Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is one of the most popular home remedies for getting rid of toenail fungus. It has natural antifungal properties that can prevent toenail fungus from spreading. There are many ways to use this treatment, but one of the best is an apple cider vinegar foot soak.
The wonderful thing about apple cider vinegar is that it can be used both inside and outside the body. Some people drink it in a solution with water to kill candida (yeast) within the body. It can also be applied topically to kill the yeast associated with toenail fungus.
The critical thing to remember when you’re trying to get rid of toenail fungus with apple cider vinegar is that it must be used correctly. Using it the right way (a foot soak) can help to speed up the healing process and get rid of fungus right at its core.
Table of Contents:
- 1 How Do I Soak My Feet in Apple Cider Vinegar for Fungus?
- 1.1 Does Apple Cider Vinegar for Toenail Fungus Really Work?
- 1.2 How to Prepare for a Foot Soak
- 1.3 How Long Does Apple Cider Vinegar Take to Kill Fungus?
- 1.4 What Are the Side Effects and Risks?
- 1.5 Apple Cider Vinegar vs. White Vinegar
- 1.6 Apple Cider Vinegar and Baking Soda for Toenail Fungus
- 1.7 What Can Be Added to an Apple Cider Vinegar Foot Soak?
- 1.8 Can You Put Apple Cider Vinegar on Your Toenails?
- 1.9 Read Our Latest Posts:
How Do I Soak My Feet in Apple Cider Vinegar for Fungus?
We will provide a step-by-step guide on how to use an apple cider vinegar foot soak to get rid of toenail fungus. It’s one of the best home remedies for toenail fungus and athlete’s foot.
It’s inexpensive, safe to use, and when you put it in a foot soak, it can even be a relaxing experience. You can even use your own electric foot spa machine to enhance the therapeutic benefits.
Along with showing you how to use an apple cider vinegar soak, we’ll explain the key differences between ACV and regular vinegar. We’ll also cover what you can expect when you use this treatment. That includes how long it takes to work and the possible side effects.
Does Apple Cider Vinegar for Toenail Fungus Really Work?
Apple cider vinegar has grown in popularity for treating different health problems, such as toenail fungus and athlete’s foot. But how effective is it compared to other antifungal home remedies?
- Not only does apple cider vinegar have antifungal properties, but it can help to restore the pH balance of the nail and surrounding skin. When you get a toenail fungus, the nail itself can become more alkaline. A fungus grows and multiplies in an alkaline environment. It creates the ideal situation for fungal spores to grow and spread to other toes/nails.
When you use apple cider vinegar for toenail fungus, you create a more acidic, less favorable environment. When the environment turns acidic, the fungus can’t survive. Because it has nothing to feed on to grow, it eventually dies out.
Fungus needs to be able to thrive in its environment in order to keep spreading. That’s why it loves dark, moist areas like toenails that are often trapped inside shoes. The acidic environment created by the vinegar prevents the fungus from spreading or returning.
Apple cider vinegar is one of the only acidic solutions that can be used in this away. That’s because it’s strong enough to kill a mild fungal infection but gentle enough not to harm your nails or skin. As far as natural home remedies are concerned, ACV is arguably one of the more effective.
How to Prepare for a Foot Soak
Though foot baths can be soothing and relaxing, that isn’t the purpose of a foot soak for toenail fungus. You want to make sure you’re getting as much as possible from each soak.
Wash your feet and toenails thoroughly before cutting your toenails. When the nail is trimmed, the ACV has more chance of reaching the fungal spores under the nails. Use your own thick toenail clippers to get the best results.
Use only 100% pure and natural ACV. Some apple cider vinegar that you find in grocery stores has already been diluted. The ACV you use should be unfiltered and contain something called ‘the mother’ (this is a colony of beneficial bacteria) for you to see better results.
Maximize the effects of your foot soak from the inside out. If you can handle the taste, you should drink a capful of ACV in a cup of water each day. This will help to boost your immune system.
Quick Step-by-Step Guide
Foot soaks are one of the best ways to fight toenail fungus. This is because by submerging your feet, you’re allowing the treatment to get underneath the nail. That’s where the fungus lives and grows. If a treatment option can get underneath the nail, it can attack the fungus more directly.
Since you’re submerging all your toes in a treatment solution, a foot soak is also great for preventing the spread of toenail fungus.
There are many different types of foot soaks you can try. An ACV soak is one of the easiest to create, and it works well.
Follow this step-by-step guide to make a foot soak at home:
- In a large basin or foot bath, add 2-4 cups of water.
- Add an equal amount of apple cider vinegar. You want to make sure the solution will completely cover your feet.
- Gently stir the two liquids together in the foot bath.
- Submerge clean, dry feet into the solution.
- Soak for 15-20 minutes.
- After the time has passed, dry your feet thoroughly.
- Repeat up to two times each day.
You can soak your feet in apple cider vinegar for up to 30 minutes a day to see positive effects. So, you can split your foot soaks into three ten-minute sessions, two fifteen-minute sessions, or one long session. It’s important to make it work for your schedule so you’ll stick to it as a treatment option.
The other important thing about this foot soak is to make sure your feet are completely dry afterward. Moisture is a toenail fungus’ best friend. Letting any moisture gets trapped underneath the nail bed can create the perfect environment for a fungus to continue to thrive.
As you can see, with just a few simple ingredients and 30 minutes a day, preparing an apple cider vinegar foot soak is an easy DIY solution for a fungal infection.
How Long Does Apple Cider Vinegar Take to Kill Fungus?
As with any toenail fungus treatment, how long ACV takes to work will much depend on the severity of the fungal infection. If you managed to catch your toenail fungus quickly and started to treat it, it may only take a few weeks for it to go away.
But, if you’ve been living with toenail fungus for a long time, it could take several weeks or even months for it to be gone entirely. A good rule of thumb to remember is that since your toenail fungus didn’t get severe overnight, it also won’t go away overnight. You’ll have to wait for the infected part of your nail to grow out. Because everyone’s toenails grow at a different rate, there is no one concrete answer on how long this will take.
The most important thing to remember is that you keep using ACV as a treatment until the fungus is completely gone. After a few weeks, you may start to notice that your symptoms have become less severe. That’s a good sign, but it doesn’t mean the infection is completely gone.
Unfortunately, toenail fungus can be quite relentless. Unless it is completely killed off, it can come back quickly. If you stop treatment too early, you put yourself at risk for the infection returning. Then, you’ll have to start the treatment process over.
It can be frustrating having to wait for a toenail fungus to clear up completely. But, following this ACV treatment every single day will help with the process and will keep the infection from spreading.
What Are the Side Effects and Risks?
One of the primary reasons people use apple cider vinegar is because it’s safe. But, there are things to keep in mind when you’re using it. Remember, ACV is considered an acidic solution. Using it the wrong way may trigger adverse side effects for some people.
Don’t soak your feet in vinegar for too long. Try not to go over 30 minutes each day. The acidity of the apple cider vinegar is good for getting rid of toenail fungus.
But, if your skin is exposed to it for too long each day, you might experience things like:
People who have sensitive skin may be more susceptible to these side effects. If you do experience any of these things, try diluting the vinegar solution with more water. If irritation continues, you should cease treatment and ask your doctor about alternatives.
Another slight drawback to using ACV on your feet regularly is the smell. Some people are more sensitive to the smell than others. It may linger on your feet for a little while after each soak, but rinsing your feet and drying them off should cause most of the strong smell to fade away.
There are also precautions you should take. First, never use the same soaking solution more than once. Once you’ve soaked your feet in a water/ACV solution for any length of time, discard that solution and wash out the basin or foot bath you used.
A fungus can live on surfaces for weeks. Even though vinegar creates an acidic environment for it, there could still be lingering remnants of the fungus within the soak. Start fresh with clean water and new ACV every time you soak your feet.
Second, you should be cautious if you have circulatory issues. People with diabetes, for example, need to take extra care in the treatment they’re using. If you have any cracks or cuts on your feet, an ACV soak may irritate your skin. It’s important that you follow the diluting method and never soak your feet longer than what is recommended.
Apple Cider Vinegar vs. White Vinegar
You might already have white vinegar in your home, but not apple cider vinegar. So, what’s the difference? Can you use white vinegar to get rid of toenail fungus? Yes, and you can use white vinegar in a similar way to treat toenail fungus. But, it may not work as quickly as apple cider vinegar.
The main difference between these types of vinegar is that one is made from grain alcohol and one is made from apples. They are both acidic, so when you use them on toenail fungus, it creates a harsh environment for the fungal infection to grow.
But, apple cider vinegar edges out white vinegar just a bit. It contains several antioxidants. It also has more vitamins and minerals than white distilled vinegar. Because ACV can also benefit your system when you ingest it, it’s more commonly used for health and wellness than white vinegar.
You can soak your feet in a white vinegar solution if you have toenail fungus. It will offer similar results to apple cider vinegar, though it may take slightly longer to work.
One of the benefits of using white vinegar is that it may help to clear up any discoloration on your toenails. That’s a common symptom of toenail fungus, so that can be a benefit. Either option will work, but apple cider vinegar edges out white vinegar just a bit.
Apple Cider Vinegar and Baking Soda for Toenail Fungus
Baking soda is another great home remedy for toenail fungus. Baking soda has antiseptic and antifungal properties. It also helps to fight different skin infections, so it can keep the fungus from spreading to other areas of your skin.
On top of that, it works as a natural whitener and deodorant. If your nails have become discolored or have a bad smell baking soda can help to reduce those symptoms. You can follow up an apple cider vinegar foot soak with a baking soda solution.
Follow these easy steps to get the best results from both antifungal agents:
- Complete the standard ACV foot soak by following the directions (above).
- Dry your feet thoroughly, paying special attention to the toes.
- Create a paste with baking soda and water. It should be thick enough to stick on your toes without sliding away instantly.
- Soak your nails in the diluted baking soda for 15-20 minutes.
- Rinse away and dry completely again.
- Repeat up to two times each day.
Following this process with apple cider vinegar and baking soda can offer double protection against toenail fungus. The apple cider vinegar will help to kill the fungus. The baking soda will help to keep it from spreading or coming back stronger.
What Can Be Added to an Apple Cider Vinegar Foot Soak?
Using diluted apple cider vinegar on its own in a foot soak can offer great benefits when it comes to getting rid of toenail fungus. The antifungal properties and acidic nature help to make sure nail fungus doesn’t ruin the health of your feet.
But, there are things you can add to a foot soak to make it even better. Some ingredients may help to speed up the healing process of a fungus. Others are good for the general health of your feet.
If you want to make the most of your ACV foot soak, consider adding one or more of the following ingredients into the basin you’re using:
- Epsom salt: Epsom salt is used in a lot of different spa treatments for foot soaks. But, it’s more than just a relaxing ingredient. It helps to exfoliate your skin and nails, which allows the effects of the ACV to work faster. Add up to 1/3 cup of Epsom salt to your foot soak, making sure you’re using at least 2 cups of hot water for it to dissolve.
- Listerine: This everyday mouthwash can do more than just kill the germs in your teeth. When used in a foot soak with ACV, it can whiten your nails and get rid of any bad smells. It can also help with the swelling of the surrounding skin. You can use equal parts ACV and Listerine in a 15-minute foot soak for best results.
- Lemon juice: Lemon juice is another acidic agent. It can help to boost the ACV with its acidic properties, creating a harsher environment for fungus to grow. Lemon juice will also help to restore a healthy color to your nails. You can add a few tablespoons of lemon juice to an ACV soak to start seeing results.
Can You Put Apple Cider Vinegar on Your Toenails?
Soaking your feet in an apple cider vinegar solution is a popular treatment for yellow toenail fungus. But, there are other ways you can use ACV to help with toenail fungus, too. The other way in which people use this vinegar for treating nail fungus is to apply it directly to the affected area.
Whether you don’t have the time for a daily foot soak or you need something stronger to treat your toenail fungus, you can apply ACV to the affected nail. But, there are some precautions to take along with this method.
Add ACV to the affected toenails and let it completely dry. You don’t need to worry about rinsing it away. If you notice any adverse side effects, you should rinse your feet and dilute the ACV with some water before trying it again. The precautions you should take have to do with the fact that this is still an acidic solution. Someone with sensitive skin may experience slight irritation if they’re using vinegar directly on their toes or skin.
Applying ACV directly to your toes can either be used as a standalone treatment, or as a complement to an ACV foot soak.
People have discovered many different home remedies for treating toenail fungus. Using ACV is one of the most popular because it works so well. The natural antifungal properties of ACV make it an excellent solution for getting rid of a fungal infection. Plus, it makes it difficult for a fungus to grow and spread.
You can use ACV in a variety of ways to treat a fungus under the toenail. But, one of the best ways is to have a foot soak. It’s easy to prepare and can be a relaxing experience for you while the vinegar goes to work killing the fungus.