Bleach for toenail fungus is a home remedy that’s gained in popularity in recent years. Bleach (sodium hypochlorite) has a potent clinical formula that kills 99.9% of fungus, germs, and bacteria. Toenail fungus (onychomycosis) is hard to treat because the fungal spores are protected by the nail.
Because bleach, like Clorox, helps to disinfect. It’s easy to see why it’s considered a cure for toenail fungus. But, to get safe results, you need to understand the risks and use it the right way. Bleach can cause damage to your skin (burning, redness, and soreness) when misused.
If you do decide to use bleach to kill toenail fungus, you must follow all available safety precautions. Bleach is often used as a foot soak to kill fungal spores and lighten discolored (yellow) toenails. Make sure that bleach is adequately diluted. You should never apply bleach directly to the skin.
Table of Contents:
- 1 How to Remove Fungus on Toenails with Bleach
- 2 Will Bleach Lighten Discolored Toenails?
- 3 Is Bleach Safe for Toenail Fungus?
- 4 How Fast Does Bleach for Toenail Fungus Work?
How to Remove Fungus on Toenails with Bleach
You can use a bleach soak or put a paste on your toenails. Follow these simple steps:
Bleach Foot soak for Toenail Fungus
- Mix one tablespoon of bleach with a gallon of warm water in a basin or foot bath.
- Add antifungal ingredients to your foot soak, such as essential oils. (Optional)
- Soak for 30 minutes a day. This 30 minutes can be divided into 3 x 10-minute sessions.
Bleach Paste for Toenail Fungus
- Coat your infected toenail(s) and the surrounding skin with petroleum jelly.
- Add one or two drops of bleach to it.
- Let this mixture sink in for about 15 minutes before rinsing away.
A bleach paste is a more aggressive treatment than the foot soak. The foot soak may take longer to see results. They are less likely to cause skin irritation or damage.
How much bleach is needed to kill toenail fungus? Not much. Don’t keep adding more bleach to either of these solutions because you feel they aren’t working fast enough for you. This will cause damage to your skin and nails. Don’t use bleach if you have sore skin or open wounds.
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 (onychomycosis) 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 remove the cap and apply it directly to the nail and surrounding skin. Bleach pens are easy to find and relatively 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.
If you experience any irritation, stop using bleach to treat toenail fungus immediately.
Treatment Tips and Advice
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. 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.
- Give yourself enough time for 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 to heal.
- Keep your feet dry. Proper foot care 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.
Will Bleach Lighten Discolored 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 toenail 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 more normal in color. Discoloration is one of the embarrassing symptoms.
You shouldn’t use bleach 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.
Is Bleach Safe for Toenail Fungus?
Bleach is a caustic solution. Healthline has looked closely at the risks of getting bleach on the skin. If misused, it can severely damage the skin. It doesn’t matter if you use chlorine or non-chlorine bleach as 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 is not as concentrated as straight bleach. But, you should still be very cautious with any bleach solution that you don’t understand.
Some of the potential side effects of putting bleach on toenail fungus include:
- Burning sensation
- Skin discoloration
- Skin damage
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
Bleach should never directly touch your skin or any other part of your body. You may 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 harmful and may cause lasting damage.
How Fast Does Bleach for Toenail Fungus Work?
The appeal of bleach is that it’s such a strong solution. Most people think this means it will work fast, but that’s not the case. Bleach has to be heavily diluted, so its effects won’t be as rapid.
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. Mild toenail fungus can be cleared up in weeks.
Don’t stop 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.
Because it is so strong, bleach can kill fungus and leave your nails looking clean and white. Many people have enjoyed success with bleach foot soaks, pastes, and pens.
Make sure to dilute bleach if you’re putting it on your feet. If not, you will almost certainly irritate your skin or toenails. You may also experience side effects if you breathe in this chemical solution.
If you want a DIY solution for toenail fungus, bleach may be what you need to clear up a fungal infection. If you have sensitive skin, a more natural option to treat toenail fungus is recommended.