According to figures from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention as many as 3 million people in the United States suffer from a fungal infection of the nail. Some causes of such nail infections include spending too much time in moist environments or suffering an injury in the nail. Risk factors such as a weak immune system, athlete’s foot, diabetes and smoking can increase the chances of a fungal nail infection.
Most people suffer from toe nail fungus than from fingernail fungus because the toes are more exposed to moist and dark environments for a long period of time. Also, given that the blood circulation is usually slower in the feet, our immune system may take longer to fight infections in this part of the body.
Yellowing and cracking of the nails is embarrassing and could worsen if nail fungus is left untreated. There is also the risk of losing the nail altogether. Over the counter or prescription medicines including creams, pills and medicated nail lacquer may not always be effective at fully treating fungus infections. Natural treatments such as apple cider vinegar have proven to deliver better results.
How Apple Cider Vinegar Treats Nail Fungus
Apple cider vinegar increases the level of acidity around the infected nail therefore aiding in balancing the pH levels so that fungus, which grow in an alkaline environment, are no longer able to thrive.Apple cider vinegar has antibacterial and antifungal properties and can therefore eradicate fungus or bacteria and stop reinfection.
Tips for Using Apple Cider Vinegar to Treat Nail Fungus
There are several ways you could use apple cider vinegar to get rid of nail fungus. Remember, this is a natural treatment and does not have any adverse side effects for adults and children.
Apply Apple Cider Vinegar Directly
In addition to soaking your feet or nails, you can apply undiluted apple cider vinegar directly to the infected nail for faster results. You also have the option of diluting if you cannot bear the concentrated vinegar.
- Pour several drops of apple cider vinegar onto the infected nail.
- Allow it to dry.
Drink Apple Cider Vinegar
Another way of extracting the benefits of apple cider vinegar is simply drinking it. Drinking a solution of apple cider vinegar helps to boost the immune system, which in turn gets rid of the infection internally. Here’s what to do:
- Mix 16oz of water with 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar.
- Sip on the solution throughout the day as need.
You may mix the solution with manuka honey for a better taste.
Mix Rice Flour with Apple Cider Vinegar
Rice flour is packed with minerals and can help speed up the healing process of a nail fungal infection. For best results:
- Mix 2 to 3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with coarsely ground rice flour to make a paste.
- Apply the paste directly onto the infected nail and gently scrub to remove the dead skin around the nail.
Do this for a couple of minutes and leave the paste on for an additional few minutes.
- Rinse off the paste using water and then dry the nail.
- Repeat the process often to see results.
Soaking Nails In Apple Cider Vinegar
Soaking your feet or fingers in apple cider vinegar for about 30 minutes every day can deliver great results. To get started, do the following:
- In a bowl that is enough to soak your fingers or feet, mix equal parts of apple cider vinegar and water.
- Completely submerge your fingers and toes in the solution for about 30 minutes.
- Air dry your feet or fingers then use a mixture of tea tree oil and carrier oil to massage your toes or fingers.
For best results:
- Carry out this process about three times daily. Also, alternate the use of cold and warm water for soaking.
- Remember to trim and file down the surface of the nail to allow the nail to fully absorb the vinegar.
- Always prepare a fresh solution each time you want to do the soaking treatment. Soaking and re-soaking in the same solution could slow down the healing process or increase risk of reinfection.
Mix Baking Soda with Apple Cider Vinegar
Baking soda helps to prevent reoccurrence of fungal infections. Here’s how this works:
- Combine 1 cup of water with 1 cup of apple cider vinegar.
- Soak your feet or fingers in the mixture for about 15 minutes.
- Dry your feet or fingers to get rid of any traces of moisture.
- Mix enough water and a couple of spoons of baking soda and soak your nails in this mixture for up to 20 minutes before drying the nails.
- Repeat this process at least twice a day.
Mix Vicks, Peroxide and Antibiotic Cream with Apple Cider Vinegar
Before using this treatment, expose the underlying skin beneath the nail by clipping the nail back a little. To prepare the treatment:
- Mix one full cup of peroxide and apple cider vinegar.
- Using a q-tip, rub this mixture on the affected area.
- Repeat this process thrice a day.
- Apply antibiotic ointment during the day and reapply each time your nails get wet.
- Before going to bed, apply Vicks on the affected area and cover with a Band-Aid.
- Repeat this process every day for fast results.
Mix Listerine with Apple Cider Vinegar
There are several unexpected alternative uses for Listerine and the healing of nail fungus is one of them.
A mixture of Listerine and apple cider vinegar can be used to alleviate nail fungus symptoms such as swelling of the skin around the nail, pain accompanying skin and nail discoloration, and thickening of the nail.
To use this treatment:
- Fill a basin with equal part of Listerine and apple cider vinegar.
- Soak nails for up to 15 minutes before removing.
- Use a small brush to gently scrub the nails and skin around the infected area.
- Thoroughly dry the nails.
Mix Hot Water, Hydrogen Peroxide and Borax With Apple Cider Vinegar
This potent combination will halt the spread of nail fungus and prevent recurrence. For best results:
- Dissolve two tablespoons of Borax in hot water.
- Add a ¼ cup of water, hydrogen peroxide and apple cider vinegar.
- Soak nails in the mixture for up to 45 minutes.
- Rinse nails with water and dry thoroughly.
- Repeat this treatment daily to completely get rid of the infection.
Mix Epsom Salt with Apple Cider Vinegar
Epsom salt has exfoliating properties. When used to get rid of the dead skin on the nails and skin, Epsom salt can help apple cider vinegar to work faster to cure nail fungus. For this treatment:
- Mix 1/3 cup of Epsom salt and apple cider vinegar, and 2 cups of hot water.
- Soak your feet or fingers for about 30 minutes in the mixture.
- Repeat at least twice a day.
Mix Copper Sulfate with Apple Cider
Copper sulfate is packed with antifungal and antiseptic properties, which are helpful in getting rid of fungal infections affecting the nails. For best results:
- Mix 200g of copper sulfate with 40ml apple cider vinegar.
- In a spray bottle, combine this mixture with water and spray on the affected area.
- Allow to dry and repeat this process until the infection clears out.
Best Practices for Using Apple Cider to Get Rid of Nail Fungus
- Apply antifungal powder before wearing soaks and avoid sharing shoes or socks.
- Avoid nail polish and artificial nail products as these can cause fungus to thrive.
- Be sure that your manicurist or pedicurist uses sterilized tools to avoid infecting or re-infecting you with nail fungus.
- Clean your feet thoroughly after visiting public places such as swimming pools, spas, showers.
- Don’t use just any brand of apple cider vinegar; look for the organic type as it contains the unfiltered and core minerals needed to treat fungal infections.
- Feel free to dilute the apple cider vinegar using water if applying the concentrated version is causing adverse reaction.
- If you have a nail fungus infection, stick to open shoes instead of closed ones until the infection is gone.
- In the event the nail falls off in the process of using any of the above treatments, don’t worry as the nail will grow back. It is best to continue with the treatment until a new nail grows; you might need to give it at least 2 months.
- Maintain proper nail hygiene. Use paper towels to dry infected nails during treatment.
- Minimize the amount of sugar you consume as sugar can support fungus growth.
- Prevent the occurrence of nail fungus by adding apple cider vinegar into your daily diet.
- Take extra precaution when treating the nail fungus if you are diabetic or have any diseases that limit the flow of blood to the feet.
- Use a straw when drinking apple cider vinegar to avoid direct contact with the teeth as the vinegar can wear away the enamel.
Please speak with a doctor if you are unable to get rid of nail fungus using apple cider vinegar.