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Whilst prescription treatments are available to treat toenail fungus, the complete cure rate is relatively low (under 20%) and the cost is high (up to $550 per bottle).
Many people suffering from toenail infections look for a cheaper and more convenient alternative. Homemade foot soaks tick both boxes.
Below we will look at some of the most popular foot soaks for treating fungus.
These are not clinically proven, but many users have reported positive results for a fraction of the price spent on prescription medication — some of which can have some nasty side effects.
First, let’s address an important issue:
How Long Does a Foot Soak Take to Cure Fungus?
There’s no obvious answer, and for some people, the answer may in fact be: it won’t cure it.
For any foot soak to be effective treating fungus, it has to be used regularly over a sustained period of time.
We’d advice soaking your feet for between 20-30 minutes each day to see any effect with the solutions below.
This is something you need to do daily, since fungus spreads easily and can be difficult to disrupt.
To get some perspective, the strongest antifungal prescription medication — Jublia, a 10% topical agent that uses efinaconazole — comes with a recommended usage period of at least 48 weeks.
This is due to the fact that fungus spreads under the nail, which in turn can take a very long time to heal and regrow.
Any fook soak treatment plan is going to be slow and you are unlikely to see a reduction of fungus overnight.
The good news?
There are many benefits to soaking your feet other than treating fungus!
Vinegar Foot Soak
By far the most popular home remedy foot soak, vinegar is known for its acidic properties and remarkable healing powers.
It is simple to use, cheap, and has a number of benefits. Vinegar will sooth dry feet and cracked heels. It also reduces swelling and inflammation, whilst fighting to heal infected cells
- Mix one part white vinegar with two parts of cool water.
- Soak the affected toenails in the solution for 15 minutes.
- Rinse and dry.
- Repeat daily.
It is best to use cool water as hot water can dry out your skin and aggravate symptoms.
Vinegar has mild exfoliating properties so a vinegar foot soak can also be used to treat warts, callouses and dead skin. It’s a great foot soak for anybody who suffers from foot odour and sweaty feet.
Listerine Foot Soak
Listerine targets germs in the mouth, but it has healing properties that many users have found to be effective treating toenail fungus too.
In fact, the Listerine foot soak has become something of a legend for its ability to get results in a way that was never intended. Most people go for the Amber Listerine, but the biggest difference between colours is simply the colour of the afterglow from submerging your toes in them for 30 minutes!
(Don’t worry, this will disappear.)
Why does the Listerine foot soak work so well on toenail fungus?
The product is full of disinfecting agents, such as Thymol (a fungicide), Eucalyptol and Salicylate. These attack the fungus, whilst reducing inflammation and pain.
The Listerine foot soak can leave you with remarkably smooth skin. It is popular with people suffering from dry feet and cracked heels.
- Mix several caps of Listerine with cool water in a tub.
- Soak the affected toenails in the solution for 25-30 minutes.
- Gently brush at the skin and nail.
- Rinse and dry.
- Repeat daily.
Note: Some people use 50% Listerine and 50% white vinegar as their foot soak of choice. This is one part to the two parts of water. Another popular variation is apple cider vinegar, which can be used for just about everything, including clear skin, clear mouths, as well as fungal treatments!
Tea Tree Oil Foot Soak
Tea tree oil has antiseptic and antifungal properties that can be combined with various salts to make for an effective antifungal foot soak treatment.
It is most commonly used with Epsom salt and sea salt. This creates a super-healing solution that is ideal for tackling toenail fungus and Athlete’s Foot.
The foot soaks can be picked up with some pretty good deals over on Amazon.
- Fill the basin with warm water and add 1 ounce of foot soak (approximately 1 and a half tablespoons).
- Mix with hands until the Salt & Msm dissolve.
- Soak your feet for 15-20 minutes.
- Add additional salts for a more stringent or aromatic foot bath.
Tea tree oil comes with the added benefits that it reduces odour, itching, burning and inflammation.
Curing Toenail Fungus with Foot Soaks
Whatever foot soak you decide on — and you may prefer to sample all three — it’s important to give the solution time to act.
That means treating the infected toes for at least 15 minutes per session, and making it a regular daily habit.
There will be no miracle ‘overnight’ cures, and sadly there are no ‘weird tricks’ that remove fungus while you sleep — although Listerine’s effectiveness is quite unexpected!
Even if you are not suffering from toenail fungus, a foot soak treatment is a great way to unwind and rest your feet at the end of an evening.
It will sooth aches and pains, get rid of dead skin, and help to prevent fungus from spreading in the first place.
The best way to stop toenail fungus is to keep your nails trimmed, your feet clean, ensure your shoes fit well, your socks are breathable, and follow simple preventative measures before it becomes a bigger issue.
A foot soak is a great habit to adopt, and you don’t have to visit a spa to reap the benefits. It is cheap and easy to enjoy at home. It will encourage healthy feet and healthy nails.
Give the solutions above a try and let us know how you get on!
If you have any other toenail fungus foot soak treatments using unexpected ingredients, our readers would love to hear about it in the comments.
Featured image is by Mike Mozart under creative commons.