Although it may be unpleasant to look at – and even less fun to admit to others – getting toenail fungal infections is easy and nothing to be ashamed of.
Fungus likes to grow in warm, dark, humid places, and since our feet barely see the light of day thanks to our socks and shoes, fungus can sneak up on us without an obvious warning – until it’s too late.
Unhygienic, uncomfortable, and uneasy on the eyes, toenail fungus can lead to serious health concerns if not treated early on, and the best way to eradicate it is by seeking professional help.
If you have or suspect you may have a fungal infection, this should be your first course of action, as some infections can be very difficult to treat on your own.
However, prescribed pharmaceuticals require months to take effect, and although there is no solid scientific proof that vinegar cures toenail fungus, there have been numerous accounts of it slowing down the fungal growth and lessening certain symptoms – that is, if the infection is not too severe.
People choose vinegar as their go-to fungus remover because of the diluted anti-bacterial acid in vinegar, which helps to kill unwanted infections and restore proper pH levels.
In other words, it’s an ideal natural remedy, almost custom-fit for the job.
How To Use Vinegar for Toenail Fungus
The simplest at-home remedy for toenail fungus is a vinegar soak.
To prepare for the soak, trim your toenails and ensure that your feet are completely dry. Then choose any kind of vinegar, be it rice vinegar, white vinegar, apple cider vinegar, or another kind – although, the higher the pH level, the better.
Take the container in which you’ll be soaking your feet and fill it half with vinegar, half with hot water. If you soak your feet in the evenings, you can add a bit of tea tree oil, which is used to cure athlete’s foot.
Soak your feet in the solution for 10 to 15 minutes twice a day, but never for more than 30 minutes and never more than four times a week, since the acid in the vinegar can irritate the skin.
Once you are done, make sure to dry your feet completely before putting on socks or shoes. You should begin to see a difference after a few weeks, depending on the severity of the infection.
As the nails start to grow, keep trimming and filing them down until most of the infected part is gone. Always thoroughly clean your utensils and the area where you soak your feet.
Seek medical attention if the symptoms do not improve or if they get worse.
What Are the Symptoms of Toenail Fungus?
Some of the symptoms include:
- Thick nails
- Yellow lines running vertically along the nail
- A strange odor coming from the nail
- Scaling underneath the nail
- Black or yellow spots
- Nails falling off (in extreme cases)
- Brittle nails
- Yellow spots under the nail
How to Prevent Toenail Fungus
If the vinegar solution worked for you, here are some tips to help you avoid toenail fungus from returning:
- After buying new shoes, especially a second-hand pair, always wash them before trying them on, especially if you don’t know the previous owner – and especially if you are not sure if they had or have a fungal infection. If they are not the kind of shoe that can be washed or if you need to wear them immediately, spread some talcum powder on the inside of the shoes.
- Be sure to invest in an anti-fungal foot spray, as you might find at a local pharmacy, and coat the inside of your shoes after they’ve been washed. This will not only kill existing fungus but also help treat your feet against lingering infection.
- As soon as you notice that your nails are a little discolored, too soft, too thick, or have white, yellow, or black flakes, go to a doctor. It is better to catch the condition early rather than waiting for it to spread or grow worse. Unlike some illnesses, infection is not the kind you can wait out.
- If you don’t already, begin using sandals while showering. The dirt and grime you wash off your body can stay in a puddle that gathers at the bottom of your shower. If your shower does not have standing water, then be sure to change the mat outside, as you could be obtaining a reinfection by exiting the shower. It may seem like a stretch to take preventive measures in your own bathtub, but as was mentioned before: fungal infections can sneak up on you when you least realize it.
- Wear socks constantly. If you’ve walked barefoot around your home while the infection was present – even without your knowledge – you can then be in constant danger of contracting it once again. Be sure to mop or vacuum thoroughly, but for the first month, wear socks actively to prevent the fungus from returning.
Have you tried using vinegar for toenail fungus?