A Complete Guide to Preparing an Epsom Salt Soak for Toenail Fungus
People try many things to get rid of toenail fungus. Because it’s such a widespread issue, there are dozens of home remedies. One popular treatment is an Epsom salt soak for toenail fungus.
While Epsom salt alone won’t get rid of fungus, it can help as a part of an antifungal regimen. An Epsom salt foot soak will soften the nail and draw out the fungal infection. This can make other topical antifungal agents work better and penetrate the fungus faster.
Epsom salts have many benefits for your feet and toenails. Helping to get rid of toenail fungus quicker is just one of those benefits, but it’s important to know how to use Epsom salts correctly.
There are some misconceptions. But, when used the right way they are beneficial to your skin and nails. Putting them in a foot soak is one of the easiest ways to experience the positive effects. Your feet will be healthier, and it’s much more likely you’ll be able to get rid of toenail fungus completely!
Table of Contents:
- 1 Does an Epsom Salt Foot Soak Get Rid of Toenail Fungus?
- 1.1 What Does Epsom Salt Do for the Feet?
- 1.2 What Are the Benefits of Soaking Feet in Epsom Salt?
- 1.3 Does Epsom Salt Kill Fungus?
- 1.4 How to Prepare an Epsom Salt Foot Soak
- 1.5 What Else Can Be Added to an Epsom Salt Soak?
- 1.6 Is Epsom Salt Safe for the Feet?
- 1.7 What is the Best Foot Soak Treatment for Toenail Fungus?
Does an Epsom Salt Foot Soak Get Rid of Toenail Fungus?
Again, using Epsom salts on its own WON’T remove fungus. But, it can make whatever treatment you’re using work more effectively. There are also many other benefits to this type of foot soak.
This guide will explain how to prepare an Epsom salt foot soak the right way. We’ll also cover the other positives to soaking your feet regularly, and any precautions you should take along the way.
What Does Epsom Salt Do for the Feet?
Epsom salts are often found in bath salts/bath bombs. But, used on their own they provide excellent benefits to your feet, skin, and more. You don’t have to wait until you start seeing symptoms of toenail fungus to relax with a foot soak.
Take 2-3 soaks per week for the health of your feet and toenails. There are many different types of foot soaks, and so many things you can add. So, why is Epsom salt so beneficial?
- Fact: Epsom salt is a natural anti-inflammatory that helps to exfoliate and soften your skin. It can relieve pain, reduce cramps, and even improve circulation.
It is a combination of magnesium and sulfate. Although it might look a bit like table salt, the two are entirely different. Table salt is made up of sodium chloride.
The good news about magnesium sulfate is that it’s a mineral our bodies need. Unfortunately, our bodies have been lacking it in recent decades. So, adding some to your foot care routine is helpful.
Those are all critical characteristics when it comes to your feet. That’s why many people take full baths in Epsom salts!
What Are the Benefits of Soaking Feet in Epsom Salt?
A foot soak will benefit your feet in many ways. Having healthy feet is another vital component to removing toenail fungus. If your nails and surrounding skin are weak, it may be easier for a fungal infection to grow and spread.
There are some claims that Epsom salt has antibacterial and antifungal properties. Unfortunately, enough research hasn’t been done to back this up 100%. But, that doesn’t mean it isn’t a great option.
Soaking your feet in warm water alone will help to improve circulation. Improved blood flow to your feet will promote healing. That can make it easier to get rid of infection when combined with another treatment. Water also helps to clean your feet, which can get rid of any loose bits of debris.
- Fact: Epsom salt can inhibit the growth of microorganisms. That can make it harder for a toenail fungus to spread or continue to grow.
Does Epsom Salt Kill Fungus?
There’s anecdotal evidence to suggest that Epsom salt has antifungal properties.
Even without the research to back that up, though, you can expect to heal from a fungal infection when you use an Epsom salt foot soak? Why? Here are a few of the reasons:
- Magnesium sulfate is strong enough to penetrate through the nail and surrounding skin. Many times, people with toenail fungus struggle with thick yellow toenails. That can make it difficult for a cream or gel to get through. Once your nails are softened, these topical solutions can work faster because they can get to the root of the problem.
- Epsom salt helps to exfoliate the skin and improve circulation. This can help to make your feet stronger and healthier to fight off infection. It’s especially helpful for people with poor circulation, like diabetics. Here are some foot care tips for diabetics.
- Foot soaks with Epsom salt can help to relax your feet, which can also promote better circulation
- Because of its exfoliating nature, it may draw out some of the infection from underneath the nails. Toenail fungus can lead to a buildup of debris and keratin. The exfoliating properties can bring out that debris and make it easier for the treatment to get to the fungus itself.
As you can see, there are many different reasons to use it. But, it’s important to use Epsom salts the right way to get the most benefits.
How to Prepare an Epsom Salt Foot Soak
Before preparing a foot soak, you need to have the right kind of vessel. There are a few different options to choose from for dipping your feet.
For many people, a simple foot basin or even a large bowl works well. As long as your feet can be fully submerged in warm water, any basin will do.
But, for those who want to experience extra benefits, there are foot bath and spa machines. Some of the best foot bath and spa machines work to offer relaxation. They add things like oxygenated bubbles, or massaging jets. These help with circulation and the general health of your feet.
Once you’ve decided which type of basin or foot spa machine is right for you, you can prepare your foot soak.
Follow these simple steps to get the best results:
- Make sure your feet are ready. They should be clean and free of any lotions before putting them into the soak. Make sure your toenails are clipped reasonably short. This will allow the Epsom salt to penetrate further into the nail and underneath the nail bed to get directly to the toenail fungus. Thick, hard nails are a symptom of toenail fungus. Keeping them clipped is essential, but you may need to use a pair of thick toenail clippers to get the job done.
- Fill a basin or foot bath with warm (not hot) water. There should be enough to cover your feet completely.
- Add up to ½ cup of Epsom salts into the warm water and stir with your hands until it dissolves.
- Soak your feet for anywhere from 30-60 minutes. Some people find it more beneficial to do two 20-30 minute soaks a day, rather than one long soak. Try soaking your feet morning and night for better results.
- Once you’re finished, dry off your feet thoroughly. It’s important to get between the toes to make sure the fungus doesn’t have an excellent environment to spread. After towel-drying your feet, let them air dry for as long as possible. Only put on socks or shoes once your feet have completely dried.
What Else Can Be Added to an Epsom Salt Soak?
There are so many ways to make a foot soak work for you. Because Epsom salts dissolve quickly, you can add other ‘ingredients’ to the water. Essential oils are one of the most popular things to add to a foot bath. Some oils can be added for extra relaxation. Certain oils provide aromatherapy.
Tea tree oil is a natural antifungal and antibacterial solution. It is used in many natural and over-the-counter toenail fungus treatments. Just a few drops of tea tree oil in a foot bath can boost its fungus-fighting power.
Using tea tree oil in a foot soak with Epsom salts is a great way to fight back against toenail fungus. The Epsom salt will help to soften the nail. That allows the tea tree oil to get in and underneath the nail so that it can target the fungus at the center.
Try experimenting with other essential oils. Each of them has their own distinct properties that may be able to help your feet in some way. Just remember, if you do use an essential oil, make sure it’s 100% natural and not an oil blend. And always check how your skin responds to the formula.
Is Epsom Salt Safe for the Feet?
The misconception that Epsom salts are somehow unsafe usually comes from it being misused. There are few risks to using it. When used topically, it is unlikely Epsom salts will have any side effects.
- Important: Epsom salts can dry out the skin. You shouldn’t do a foot soak with Epsom salt every day for this reason. If you do, the skin on your feet might start to dry out and become cracked. Cracked skin on the feet can open you up to a different kind of infection.
When using a foot soak with Epsom salt, you should also never re-use the same water. Toenail fungus is extremely contagious. It can live on surfaces for quite a while.
If your feet were submerged in water and you have a fungal infection, it’s essential to get rid of that water once you’re done. Fill up the basin with fresh water and new Epsom salts each time.
Again, when used correctly, Epsom salts are perfectly safe. They aren’t meant to be ingested. But, topical use can bring forward a lot of benefits. If you are using them regularly and start to get dry skin, try introducing a moisturizer into your foot care routine.
What is the Best Foot Soak Treatment for Toenail Fungus?
Instead of putting together your own antifungal foot soak, you can try one that is pre-made. There are many foot-soaking products on the market designed to help get rid of toenail fungus. All you have to do is add them to a basin of warm water.
One of our favorite foot soaks containing Epsom salt is Rocky Mountain Essentials Tea Tree Oil Foot Soak. It contains only natural ingredients. They include tea tree oil, eucalyptus oil, and lavender oil. These all have antifungal and antibacterial properties. It also has peppermint oil which can help to boost circulation and give off a pleasant scent.
Another foot soaking option for toenail fungus is the Purely Northwest System. This is a three-part toenail fungus treatment plan that includes a beneficial foot soak. As you may have guessed, it also contains tea tree oil as a critical ingredient. That offers additional antifungal properties which can help to get rid of your infection more effectively.
Either of these foot soak options can help to get rid of your toenail fungus. It’s likely they’ll work faster than just using Epsom salts alone, and the directions for use are the same. They can also help with conditions like inflammation, athlete’s foot or other types of bacterial infections.
How to Get Rid of Toenail Fungus Faster
Keep these tips in mind when you start a foot care routine to get rid of toenail fungus:
- Keep your toenails clipped short and straight across.
- Gently push the cuticle of your nail back after each foot soak. This will encourage a new, healthy nail to grow in faster.
- Keep your feet and toes dry after each soak.
- If your toenails are thick because of the fungus, buff or file them down a bit. It will be harder for the Epsom salt or other antifungal ingredients to penetrate the nail if it is too thick.
Can You Wear Nail Polish During a Foot Soak?
If you have a toenail fungus, it can come with many unsightly symptoms. Discoloration and brittle, crumbling nails are just a couple examples.
So, it’s understandable that some people would want to cover those symptoms. An obvious way to do that is with nail polish. Unfortunately, when you’re soaking your feet regularly in Epsom salt or any other type of antifungal solution, nail polish can get in the way.
When you have nail polish on your toenails, it doesn’t allow the Epsom salts or essential oils in the water to penetrate into your nails as well. The polish works as another barrier, so your healing results may take a lot longer.
Aside from not being good for foot soaks, wearing nail polish when you have toenail fungus isn’t a good idea, to begin with. Toenail fungus thrives in warm, moist environments. When you cover up your nails with polish, you’re creating a perfect environment for that fungus to grow.
If you do want to wear toenail polish when you have a fungal infection, be sure to remove it every few days. This will give your nails a chance to breathe and ‘dry out.’
There are also antifungal nail polishes to consider. Antifungal polishes contain ingredients that will fight against your toenail fungus. They can also keep your nails looking pristine.
But, you should still remove this nail polish before soaking your feet in an antifungal solution. It will still work as a barrier over the nail, and you want to make sure whatever ingredients are in the foot soak can get underneath the nail bed.
Can Toenail Fungus Be Prevented?
Unfortunately, there isn’t a way to completely prevent toenail fungus.
But, there are things you can do that will be helpful:
- Apply antifungal powders to your shoes after each wear. This will help to soak up excess moisture and fight any fungal spores that are lingering in your shoes.
- Switch the shoes you wear each day, so you’re not wearing the same pair two days in a row. This gives the shoes a chance to dry out, so moisture doesn’t get trapped inside.
- Develop a good foot care routine every day. It’s easy to ignore the health of our feet until something bad develops. This should include keeping your nails trimmed and filed and keeping your feet clean and moisturized.
- Avoid public showers or pools with your bare feet. When you frequent places like this, wear shower shoes or flip-flops.
- If you’re prone to sweaty and smelly feet, carry an extra pair of socks with you. If your socks have become moist during the day, you should change into dry ones.
Soaking your feet in Epsom salt can be a great preventative measure. This is especially true if you add essential oils or other antifungal ingredients to it. In fact, it may work better as a preventative option than something that gets rid of toenail fungus on its own.
There are so many benefits. It works well as a base for adding other ingredients, like essential oils that have antifungal properties. While Epsom salt alone may not totally get rid of a severe fungal infection, it can certainly help. It will slow down the progress of a toenail fungus and keep the feet healthy.
It’s good for your skin, nails, and circulation. It’s also easy to prepare! Foot soaks can be relaxing and therapeutic, as well, so you’ll be able to enjoy a ‘spa-like’ experience at home.