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Vinegar Soak for Toenail Fungus

author image Megan Smith
Megan Smith has been a freelance writer and editor since 2006. She writes about health, fitness, travel, beauty and grooming topics for various print and Internet publications. Smith earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in writing from New York University.
Vinegar Soak for Toenail Fungus
Soak the feet in vinegar to reduce nail fungus. Photo Credit Feet image by Serenitie from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</a>

If your toenails are thick, crumbling and yellow, white or black in color, you may have a fungal infection on the nails, according to MayoClinic.com. Soaking the foot in vinegar is an old home remedy to reduce nail fungus. Its antifungal properties may help vinegar cure your toenails. If your doctor approves, you can try vinegar to help reduce fungus.


Soaking the feet in vinegar for approximately 20 minutes in one part vinegar and three parts water may help reduce the growth of fungus on the nail, recommends MayoClinic.com. Soak your feet every day until the nail fungus is completely gone. Rinse your feet and toes with water and dry your toenails completely after soaking. Fungus grows in wet, warm environments, so keep your feet as dry as possible at all times.


Vinegar has antifungal properties and may completely destroy fungal infections, according to Kathi Keville in her book "Herbs for Health and Healing." She recommends combining 4 oz. vinegar, 2 tbsp. pau d'arco tincture, 1/8 tsp. peppermint essential oil, 1/4 tsp. tea tree oil and 1/4 tsp. lavender essential oil. Soak a cloth in the mixture. Apply the cloth directly to your afflicted toenail three times a day.


Vinegar may also be effective in treating foot fungus, or athlete's foot, and fungus of the fingernails. Vinegar is an acidic substance and may cause skin irritation, especially if you are soaking your feet in vinegar every day. If the vinegar causes skin irritation, soak your feet three times a week, dilute the mixture with water or soak your feet for 15 minutes instead of 20.

Expert Insight

There is no evidence that suggests vinegar may help reduce nail fungus, according to MayoClinic.com, but it may inhibit the growth of bacteria on the feet. Soaking with vinegar is a home remedy that may not work for everyone, particularly if your toenail fungus is severe. Over-the-counter and prescription treatments may take a long time to be effective, so vinegar may be worth trying while you're waiting for other treatments to work as long as it's OK with your doctor.


In some cases, nail fungus may be so severe that toenail removal is the only effective treatment. Once the toenail is removed, there is a chance the nail may not grow back. Get prescription treatment from a doctor immediately if you have health problems like diabetes or AIDS, or you've had an organ transplant, because toenail fungus may spread more quickly and turn into a serious illness. In these cases, do not use vinegar as a home remedy.

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