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How to Get Rid of Foot and Toe Fungus

Updated on May 27, 2013

Foot and toenail fungus isn't any fun to deal with. Not only can it be irritating, itchy, and uncomfortable, it can also cause embarrassment and even smelly. However, you can get rid of it. It doesn't have to take a ton of time, money, or effort and can be done with over the counter options or with home remedies (the choice is yours).

Identifying a Problem

While a doctor can easily diagnose a problem of athletes foot (fungal infection of the foot) or toenail fungus, us at home have a little harder problem doing so. However, it doesn't have to be overly hard. Here are the symptoms of each infection, though you may only be experiencing a few of them at a time.

Athlete's foot-Not always an ailment of athlete's this is a fungus problem of the skin of the feet. It includes dry, itchy, flaky, scaly, inflamed, cracked, and or burning skin. It can also include blisters, redness, and even bleeding. It is often accompanied by an odor problem.

Toe nail fungus- Often times this ailment is fairly easy to recognize. It gets worse as time goes on so it is best if treated early with only a few symptoms. It includes thick and brittle nails. They are often discolored and can be yellow, brown, green, and even black. Over time the nails often become mishapped and separate from the nail bed. A bad odor is often present with this condition as well.

You may have one condition or both. If you are unsure you can seek the advice of a doctor for a quick and easy diagnosis as well as some advice as to how to get rid of it and your treatment options. Be aware that most treatments take months (even prescription options) to be fully effective. You should also take care never to get it again.

Tips For Prevention

A fungus growth on the body such as athletes foot or toe nail fungus is usually the result of moisture and warm temperatures. Whether you have the problem now, are worried about getting it, or have had it in the past, a few good tips for preventing the problem can make a world of difference in your life.

  • Choose your shoes with care. You want shoes that fit, but you don't want them to be too tight. It is also good if they are made of natural materials such as cotton and leather which are more likely to breathe and let moisture out then man made materials. Whenever possible avoid waterproof options or waterproofing substances that are made to protect the shoe.
  • Choose your socks with care. Whenever possible choose white cotton socks. These will absorb moisture best, keep your feet as cool as possible, and make it less likely to develop an issue. If you have to have colored socks (such as dress socks) choose something thin and aim for cotton rather then man made materials such as nylon or polyester.
  • Keep your feet and nails clean. This may seem silly, but your feet are an easy place that takes a lot of abuse. You will want to scrub your feet and nails with a soft bristled brush to get rid of sweat, dirt, bacteria, and fungus. Make sure you get between each toe and do a good job at least once a day (preferably before bed).
  • Keep your feet dry. This can be hard but dry feet are much more likely to be healthy feet. Dry with a towel after your shower. If this isn't enough use a blow dryer and make sure you get your nails and between each toe. It is important to dry after your shower and any foot soaks you do. You should also change your socks often if they get moist during the day.
  • Keep your nails groomed. You should cut your toe nails short and straight across. This will help prevent nail infections and help you get rid of a nail infection if you have one. It is also a good idea to file them to remove sharp or rough edges and to help get rid of as much infected toe nail as possible.
  • Keep your tools clean. You work hard at cleaning the fungus away from your toes and feet, but if it gets on your tools you could lose the battle. Rinse your tools off in hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol after you are done using them on your feet. 
  • Watch where your feet go. Going barefoot is a bad idea, especially in public locker rooms or other locations where water and feet mix. Get a pair of shower shoes to protect your feet. It is also a bad idea to share your shoes or to wear other people's shoes.
  • Powder your shoes. There are several anti-fungal powders on the market. These can kill fungus in its tracks and help keep your feet dry. Use them generously in your shoes and to powder your feet before and after you put them in your shoes. Need to save money? Pick up baking soda, it isn't quite as good, but will still keep you dry and help prevent issues!

Over The Counter Options

If you go to the foot care aisle at your local store you will find a number of different aids that can help you get rid of foot fungus and toe nail fungus. Here are a few tips on finding products to fit your needs.

  1. Sprays- For athlete's foot an easy to use option is a foot spray. It allows you to get between the toes and make sure you get everywhere the fungus is. Make sure you find one that is an "anti-fungal" and not just one that is made to provide relief for the discomforts of the problem.
  2. Powders- There are a variety of powders out there that are anti-fungals. Some claim to clear up both athlete's foot and toe nail fungus. The truth of the matter is that these are good options for adding to your regimen, but shouldn't be your regimen. They are good to add to your shoes, sprinkle on your feet, and to help get rid of and keep fungus away. However, depending on these products for the whole of care will probably leave you sad and without a fix.
  3. Creams- There are a few different creams out there. Most of these are good. Remember to give it time to work and to follow the directions. You will need to be faithful to apply to the infected area several times a day. Consider using this product with another one.
  4. Liquids- Liquids are particularly good for nail infections. They let you apply the treatment right to the nail and nail bed. It is still going to take a long time and you are going to have to be very faithful in your treatment. However, over time it can work.

Remember that whatever you choose it will take time. You have to be faithful to it and keep it up. Getting rid of the fungus early will make it much easier for you. After all, it only gets worse with more painful symptoms.

Home Remedies

When it comes to healing the issues of foot and toe nail fungus often home remedies make it a lot easier to get rid of them. You can choose to combine them in whatever fashion as you desire. While it is still going to take time and commitment, it is less likely to take as much time if you follow some of the home remedies.

  1. Foot soaks- There are several foot soak options that make for great fungus killers. The things you need to know is that you want to soak your feet for 15 minutes or more. The water should be warm. When you are done make sure you dry your feet really well. This could mean using a blow dryer as well. Your options for foot soaks include apple cider vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, Listerine, Epsom salts, rubbing alcohol, or a combination of the ingredients. Most are recommended to be diluted about 1/2 water to 1/2 of the treatment option of your choice.
  2. Anti-fungal soaps- It is a good idea to use an anit-fungal soap whenever you wash your feet. You should do this at least once a day, but more is a good option as well.
  3. Direct application- There are several products that help get rid of both types of fungus. You can apply it directly. If treating nail fungus make sure you get the nail, under the nail, and as much of the nail bed as possible. Options for direct application include: tea tree oil, vitamin E oil, and Vicks VapoRub. Multiple applications each day can elp a great deal.

It is a good idea to use all three of these methods together creating a daily regimen. Additionally you should follow the tips in the prevention section. This will help you get rid of it and keep it gone!

Taking care of foot fungus and toe nail fungus is best to do as soon as you know you have a problem. There are lots of options and many of them are inexpensive. Your feet are important and you don't want to wait till they are in a lot of pain to take care of the problem. However, they can still be treated if they are already in a lot of pain! Get started today for relief tomorrow.


Submit a Comment

  • yoginijoy profile image


    5 years ago from Mid-Atlantic, USA

    I will definitely try some of these with my husband. He has a perenially problem with fungus and usually waits a long time to treat it. Perhaps with this information I can get him to start a routine care regimen. Thank you!

  • profile image


    6 years ago

    I have had great success with applying Oil of Oregano on and in between my toes. The 1 oz bottle of oil comes with a dropper, so I put a little around the cuticle and sides of the nail, some under the nail, and then a little in between each toe. I have also taken the Oil of Oregano capsules daily, which are also great for overall immune support. I prefer the Supercritical extracts, which are sold in both the 1 oz bottles of liquid and in capsule form. This runs me about $15-20 per month (definitely buy them online. I find the best prices on Amazon.), but this has been the only thing that has worked for me, especially on the toenail fungus.

  • profile image


    7 years ago

    Thank for the information, I feel ready to battle back lol, I feel well informed. Thanks again :)


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