Nail fungus is an infection that can set in underneath the fingernails or toenails. It is much more common under the toenails, however, because of the ideal environment for fungus growth provided; when wearing shoes and socks, the feet are warm and dark, and this makes it much easier for fungus to grow. Though prescription treatments are available, many people prefer using home remedies for nail fungus, and they are often quite effective.
Nails may have a fungal infection when they appear to thicken or crack; they may also flake and become brittle. The nail will often change color to yellow, brown, or black, and it may be painful when walking. It is best to begin home remedies for nail fungus as soon as the infection appears, before it is able to set in too deeply.
One of the most recommended home remedies for nail fungus is to soak the feet daily in a bath of white vinegar and water. The ratio of vinegar to water should be one to one, and it is generally recommended that one soak the feet for approximately 20 to 30 minutes per session, once or twice a day. After taking the feet out of the water, dry them very thoroughly; if possible, only apply clean cotton socks, but if it is necessary to wear shoes, be sure the feet stay dry throughout the day.
Some of the other more effective home remedies for nail fungus include the application of tea tree oil, rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, or even mouthwash containing alcohol directly onto the affected area. Apply the liquid onto a cotton ball and rub it onto the nail and around the front and sides two to three times daily. It may also be possible to soak the feet in a bath of either rubbing alcohol and water or hydrogen peroxide and water. These products act as antiseptics and anti-fungals, and can clear up the nail fungus in about a month.
Finally, one of the less common home remedies for nail fungus is the use of Vicks® VapoRub®. The menthol salve is applied to the affected area daily, and may help stop the fungus from growing. It generally takes longer than other treatments, however, and for some people it does not work at all. No matter what home remedy is being used, be sure to regularly file the nail to remove any dead areas, and prevent fungus in the future by wearing shoes in public places, giving the feet a chance to breath at home, and by not clipping the nails too close to the skin.