Understanding Nail Fungus

Home Remedies for Nail Fungus

If you're a do-it-yourself kind of person and plan to take the home-remedy route to rooting out your nail fungus, here are some commonly suggested home solutions that people have tried, typically applying them to their infected nails over the course of a few to several months:

  • Listerine
  • Vinegar and water
  • Listerine and vinegar
  • Vicks VapoRub
  • Oil of oregano
  • Tea tree oil

[source: Graedon]

There are two things that all of these treatments have in common. The first is that their advocates describe it taking a few months to see results. This timeframe is compatible with prescribed medications [source: Graedon]. The fact is that fungus is hard to kill and nails are slow to respond to treatment. The second thing they all have in common is that they are anecdotal -- meaning that there is no research proving that they work. So try them at your own risk. Keep in mind that if they don't work, your infection may grow worse and will be harder to cure if and when you do decide to see a doctor [source: Mayo Clinic].

If you really don't want to end up at the doctor, probably the best home remedy is prevention. To keep your nails fungus-free, try to keep your feet dry by wearing open-toed shoes or by using moisture-absorbing socks and changing your socks often. Wearing flip-flops in public showers and not going barefoot in public places are other easy ways to keep fungus as bay [source: Mayo Clinic].

To learn more about nail fungus, browse through the links below.

Related HowStuffWorks Articles


  • American Academy of Dermatology (AAD). "Nail Fungus & Nail Health." (Accessed 10/07/09)http://www.aad.org/public/publications/pamphlets/common_nail.html
  • Berman, Kevin. "Fungal Nail Infection." MedlinePlus. (Accessed 10/07/09)http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001330.htm
  • Gibson, Lawrence. "Nail Biting: Does it cause long-term damage?" Mayo Clinic. (Accessed 10/07/09)http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/nail-biting/AN01144
  • Graedon, Joe & Terry. "Listerine for Toenail Fungus." People's Pharmacy. (Accessed 10/07/09)http://www.peoplespharmacy.com/2005/11/16/listerine-for-t/index.php
  • Graedon, Joe & Terry. "Getting Rid of Toenail Fungus." People's Pharmacy. (Accessed 10/07/09)http://www.peoplespharmacy.com/2007/11/22/getting-rid-of/
  • PDRhealth. "Nail Fungus" (Accessed 10/07/09)http://www.pdrhealth.com/disease/disease-mono.aspx?contentFileName=BHG01DE11.xml&contentName=Nail+Fungus&contentId=104&sectionMonograph=ht1
  • Mayo Clinic. "Nail Fungus" (Accessed 10/07/09)http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/nail-fungus/DS00084
  • WebMD. "Fungal Nail Infections." (Accessed 10/07/09)http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/tc/fungal-nail-infections-topic-overview