Nail fungus may grow in the nail bed on both the fingernails and the toenails. Fungus grows in dark, moist areas and may grow under the nails after you use public showers and swimming pools, says the Mayo Clinic. Additionally, toenail fungus may be caused by wearing synthetic socks or wearing the same pair of shoes over and over. In some cases, you can reduce fungus naturally with home remedies.
Soaking the nails in vinegar may be effective in reducing some cases of toenail or fingernail fungus, according to the Mayo Clinic. Although it may not be effective in all cases, the home remedy is inexpensive and may be worth a try. Soak your feet or hands for 15 to 20 minutes in a solution of one part vinegar and two parts warm water once a day. If the vinegar causes skin irritation, add more water to the solution or reduce soaking to three or four times a week.
Trim nails short; the lifting of a long nail from its bed can give fungus access to the nail bed. To keep fungus from spreading, keep nails trimmed as close to the nail bed as possible. Do not cut your cuticles, says podiatrist James Graham, D.P.M. Removing the cuticles can create an easy entrance for fungus, which can rapidly spread to the rest of the nail. Wash your hands and the nail scissors or clippers thoroughly with antibacterial soap and water after trimming your nails to keep the fungus from spreading.
Use a nail brush to exfoliate the skin around the nails, recommends Richard L. Dobson, M.D., professor of dermatology at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston. Fungus attaches itself to dead skin cells and will spread rapidly to the nails. Scrub away dead skin cells using antibacterial soap and water each day; then rinse with cool water. Wash the scrub brush after using it to prevent fungus from growing on the brush.