Can I Get a Pedicure if I Have Toenail Fungus?

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One question we hear again and again: can I get a pedicure if I have toenail fungus?

It’s a valid question. One of our instincts is to make our feet as neat and clean as possible when we discover that there’s a fungus lurking down there.

And, let’s be honest, toenail fungus is sometimes an embarrassing condition to have, especially if you like to rock sandals or open-ended shoes.

So should you get a pedicure to cover it up and get rid of the fungus? Would it even work?

Let’s find out…

toenail fungus pedicure

What Is Toenail Fungus?

Toenail fungus occurs when bacteria settles in, on, or around your nails, causing them to turn yellow, black, or green.

can i get a pedicure with toenail fungus
By PicoMedia (CC BY-SA 3.0 licence)

In these cases, they often become brittle, emit unpleasant odors, and, in extreme cases, fall off.

Fungus is highly contagious, very common, and can quickly spread to your other toenails, as well as the nails of people you live with.

How Can You Get Infected with Toenail Fungus?

Anyone can find themselves with toenail fungus and it doesn’t necessarily reflect on your cleanliness or lifestyle — as we mentioned, it’s very common and (unfortunately) very contagious.

You will be more prone to pick up toenail fungus if you fit the following risk profile:

  • Coming into contact with others who have toenail fungus (including sharing towels, bed sheets ets)
  • Keeping your feet in a dark and humid environment — like wearing socks and shoes all day. Fungus thrives in darkness and humidity
  • Wearing ill-fitting shoes or having nail injuries
  • Having circulation problems
  • Coming into contact with bacteria or bacteria-infected water
  • Having a weak immune system
  • Having diabetes
  • Being over the age of 60
  • Having long toenails — this allows plenty of space for the fungus to grow and thrive

Can I Get a Pedicure to Get Rid of the Toenail Fungus?

If you find out that you do have toenail fungus, make an appointment with your doctor before attending a nail salon.

Fungal infections can last a lifetime and be very difficult to get rid of, even with medical assistance.

Medical intervention will be much more effective on fungus than a sparkly new paint job.

A pedicurist, no matter how skilled at their job, is not a medically trained professional that can eliminate toenail fungus, and they could actually make things worse.

If you don’t fancy blasting that fungus with medicine, you may want to experiment with some home remedies instead. Vinegar solution, for instance, is thought by many to slow down the fungal growth and is known as ‘nature’s cleaner’.

All you need to do is fill a bowl with hot water, add a cup of any kind of vinegar, and a few sprinkles of tea tree oil.

Soak your feet for 15 minutes twice a day, and after a few weeks, you’ll start to notice a difference. If your condition gets worse, however, go to a doctor immediately.

Another, more effective, way to get rid of toenail fungus is with laser treatment. It is a lot more expensive than your average home remedy, but it eliminates the fungus completely and quickly.

>>> The Best At-Home Laser Devices for Toenail Fungus

Should I Get a Pedicure if I Have Toenail Fungus?

Some of you might be wondering if it’s OK to get a pedicure with toenail fungus anyway — particularly if you’ve already started treatment and it’s beginning to clear up.

The most responsible answer is still no.

Coming into contact with fungal-infected objects is how toenail fungus spreads, and by getting a pedicure, you’ll potentially be contributing to the passing of the bacteria to another host — the salon’s other customers.

One of the main reasons numerous women have toenail fungus in the first place is because they got it from nail salons, due to a lack of hygiene in the establishment.

can i get a pedicure with toenail fungus

Any nail salon worth their salt will turn you away (hopefully politely!) as soon as they spot that you’re suffering with toenail fungus.

And if they don’t — you’ll need to consider that their acceptance means that they will be treating other people with toenail fungus too, which means that you’re likely to keep picking it up again and again if you go to the same salon.

What If I Get Turned Down from a Toenail Fungus Pedicure?

Some people have been known to offer to bring their own foot basin and nail utensils when they have a fungus in a bid to convince the salon to give them a pedicure.

But most salons (at least the good ones) will still refuse you — after all, toenail fungus can spread very easily, particularly in the wet conditions of a salon.

If you’re desperate for a pedicure, however, fear not as there are certain spas that specialize in medical pedicures or toenail fungus cover-ups.

They apply a topical treatment to the affected nail which makes your nails look like new and attempts to halt and reverse the fungal spread.

These spas can also treat other foot problems like excessive hard skin, callouses and more.

Bear in mind that they’re generally more expensive than your average pedicure, but it will be a much better investment for your toenails.

How to Avoid Toenail Fungus from Nail Salons

Toenail fungus can be difficult to eliminate, but if you’d like to prevent it from resurfacing, there are a couple of methods available to you.

While it’s easy to keep nail fungus at bay when you’re at home, it can be much harder when you visit nail salons as you’re probably not aware of how clean they keep their nail stations.

Here are some top tips for choosing a nail salon that you’re unlikely to catch a toenail fungus at.

Ask About Sanitary Procedures

When getting a pedicure, it is important to ask how your nail technician cleans their utensils.

If at all possible, visit the beauty parlor in advance to inspect how they use and clean their tools on another person before you make an appointment.

can i get a pedicure with toenail fungus

The best nail salons will sterilize utensils and even use brand new supplies between each client.

Generally speaking, the salon should look clean and tidy as well. Although this can’t guarantee that there’s no fungus lurking anywhere, it will give you a good idea of the salon’s overall hygiene and cleaning practices.

Another thing to look out for are clean towels used between each client and different towels used to wipe the floor versus on the client’s feet.

Avoid Having Damp Feet

Always ensure your feet are completely dry after you’ve bathed them in the foot basin and certainly before putting on shoes.

If not, the damp, enclosed space will be a perfect area for bacteria to thrive in, and fungus will start to grow between your feet and around your nails.

A good pedicurist will dry your feet completely before she paints your nail, including between the toes.

Trim and Cut

Always ask your pedicurist to keep your nails trimmed and short.

The longer the nails, the easier it is to pick up dust, grime, and bacteria underneath. It will eventually accumulate and can cause fungal growth.

Ideally, you should ask your pedicurist to cut your nails straight across (a rounded shape is only OK for your fingernails). This will prevent ingrowing toenails as well as the introduction of fungus.

Keep Your Nail Care Items Exclusive

At home, make sure to never share your personal hygiene items such as nail clippers, nail files, and feet scrubbers with anyone, including your family.

This is the quickest way to spread toenail fungus and is a reason why when one child in the family gets a fungus, it’s only a matter of time before the others start to pick it up.

Wear Clean Socks and Protect Your Feet

If you exercise regularly or find yourself sweating a great deal while wearing closed shoes, it’s best to wear sweat-absorbing socks and switch to a pair of breathable shoes.

Fungus thrives in dark and humid conditions so sweaty socks are the ideal habitat for it to grow.

Make sure to wash them regularly!

Keep your feet fresh and barefoot when you’re inside although make sure to cover up and keep them protected when you’re outside.

Some places are particularly notorious for picking up toenail fungus — as well as other foot infections like plantar warts — so be sure to protect your feet with specialist socks or shoes when in areas such as pools and locker rooms.

Be Aware of the Signs

Toenail fungus can start off small and go unnoticed at first until eventually, it’s a large problem you struggle to be rid of.

As soon as you notice that your nails are looking a little discolored, too soft, too thick, or have white, yellow, or black flakes, go to a doctor.

The quicker you catch toenail fungus, the easier it is to get rid of.


Considering getting a pedicure when you’ve got toenail fungus? Think again.

Not only will the most hygienic salons refuse you service, but you risk making the problem worse and spreading the fungus to other people if you go through with a pedicure anyway.

If you think you do have a fungal infection, talk to your doctor about the best way to treat it, and consider home remedies or something super effective like laser treatment to get rid of it quickly.

For those of you desperate for a pedicure, look into a medical pedicure at a specialist spa.

And make sure to follow all our tips above on avoiding fungus if you do visit a nail salon. Good luck!

Would you get a pedicure if you had toenail fungus?