3 Simple Home Remedies for Clean Toes
Toenail fungus can cause painful, itchy and brittle nails, and it flourishes in damp and warm environments like shoes. Toenail fungus is quite contagious, so it can easily be picked up from any environment. Though it might be uncomfortable, catching toenail fungus does not have to be a lengthy affliction.
Home remedies are a highly effective way of getting rid of toenail fungus in just a few weeks. These home remedies may halt fungal growth and kill off existing fungus.
What Is Toenail Fungus?
Technically referred to as onychomycosis, nail fungus is a condition that occurs when certain types of harmful fungus grow along the nail bed. When this happens, the nails will begin to thicken and look discolored or deformed. The nails may appear to be dark yellow, white or brown. The fungus may start as a small dot of discoloration that gradually grows larger. People may notice that their nails seem brittle or crumbly, and the area around the nails may look inflamed. In some cases, there may be foul odors or foot pain, and the affected areas may get quite itchy. As it grows, the fungus can cause the nail to separate from the nail bed and fall off.
If left untreated, nail fungus can cause permanent damage. Some people with chronic nail fungus end up losing the ability to grow healthy nails altogether because their nail bed is so damaged. The fungus can also spread along the skin and other nails, resulting in swollen, cracked skin that is greatly at risk for infection. Over time, nail fungus can become a serious condition that could potentially cause dangerous infections to spread throughout the body. Therefore, it is very important to treat it promptly instead of ignoring it and waiting for it to go away.
Where Does Toenail Fungus Come From?
In order to actually get rid of toenail fungus, it is helpful to understand the underlying causes of fungus. Most types of nail fungus are caused by the dermatophyte fungi, but other types of fungal organisms, molds and yeasts can also be involved. These types of organisms grow best when they are in a warm, damp environment, so people who sweat a lot in close-toed shoes are more likely to develop nail fungus. The condition is so common among athletes that some people refer to it as "athlete's foot."
Since nail fungus can spread easily, people often get it by walking barefoot through communal gyms and shower rooms or wearing shoes that a person with nail fungus wore. Not everyone who is exposed to nail fungus will necessarily get a bad infection; a healthy body can often fight off the fungus. A person is more likely to end up with a lot of fungal overgrowths if their immune system is weakened. This means that nail fungus is far more common in those who are elderly, have diabetes or have poor circulation.
What Are Treatments for Toenail Fungus?
The first step to approaching nail fungus should be regularly cleaning the feet, drying them thoroughly and avoiding wearing close-toed shoes or damp socks. Since the fungus spreads so easily, a person should always wash their hands thoroughly after touching the affected area.
All of these steps should help slow the growth of the fungus, but a person will also need to remove the fungus that currently exists on their toenails. There are several ways to get rid of fungus, including anti-fungal nail powders and creams, but natural remedies can be just as effective. These recipes can help fight nail fungus without requiring any harsh chemicals.
Coconut Oil Treatment
This is one of the quickest and simplest methods for dealing with a toenail fungus. It might seem simple, but it is highly effective because coconut oil is anti-fungal. The fatty acids in coconut oil penetrate the membranes around fungal cells, causing the cell to disintegrate. Coconut oil contains lauric acid and caprylic acid, which are toxic to fungi but completely safe for humans. Follow this method to get rid of toenail fungus.
- Wash feet with the soap and water and let them dry.
- Rub a pea-sized amount of coconut oil into all affected areas. Be sure to wash hands between touching the toenail fungus and touching the jar of coconut oil.
- If the fungus is particularly bad, wrap gauze around the oil-covered toe and cover with an adhesive bandage to keep the coconut oil in constant contact with the toenail.
- Repeat the process of covering all affected areas with coconut oil at least twice a day.
- Wash hands with soap and water to avoid spreading the fungus after touching it.
Tea Tree and Orange Oil Rub Treatment
One of the best ways of dealing with toenail fungus is tea tree oil. This oil comes from an Australian plant that has been used as a traditional way of fighting off infections for centuries. It is a natural fungicide with a lot of helpful anti-bacterial properties. This method combines tea tree oil with orange oil, which is another helpful anti-fungal oil. Because it is so strong, it is a good idea to dilute the essential oils with a more neutral carrier oil. This treatment leaves the feet smelling great, and it can get rid of toenail fungus very rapidly.
- Combine all three types of oil in a small bowl and stir it until combined.
- Dip the cotton ball into the tea tree and orange oil mixture and gently press it against the nail.
- Let the liquid drip over the affected area and let it air-dry.
- Repeat this treatment each morning and evening until the toenail fungus is gone.
Baking Soda and Vinegar Soak Treatment
This method combines two different effective methods to create one helpful way to fight off toenail fungus. The vinegar soak is helpful because apple cider vinegar is a mildly acidic solution that has a slightly more acidic pH than healthy human skin. Most of the types of fungus that cause nail fungus require an alkaline environment to grow. Therefore, the apple cider vinegar will create an acidic environment that inhibits the fungus. The baking soda does not kill the fungus directly like the vinegar does, but it helps to cut back on odor and keep the fungus from spreading.
- Combine the apple cider vinegar with enough water to cover feet in the large basin.
- Soak the feet for 15 minutes and gently dry.
- Pour out basin and mix the baking soda into fresh water until thoroughly dissolved.
- Soak feet for 15 more minutes.
- Pat feet dry and allow to further air-dry before putting shoes back on.
- Repeat twice a day until the toenail fungus is gone.