6 Home Remedies for Toenail Fungus

A toenail infection can be a stubborn and difficult ailment to treat. Try these home remedies for toenail fungus.

baking soda home remedies for toenail fungus

No. 1 on our list of six home remedies for toenail fungus: baking soda, applied either as a paste or via a foot soak.

© Keechuan | Dreamstime.com

An infection on your toenails can be bothersome and embarrassing. Unfortunately, conventional treatments, which—various liquids, lacquers, or other topical or oral medicines—often take a long time to work, are not always effective, and may cost a pretty penny. In fact, it seems that even the most effective antifungal medicines have a cure rate of only around 30 to 50 percent.[1,2] But that’s no reason to get discouraged. There are home remedies for toenail fungus that may help you.

What Is Toenail Fungus?

Nail infections are caused by an overgrowth of fungi, including yeasts and molds. It usually begins with something small, like a white or yellow spot under the nail. Gradually, this spreads deeper into the nail, causing discoloration, thickening, and crumbling of the nail. It may become painful as the infection worsens. The medical names for toenail fungus include onychomycosis and tinea unguium.

Now that you understand the problem, let’s get into our six home remedies for toenail fungus.

6 Home Remedies for Toenail Fungus

6 Top Home Remedies for Toenail FungusTo effectively treat a toenail infection, you will need to use antifungal agents. But these don’t have to be prescription or made out of potentially harmful chemicals; a variety of herbs, oils, and other natural substances have antifungal properties of their own.

1. Baking soda.

Also known as sodium bicarbonate, baking soda actually has significant antifungal effects. Laboratory studies show that baking soda is effective against many fungal species that are commonly involved in toenail fungus. In fact, it inhibited the growth of 80 percent of fungal isolates tested in one study.[3] Try making a paste out of water and baking soda and spreading it on your nails. Alternatively, add some baking soda to a bucket of water and do a daily foot soak.

2. Tea tree oil

Tea tree oil is a very useful essential oil. Not only can it can be used to treat conditions ranging from dandruff to athlete’s foot, but it’s among the best home remedies for toenail fungus. This essential oil has significant antifungal effects, along with antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Nanocapsules of tea tree oil suppress the growth of rubrum, one of the more common fungi-causing toenail infections.[4] One study found that 100 percent tea tree oil applied twice-daily for six months was as effective as clotrimazole, an antifungal medication. After six months, 60 percent of the people in the tea tree oil group experienced partial or full resolution of symptoms.[5] Rub tea tree essential oil directly on the affected area twice daily until symptoms subside.

3. Ozonized sunflower oil.

By reacting ozone (O3) with sunflower oil, you can produce ozonized sunflower oil, which contains compounds with significant medicinal effects. In one study using a product called Oleozon, participants experienced some remarkable improvements with topical application of the ozonized sunflower oil twice per day; 90.5 percent were cured of their toenail fungus completely. In the control group using ketoconazole (an over the counter medicated cream), only 13.5 percent were cured. A year later, the Oleozon group had only a 2.8 percent relapse rate, while 44.4 percent of the control group had relapsed.[6] Rub a small amount of this oil onto your toes twice daily to treat toenail fungus.

4. Olive leaf extract.

Olive leaves contain many beneficial compounds, including phenolic compounds. Extract from the leaves of olive plants have been shown to have significant antibacterial and antifungal effects, making it a useful tool for fighting toenail fungus.[7,8] Look for the liquid form, and use a small amount to cover your infected toenails multiple times per day.

5. Coconut oil.

Many people use coconut oil to treat toenail fungus. This oil has health-promoting effects ranging from protecting your hearing to preventing memory loss. Additionally, coconut oil is a powerful antifungal agent.[9] To help treat your toenail fungus, melt a small amount of coconut oil on your fingertips (it is solid at room temperature) and apply directly to your toes.

6. Snakeroot extract.

The last of our home remedies for toenail fungus is the plant Ageratina pichinchensis. Commonly known as snakeroot, it’s known to be highly effective at fighting toenail fungus. In a study on 96 people, a snakeroot formulation was effective in 71.1 percent of the cases.[10] Look for snakeroot extract itself, or natural toenail fungus formulations that use Ageratina in the ingredients list.

If you try any of these natural treatments and your nail or nails become more discolored, thickened, or deformed, see your doctor. If you have diabetes, see your doctor before trying to treat this condition on your own.


How about Vick’s VapoRub as a remedy for toenail fungus? And how about vinegar? Aliza Lifschitz, MD, wrote about those in a post shared by our friends at Vida y Salud. Click here to read.

Experts recommend that if you’re fighting a toenail infection, your should keep your toenails trimmed and thin if possible. This may relieve some pain by reducing pressure, and it will allow the topical products to penetrate into the nail itself when you apply them. Scraping the top of your nail may also help your remedies to work better, as they will be able to get deeper into the layers of your toenails.


This article was originally published in 2018. It is regularly updated. 

[1] Mycoses. 2013 May;56(3):289-96.
[2] Dermatol Clin. 2015 Apr;33(2):175-83.
[3] Mycopathologia. 2013 Feb;175(1-2):153-8
[4] Mycopathologia. 2013 Apr;175(3-4):281-6.
[5] J Fam Pract. 1994 Jun;38(6):601-5.
[6] Mycoses. 2011 Sep;54(5):e272-7.
[7] Molecules. 2007 May 26;12(5):1153-62.
[8] Pak J Pharm Sci. 2013 Mar;26(2):251-4.
[9] Asian Pac J Trop Med. 2011 Mar;4(3):241-7.
[10] Planta Med. 2008 Oct;74(12):1430-5.

As a service to our readers, University Health News offers a vast archive of free digital content. Please note the date published or last update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

UHN Staff

University Health News is produced by the award-winning editors and authors of Belvoir Media Group’s Health & Wellness Division. Headquartered in Norwalk, Conn., with editorial offices in Florida, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, … Read More

View all posts by UHN Staff

Comments Comments Policy
  • Hydrogen peroxide 9 mixed with water took the rotten nail off in 24 hours revealing black rot underneath which I rubbed off with salt and enough water to dampen. No pain at all. Toe is clean now . Third of new nail intact.

  • My toenails were turning yellow. I soaked my feet in Hydrogen Peroxide or 40 minutes, and the yellow color is gone from all my toenail. The big toenails are slightly darkened in one area, so I plan to soak them again tomorrow.

  • treating naturally Toenail Fungus comparing to nowadays chemical based anti fungal is better………these remedies gives of lot of relief.Thanks for sharing a such a good natural remedy …. keep sharing such good and result oriented remedies.

  • infection on toenails makes lots pain which is sometimes unbearable….so natural way treatment is best.

    Thanks for sharing a such a good and tasty recipe, keep sharing such a new and interesting recipes.
    Indian recipes

  • infection on toenails makes lots pain which is sometimes unbearable….so natural way treatment is best.
    Thanks for sharing a such a good natural remedy …. keep sharing such good and result oriented remedies.

    Health and Nature

  • I truly thank you for your great kindness for your most informative article her on toensil fungus! God bless you!!!

  • While reading several of the comments some important points were left out that should be made. While giving different suggestions on home remedies for toenail fungus maintaining a good hygiene program of clean feet and toes is essential. Secondly cutting the nails across without cutting back too far is also important. After showering and drying the feet and toes I clean each toenail and between each toe with an alcohol wipe. I had one toenail that I lost completely to a fungus infection. My aim was to apply an aggressive cleanliness program and observe how the new toenail would grow in. Well, it grew in fine with no sign of the fungus. The treatment takes all of 5 minutes without the fuss and muss of soaking ones feet. Along with regular hygiene and keeping your feet dry and clean this home remedy worked well for me.

  • A doctor told us to use Vicks Vaporub morning and night. Take a Q-tip and dip into the Vicks. Rub onto the effected toenail faithfully morning and night. After the first week, the layered yellow crust came off. 3 weeks later I was able to peel off a large portion of the toe nail, and the black parts were gone. I will keep doing this for a few more weeks, but this is the first thing that has worked for me. I did also take a file and file across the toenail to get it as thin as possible.

  • I had no idea you could use baking soda and other different types of oil to help with curing toenail fungus.
    very informative article

  • For one nasty + Long toe nail I used tea tree oil + olive oil but no real help!! Other ideas online though X x X

  • HIGH DOSE VITAMIN D3 will revv up your immune system and your immune sytem will kill off the fungus under your nails. It turns out yellow toenails /nails just mean you are vitmin d3 deficient…Here is a great article with before after and during pictures . I tried all the other treatments and those above – nothing worked – This works ! 100% guaranteed! No other treatment is needed just 20,000+ IU of vitamin d3 a day! link>>>>

  • I used Dial soap, the “gold bar” to stop nail fungus. It isn’t 100% gone but almost. Work uo a good lather of the soap and coat your feet with it (it stops buring and itching feet as well) and leave it on for 10 mins. Rinse with hot water and than cool water. Dry feet and toes well and only wear clean whit socks. I change mine every day sometimes twice a day. Wear sandels/ flip flops when possible. Go barefoot often..

  • I have been using colloidal silver. I sprayed it on my toenails daily and it took a couple of months to disappear.

  • I began using coconut oil for toenail fungus. Two of my nails were discolored and very thick. Within a few weeks, the nails both appear healthy with no discoloration. I was also able to remove the thick skin growth beneath the nails.

  • Sir l was suffering nail fungus since two months no ingredients for curing only garlic coconut oil any Home ingredients please

  • My toenails are disgusting it’s just not my big toe it’s almost all of them they are brittle and yellow and I can’t get rid of it what should I do and they’re growing deformed

  • All great ideas to try. Should your toenails be naked/no nail polish until symptoms disappear?? Mine look awful w/o color! Thanks

  • COCONUT OIL!!! It does a painless and inexpensive job of clearing away the ugliness of toenail fungus. All 10 of my toenails went from black to clear with the use of coconut oil used on all “10” nails. Now my toenails are translucent and growing normally. It’s amazing!!

  • Over the years my entire family had toe nail fungus, but I never got it. I always cleaned under my nail whenever i showered or bathed using a toe nail file.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Enter Your Login Credentials
This setting should only be used on your home or work computer.