Brittle and discolored nails are very embarrassing and unpleasant to deal with. As per a research, almost 3 million citizens of United States are suffering from nail fungus. Spending a lot of time in the water, moist environments and injured nail are the main reasons for the development of fungus. However, people with diabetes, athletes foot, weak immune system, smoking habit are more prone to it.
Toe nail fungus is more common than fingernail fungus. Why? Due to less blood circulation, it is difficult for our immune system to detect and fight the infection. Prolonged presence of feet in moist and dark environments supports fungi growth.
Commercial treatments like oral antifungal pills, creams, medicated nail polish and removers don’t provide any results. If left untreated, nail fungus may lead to cracking, splitting and even loss of nail. So, it is better to depend on natural solutions like apple cider vinegar.
How Apple Cider Vinegar Cures Nail Fungus
- Fungus thrives in alkaline environments. Apple cider vinegar increases the acidity and balances the pH levels.
- It contains anti-fungal and antibacterial properties which fight off the bacteria or fungus causing the infection and prevent its recurrence.
- The mildly acidic nature prevents the infection from spreading.
How to Use Apple Cider Vinegar to Cure Nail Fungus
Apple cider vinegar is completely safe for both kids and adults. The below mentioned methods using apple cider vinegar cure and prevent nail fungus without any side effects.
1. Apple Cider Vinegar
There are different methods of using apple cider vinegar alone. We have listed them below. You can either follow any one of them or all of them to cure nail fungus.
Process 1: ACV Soak
- Take a bowl enough to soak your feet or fingers.
- Combine equal amounts of apple cider vinegar and water. Make sure the solution is enough to submerge your toes or fingers.
- Soak for 30 minutes and pat dry with a soft towel.
- Let the feet or fingers air dry completely to get rid of any leftover moisture.
- Massage the toes for a few minutes with a mixture of tea tree oil and any other carrier oil.
- Repeat the process not more than 4 times a day.
- For best results, use warm and cold water alternatively for soaking.
Things to Remember
- For effective vinegar treatment, trim your nails and file down the top surface to make it as thin as possible before soaking. This helps the vinegar to penetrate below the nail and work effectively.
- Never soak in the same solution twice: It is not advisable to use the same solution for multiple soaking. Once you have soaked, the water gets contaminated. Soaking in contaminated water doesn’t yield any results or slows down the healing process.
Process 2: Direct Application of ACV
This process can be used after soaking or anytime in a day. As ACV is not diluted, it provides more effective results. If you cannot withstand direct ACV application, then dilute it with few drops.
- Pour few drops of apple cider vinegar directly on the infected nail.
- Let it dry completely.
- Repeat the application at least 2 times a day.
Process 3: Consuming ACV
Drinking diluted apple cider vinegar provides strengthens your immune system which helps in fighting off the infection from inside.
- Add 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar into 16oz of water.
- Drink the solution throughout the day.
- You can refrigerate the solution and drink a glass of it whenever you want.
Note: If you are not able to withstand the taste of apple cider vinegar then you can add 1 teaspoon of manuka honey for added taste.
2. Apple Cider Vinegar with Rice Flour
- Combine 2 – 3 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar and enough rice flour (coarsely ground) to make a paste.
- Apply the paste on the infected nail and gently scrub to exfoliate accumulated dead skin.
- After scrubbing for few minutes, leave the application for another few minutes.
- Rinse off with water and dry the nail thoroughly.
- Repeat the process regularly.
- Optional: You can apply anti-fungal ointment.
3. Apple Cider Vinegar with Baking Soda
- Mix 1 cup apple cider vinegar with 1 cup water.
- Soak the infected nail(s) in the mixture for 10 – 15 minutes.
- Remove from the solution and pat dry thoroughly.
- Now, Mix several tablespoons of baking soda into enough water to soak the nails.
- After drying the nail thoroughly, soak your nails in diluted baking soda.
- After 15 – 20 minutes, remove and pat dry thoroughly using a paper towel.
- Repeat this process 2 times in a day.
- Note: Apple cider vinegar will kill fungus and baking soda will inhibit future fungal growth.
4. Apple Cider Vinegar with Epsom Salt
Epsom salt gently exfoliates the skin and nail which helps the healing properties of apple cider vinegar to work more effectively and quickly.
- Combine 1/3 cup each of apple cider vinegar and Epsom salt and 2 cups of hot water.
- Stir well and soak your toes or fingers for 30 minutes.
- Repeat the process 1 – 2 times daily.
Note: The longer your soak, the better results you achieve.
5. Apple Cider Vinegar with Listerine
This process can be used daily for light to moderate symptoms like white spots on the nails and slight discoloration. It should be used 2 times a day for moderate symptoms like thickening of the nail, swelling of the surrounding skin, pain and dark discoloration.
- Fill a basin by adding equal amounts of apple cider vinegar and Listerine.
- Stir well and soak the nails for 10 – 15 minutes.
- Remove the nail(s) from the soak.
- Using a toothbrush, gently scrub the nails and surrounding skin.
- Dry the nail(s) completely.
6. Apple Cider Vinegar, Borax, Hydrogen Peroxide, and Hot Water
- Add 2 tablespoons of Borax to hot water and let it dissolve.
- Now, add 1/4 cup each of apple cider vinegar, water and hydrogen peroxide (3%).
- Stir well and soak the nail(s) for 30 – 45 minutes.
- Remove from the solution, rinse off with water and pat dry thoroughly.
- Repeat the process daily until the infection is cleared.
7. Apple Cider Vinegar with Copper Sulfate
Copper sulfate contains antiseptic and antifungal properties which fight off the fungus on the nails.
- Combine 40ml apple cider vinegar and 20gms of copper sulfate.
- Mix well and pour the mixture into 1-liter spray bottle and fill it with water.
- Spray the solution on the affected nail(s).
- Let it dry completely.
- Repeat the process regularly.
8. Apple Cider Vinegar, Peroxide, Vicks and Antibiotic Ointment
- Clip the nail back a little in the affected area just enough to show a little bit of underlying skin.
- Combine 1 cap full of apple cider vinegar and peroxide.
- Dip a q-tip in the mixture and rub it on the affected area.
- Note: It may fizz a little bit but it reduces in few minutes.
- Repeat the application 3 times a day.
- During the day time, rub some antibiotic ointment.
- Reapply whenever your nails would get wet.
- At night, apply Vicks vapor rub and secure it with a Band-Aid. Make sure the band aid is not too tight.
- Repeat this process daily. You will see the results in few days.
Tips and Precautions:
- Use organic, unfiltered and unpasteurized apple cider vinegar that contains the Mother element for effective results.
- If the application of ACV or soaking in ACV is causing any unbearable irritation, dilute it with some water.
- Apple cider vinegar can wear away the enamel so it is advised to drink it using a straw.
- Including ACV in daily diet also helps to treat and prevent nail fungus.
- Sometimes the nail may fall off while using the remedies. But don’t worry; a new will grows very soon in its place.
- Continue application of ACV until a new grows out completely. This usually takes up to 2 months.
- Whenever you visit a salon for pedicure or manicure, make sure the staff uses only sterilized tools. Tools like emery boards, nail clippers can spread the nail fungus.
- Trim the infected nail regularly.
- Never use same towels to pat dry the affected nail. It is better to use paper towels.
- Wash your feet whenever come back from public places like locker rooms, showers, spas and swimming pools.
- It is better to use flip flops instead of shoes until the nail fungus is completely gone.
- Before wearing socks, make sure to apply some antifungal powder.
- Avoid sharing socks or shoes and wearing tight footwear.
- People with diabetes, peripheral vascular disease or any other systemic disease that restricts blood flow to feet should take some caution while attempting to kill the fungus.
- Avoid putting nail polish and artificial fingers as they create a moist environment which encourages the fungus.
- Reduce sugar intake as it encourages fungus growth.
- If the above remedies don’t work then please consult a doctor.
Have your tried ACV for treating nail fungus earlier? Do you know any other method that works better than the above mentioned? Share your experiences, suggestions and queries in the comments section below.