Does Bleach for Toenail Fungus Work?

Nail fungus, known as onychomycosis, is hard to treat because the fungal spores are protected by the toenail. Many people use bleach for toenail fungus because it has a potent formula that kills 99.9% of fungus, germs, and bacteria.

There are many home remedies for getting rid of nail fungus for good. Because bleach, like Clorox, helps to disinfect, it’s easy to see why it could be the cure for toenail fungus. But, to get results, you do need to use it the right way. There are obvious risks attached to its usage. Bleach can cause damage to your skin (burning, redness, soreness, etc.) when misused.

It’s necessary to follow safety measures to get the best results and to keep your skin and toenails healthy. Knowing how bleach works and how it disinfects is helpful in understanding why it can clear up a fungal nail infection.

Can Bleach Be Used for Toenail Fungus?

If you want to learn more about how to use bleach on a fungal infection safely, this guide will give you the information that you need. We’ll cover the different ways you can use bleach to get rid of toenail fungus.

We’ll also give you warnings on what you shouldn’t do when applying bleach to your skin and nails. There are some warnings everyone should heed before using bleach anywhere on their body. If it’s not used correctly, you could experience some severe side effects.

Finally, we’ll look at the alternatives to putting bleach on toenail fungus. The more safe options you have that you can try at home, the better. Getting rid of a fungal toenail infection is possible with home remedies as long as they are used correctly.

How to Remove Fungus on Toenails with Bleach

Two solutions are the most practical and the safest. You can either use a bleach soak or put a paste on your toenails.

To perform these treatment methods correctly, follow these steps:

  • Bleach foot soaks for toenail fungus: Mix one tablespoon of bleach with a gallon of warm water in a basin or foot bath. Soak for 30 minutes a day. You can complete this 30-minute period in up to three sessions. If you don’t see results in a few weeks, try adding more antifungal ingredients to your foot soak, like tea tree oil.
  • Bleach paste for toenail fungus: To make a ‘bleach paste’ for your nail, first coat your infected nail and the surrounding skin with petroleum jelly. Then, add one or two drops of bleach to it. Let this mixture sit for about 15 minutes before rinsing away and drying your feet thoroughly.

A bleach paste is a more aggressive treatment than the foot soak. The foot soak may take longer to see results. But, both are the safest methods. They are unlikely to cause skin irritation or any damage.

How much bleach is needed to kill toenail fungus? Not much! Don’t keep adding more to either of these solutions because you feel they aren’t working fast enough for you. That can end up causing damage to your skin and nails.

Can I Use a Bleach Pen for Toenail Fungus?

Bleach pens are convenient for removing stains from fabric quickly. The good news is that you can use them for toenail fungus just as conveniently. Not only will it help to get rid of discoloration, but it will kill the fungus that’s underneath the nail.

There have been many success stories that suggest using a bleach pen (along with a bleach foot soak) can clear up toenail fungus faster. Of course, you can choose to use one or the other. But, combining the two may yield faster results in your healing process.

A bleach pen is easy to use. You simply remove the cap and apply it directly to the nail and surrounding skin. Bleach pens are easy to find and fairly inexpensive. You may already even have one in your home and can try it right away.

So, why don’t you have to dilute a bleach pen for toenail fungus? Most bleach pens contain a lower concentration of sodium hypochlorite (the main chemical in bleach). They also include several ingredients not typically found in liquid bleach. This is because the pen releases a thicker, gel-like substance. These extra ingredients help to lower the concentration of the potent chemicals, so it’s safer to use directly on your nails and skin.

You should still take precautions when using a bleach pen. If you experience any irritation, stop using it immediately.

Is Bleach Safe to Use for Removing Toenail Fungus?

Keep in mind that bleach is a caustic solution. If misused, it can severely damage the skin. It doesn’t matter if you use chlorine or non-chlorine bleach, the risks are the same. Using straight bleach on toenail fungus can be dangerous and damaging.

You should never soak your feet in undiluted bleach or apply straight bleach directly to the toes. An exception to this rule is using a bleach pen as it may not be as concentrated as straight bleach. But, you should still be cautious with any bleach solution.

Some of the potential side effects of putting bleach on toenail fungus include:

  • Itching
  • Inflammation
  • Redness
  • Burning sensation
  • Skin discoloration
  • Skin damage
  • Pain

If you experience any of these side effects after using a bleach treatment for toenail fungus, rinse it off immediately. If it’s left on and causes irritation, it could cause severe burns to your skin.

Another risk factor is getting it in your eyes. If it gets in the eyes or mucous membranes, it can cause permanent damage. Always wash your hands thoroughly after handling bleach, so you don’t accidentally touch your face or other areas of your body.

Breathing in bleach can cause respiratory problems and damage the lungs. If you breathe in too much of it, you might experience the following symptoms:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Coughing
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Vomiting

Obviously, there are risk factors to keep in mind. It should never directly touch your skin or any other part of your body. You may even want to use a mask when doing a bleach soak or applying bleach paste, so you don’t breathe in the chemicals. The respiratory issues caused by breathing in the fumes can be extremely harmful and may even cause lasting damage.

Are There Other Benefits to Using Bleach on Toenails?

You probably use bleach to whiten out stains on your clothes. It can help to do the same for toenails infected by a fungus. One of the common symptoms is toenail discoloration. You might find that your nail has turned a yellowish color.

If you use a bleach soak or bleach paste to treat the fungus, you can also enjoy the benefit of seeing your nails turn whiter and back to a ‘normal’ color. Discoloration is one of the embarrassing symptoms. Finding a way to reduce this symptom is essential.

Again, you shouldn’t use bleach just to whiten your nails because it has too many risks. Keep in mind that bleach is a corrosive solution and it can harm your skin if you don’t dilute it. Using it as a nail whitening treatment or for cosmetic purposes isn’t a good idea.

How Fast Does Bleach Work to Get Rid of Toenail Fungus?

The appeal of bleach is that it’s such a strong solution. Most people think this means it will work quickly. But, two things make it more difficult to work fast. First, the bleach has to be heavily diluted. So, its effects won’t work as fast in killing the fungus.

The main thing to keep in mind, though, is that any treatment will take time. It doesn’t matter if you’re using a home remedy or over-the-counter solution. How long it takes to get rid of a toenail fungus completely will significantly depend on how long you’ve had the infection in the first place.

Toenail fungus won’t go away overnight. But, you have to take into consideration the fact that it didn’t show up overnight, either. The best thing you can do for bleach or any treatment to work faster is to catch a toenail fungus early on.

One of the earliest signs of a toenail fungus is a white or yellow dot underneath the nail. Other signs like discoloration or changes to the nail texture can be early symptoms, too. The sooner you start treating the infection once you see it, the less time it will take for it to go away.

Don’t stop a treatment just because it looks like the infection is starting to get better. Whether you’re using bleach or another home remedy, keep using it for a few weeks even after the fungus has cleared up to make sure it’s completely gone.

How to use bleach for Toenail Fungus

How to Prepare Your Nails When Using Bleach

If you want to get the best results when using a bleach foot soak or bleach paste, you need to prepare your toenails ahead of time. Use these tips to make the treatment more effective.

The better the bleach can penetrate under the nail, the quicker you’ll start to see results:

  • Trim your nail as much as possible. You should aim to trim it at least to the toe line, and straight across instead of curved. The closer your nail is to the toe line, the easier it will be for the bleach to penetrate underneath it and get right to the fungus. Use your own pair of thick toenail clippers. Don’t use a pair that belongs to someone else or you could spread the infection.
  • If you have jagged or brittle nails from toenail fungus, file them smooth. This will help them from snagging on anything. It lowers your risk of the nail being pulled away, which can sometimes happen due to toenail fungus.
  • Give yourself enough time to do a proper foot soak. One of the downsides of using bleach for toenail fungus is that it’s a process if you choose to do a foot soak. If you don’t give yourself a full 30 minutes each day, it could take longer for the infection on your toenails to heal.
  • Keep your feet dry at all times. Proper foot care, in general, is one of the best ways to prepare your toenails for any treatment. Taking care of your feet and nails will help them to be stronger and fight back against fungal infections.

What Are the Best Alternatives?

You may have noticed by now that there are many positives and negatives to consider when choosing bleach as a toenail fungus treatment. If you have sensitive skin or experience an adverse reaction from bleach, don’t lose hope. Because toenail fungus is such a common problem, there are many alternatives to choose from.

If you were interested in using bleach, to begin with, you’re probably interested in using a home remedy to get rid of toenail fungus. Thankfully, there are tried and true remedies you can use at home with simple ingredients.

Let’s look at the best at-home alternatives to using bleach on your fungal infection:

  • Apple cider vinegar: This is one of the most popular home solutions. You can use it both topically and internally. Many people swear by drinking a bit of ACV every day. It has antifungal properties that will attack the fungus at the core. This will stop it from growing and spreading. An apple cider vinegar soak is a great option. You can add a few capfuls to a basin of warm water and soak your feet for 20-30 minutes a day. Unlike bleach, there are no harmful chemicals involved, so you shouldn’t experience any irritation to your skin.
  • Tea tree oil: Many different essential oils contain antifungal properties. But, tea tree oil is the best when it comes to killing toenail fungus. It also has antifungal and antibacterial properties. This will help your fungus from spreading and will protect your skin. You can use tea tree oil on its own by adding a few drops to a carrier, such as olive oil. Then, apply it directly to the toenails, making sure to get underneath. There is no need to rinse it away. You can also add it to a foot soak. Make sure if you do decide to use tea tree oil that you’re using it in its purest form and not as an ingredient in an essential oil blend.
  • Baking soda: You probably use baking soda all the time for cooking and baking, but It’s also an excellent natural remedy for toenail fungus. It creates an alkaline environment under your toenails, making it difficult for a fungal infection to grow and thrive. You can make a paste with baking soda and water or make it even stronger by mixing baking soda with sodium borate (borax). Sodium borate is a natural fungicide. Putting these two ingredients together will help to kill a fungus and prevent it from spreading.
  • Coconut oil: This has grown in popularity in recent years. This is due mostly to the fact that it has so many different health and wellness uses. One of the best uses for it, though, is to treat toenail fungus. Coconut oil contains natural antifungal properties. Plus, the fatty acids in coconut oil are strong enough to penetrate directly into your nail and get right to the fungus. You can apply coconut oil directly to your nails and let it soak in. It’s also great for the surrounding skin and will keep it moisturized.

As you can see, you don’t have to reach for bleach as your only option to treat toenail fungus at home. The natural solutions listed here come with fewer risks and safety concerns. You should be careful no matter what treatment you’re using. But, the side effects of the treatments listed above are much less worrying than those associated with bleach.

Should I Use Apple Cider Vinegar or Bleach for Toenail Fungus?

Bleach is a powerful solution. That’s why so many people are interested in it when it comes to treating toenail fungus. But, because you have to dilute it to be safe, it probably won’t work as quickly as you might expect. When you’re adding only a tablespoon or two to a gallon of water, the effects of the bleach can take a long time to kill a fungal infection. But, using more than that can be dangerous.

Apple cider vinegar, though, is much safer. You can use it directly on the nails or in a foot soak, and you will typically see the same results. It’s unlikely that you’ll experience any adverse reactions from using apple cider vinegar to get rid of your fungal infection. It’s a natural fungicide and can help to protect other nails from an infection.

Ultimately, the choice is yours. Bleach can get rid of toenail fungus. But, sometimes the risks outweigh the reward. This is especially true when there are so many other home remedies to try that may be safer and easier to do.

Is Bleach a Good Option for Treating Toenail Fungus?

Bleach is a viable option when it comes to treating toenail fungus. Because it is so strong, it can kill fungus and leave your nails looking clean and white. Many people have seen success with bleach foot soaks and bleach pens. It may not be the fastest-working option, but it is effective.

The most important thing to remember if you’re considering using bleach is to be safe. Again, bleach is a powerful solution. That’s what makes it work so well. Unfortunately, that’s also what can make it dangerous when you aren’t using it correctly.

Always make sure to dilute bleach if you’re putting it on your feet. If not, you could irritate your skin or toenails. You may also have to deal with other side effects if you breathe in the solution. Precautions are necessary when using bleach in any capacity.

If you already have bleach in your home and you’re looking for a DIY solution for toenail fungus, give it a try. It may be just the thing to clear your fungal infection. But, there are many other home solutions for killing toenail fungus, too. If you have sensitive skin, you may want to choose a more natural option to treat toenail fungus.