you wear closed shoes daily, then spritz antifungal spray inside the shoe.
- Wash your socks and shoes regularly to get rid of any breeding bacteria and fungus.
- To dry the nails properly, use paper towels or a hair dryer (set to low temperature).
- Avoid applying nail polish or artificial nails to the affected nails until the infection clears.
- Prefer sandals instead of shoes if you can. Exposing feet to sunlight helps to clear and prevent the infection.
- Keep your carpets fungus-free by using hydrogen peroxide. This helps to prevent the recurrence of nail fungus.