Black Toenail Fungus Treatment: 7 Simple Home Remedies That Work

Black toenail is a common injury where blood gets underneath your toenail. It is quite common among runners. Repetitive trauma to the nail while running is a cause of blue or black toenail syndrome.

In some cases, black toenail fungus is painless. But what people find alarming about this condition is its problematic appearance.

The good news is, you do not need to worry too much about black toenails; we assure you that this condition is treatable. This article will share with you some safe and easy home remedy treatments for black toenail fungus.

People who walk barefoot are are more likely to get these fungal infections, especially those whose feet tend to sweat excessively. In a nutshell, it is the sweat that creates the humid environment that bacteria thrive in.

Causes of Black Toenail Fungus

photo by shira gal

Black toenail fungus is also known as onychomycosis, an infection caused by microscopic fungal spores. In the medical field, these spores are called dermatophytes, which thrive under the toenails.

These fungal spores flourish in damp areas and affect the skin. They live under the nail bed and feed on the keratin (a substance that makes up the toenail). The fungus carries away the keratin, making the entire toenail black and smelly.

If the toenail section is regularly exposed to a warm and humid environment, it becomes a prospective area for the development of black toenail fungus. A fungus-friendly environment likely exists due to:

  • Cutting nails too short. Trim nails properly all around, including the corners.
  • Excessive sweating of the feet. Seek medical assistance if you experience this.
  • Wearing socks and boots for too long. It is recommended that you do not wear the same pair of shoes for two days in a row. Wash socks and footwear regularly.
  • Wearing tight shoes, which causes the feet to sweat more than usual. Instead, wear breathable and protective footwear.
  • Spending time in public pools and beaches.
  • Walking barefoot on dirty surfaces. Avoid walking or running barefoot.
  • Experiencing trauma or injury.
  • Abnormal pH level of the skin.
  • Sharing personal hygiene products with others. While it is good to be a caring person, avoid sharing personal items for the sake of your health.
  • Not drying your feet after bathing.

A fungal toenail infection may cause:

  • Flaking and crumbling nails
  • Increased nail thickness
  • Nail discoloration
  • Unpleasant odor

These may appear to be unserious symptoms but they actually require immediate attention. These are just the visual symptoms that may indicate or lead to more serious health issues. Your feet may be struck with an intense pain while walking. The fungus may also cause some serious infections.

photo by Dave Herholz

Black Toenail Fungus Treatment

Before we discuss the treatments, take note of the following first:

  • If the black portion is larger than 25 percent of your toenail, see a podiatrist immediately. Cautery therapy will be performed, and this will alleviate the pain and may actually save your toenail.
  • If you have an acute injury and your toenail is actively bleeding, go to the nearest emergency room or podiatrist to have it examined. You may have a laceration on the nail bed and it will have to be treated by a specialist.
  • If the nail is so damaged that you even have a toe fracture, seek professional help right away.
  • It is not recommended to heat up a paper clip and put it through your nail by yourself.
  • Using a drill bit to drill through the nail by yourself is also not recommended. This can cause serious damage and infection to your toe. It is best to seek professional treatment and care.

In less severe cases, black toenail fungus can be treated and prevented quite easily. Generally, simply having good personal hygiene and applying a few home remedies will be enough to solve the problem.

However, if the condition persists, do not hesitate to contact your physician. Some home remedies that you can do are:

1. Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil is a natural fungicide that can help kill the fungus in the toenail. It is considered to be the best onychomycosis treatment.

  • Mix equal parts tea tree, thyme, and olive oils.
  • Apply the mixture on the entire toenail. Leave on for at least 10-15 minutes.
  • Gently scrub the affected area with a brush. This will help the mixture get absorbed more easily as well as remove the upper layer of the toenail which contains most of the fungi spores. 
  • Wash the toenail properly and pat dry with a clean towel.
  • Apply this treatment for a few weeks to completely eliminate any residual fungi.

2. Apple Cider Vinegar

photo by Mike Mozart

Apple cider vinegar is an excellent remedy for getting rid of black toenail fungus. It is a mild acid that extirpates fungal growth.

  • Mix equal parts warm water and apple cider vinegar in a tub.
  • Soak your feet in the tub for at least 15 minutes.
  • Rinse and dry off.
  • Alternatively, you can make a thick paste by adding some apple cider vinegar to rice flour.
  • Apply the paste on the affected area and leave on for 15 minutes.
  • Wash and dry the area afterwards.

3. Lavender Oil

Lavender oil is a natural antibiotic that can help treat black toenails quickly and efficiently.

  • Soak a cotton ball in lavender oil.
  • Dab the cotton ball underneath the toenail and wrap it with a bandage.
  • Wait at least 40 minutes before cleaning the area.
  • Repeat two to three times a day for a few weeks.

4. Oregano Oil

Oregano oil is an antibacterial, antifungal, and antiseptic.

  • Mix two drops of oregano oil in one teaspoon of olive oil.
  • Apply the mixture on the affected area and wait at least 15 minutes.
  • Wash and dry the area thoroughly.
  • Continue applying this remedy for at least three weeks to completely eliminate the infection.

5. Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is an excellent treatment for black toenail fungus.

  • Mix equal parts hydrogen peroxide and water.
  • Soak the foot with the black toenail for at least 20 minutes.
  • Do not forget to dry off.
  • Repeat at least twice a day for a few weeks.

6. AHA Cream

Some creams contain alpha hydroxy acid, which is great in countering fungal growth. Apply the cream at night just before going to bed. It will smoothen rough skin and prevent fungi spores from thriving.

7. Protective Footwear

If you work in a dangerous environment, wear a Class 75 safety shoe to protect your toes from potential injury. Make sure that you have enough room in the toe box. You do not want your toes to be rubbing against the inside of your shoe all day.

While it’s good to know the different ways to treat black toenail fungus, it’s more important to have good personal hygiene.

The home treatments mentioned above will not be as effective if you do not keep yourself healthy and clean. The fungus may even keep returning.

Remember, seek medical attention if the condition persists and home remedies are not working. You could lose your toenail if the situation gets worse. We hope you found this article informative and helpful.