How to Get Rid of the Foul Odor from Toenail Fungus

Toenail fungus comes with some unpleasant symptoms, from hard, discolored nails to persistent itching in the affected area. One of the symptoms people find hardest to deal with is the foul odor from toenail fungus.

Toenail fungus is a key cause of odor. Everyone experiences the symptoms of fungal nail infections differently, which means some will experience a stronger odor than others. The severity of the infection and how long it’s been left without treatment will also be factors. A lack of treatment can cause the fungus to spread, making the odor even worse.

Foul-smelling feet can be embarrassing, making them uneasy about exposing their feet for any reason. From changing shoes at the gym to wearing flip-flops on holiday, there are many circumstances where someone with a fungal nail infection may feel self-conscious. Fungal infections can also make nails brittle and discolored, compounding the problem.

If you suffer from a fungal nail infection and have noticed a foul odor, there are solutions which can help. Here’s how to remove toenail fungus and make sure it never returns.

Use an Approved Fungal Nail Infection Treatment

If your toenail odor is caused by a fungus infection, you’ll need to address that infection with an approved treatment. There is a multitude of options for you to choose from to help fight the infection and restore your nails to their natural state. These fall into three categories: over-the-counter (OTC) products, prescription treatments, and natural alternatives.

Over-the-Counter Options to Get Rid of Smelly Nails

Over-the-counter products are usually the first port of call for those suffering from fungus-related odor. You can purchase many of them online, or at your local drugstore or pharmacy. These products have antifungal properties which can get to the root of the problem when applied regularly.

We’ve reviewed some of the popular OTC fungal nail treatments below:

These ointments and creams should be applied either once or twice daily to clean toenails. Some come with scrapers so that you can remove the hard, brittle part of the nail. Others are simple creams with powerful active ingredients to fight the infection. Many of them will take a couple of months to cure your infection entirely, and it’s worth continuing treatment immediately after to avoid recurrence of the fungus.

Prescription Treatments to Fight Fungus-Related Smells

Prescription treatments are recommended for serious fungal nail infections that don’t seem to be affected by OTC products. If you’ve had a fungal nail infection for a long time and can’t seem to get rid of it, a prescription-strength option might be your best bet.

These treatments can only be obtained after consulting your doctor. The instructions should be followed to the letter, as these treatments can have a range of side effects. Some of the most common prescription treatments designed to fight fungus and foot odor include:

If you think you might benefit from a prescription-strength treatment, see your doctor.

Natural Alternatives to Treat Bad Odor from Toenail Fungus

If you’re in the first stages of a fungal nail infection and want to pursue a natural route, these options are available:

These simple remedies can have wonderful results for those in the earlier stages of a fungal nail infection, and they can reduce embarrassing odors when used regularly.

Other Tips to Treat Smelly Toenail Fungus

As well as treating the cause of the problem with a fungal nail treatment, there are other steps you can take to reduce fungus-related odor. These are simple actions that can be carried out every day to reduce or mask the odor until the fungus has been treated properly.

Keep Moisture Away from Your Feet

Moisture creates the perfect environment for toenail fungus to thrive. In fact, the fungus often starts because moisture becomes trapped under the nail itself. That means it’s vital to keep your feet as dry as possible while treating the condition.

While you’re treating your fungal infection, try to avoid wearing cotton socks. These can trap moisture against your feet, creating the ideal conditions for fungus to breed and spread. Try to avoid thick socks that could make your feet sweat more.

When you’re treating a fungal nail infection, always choose socks made from synthetic materials. These can ‘wick’ away moisture, keeping your feet as dry as possible. There are also some specialist antifungal socks available, which allow the feet to breathe. Some of them are made of copper ions in the soles to help eliminate bacteria, fungus, and odors.  It’s worth investing in these to prevent the foul odor from toenail fungus getting worse.

Wear the Right Shoes

In addition to finding antifungal socks that will keep your feet fresh and dry, choosing the right shoes in essential. Shoes that are too tight can trap in moisture or cause unnecessary friction in the affected area, which may become painful.

This can also aggravate the odor, giving the feet no room to breathe. Always make sure the shoes that you’re wearing are the right size – if in doubt, choose a size up and use an insole to avoid pinching or rubbing. If you want to create some extra room, you can do so with the best shoe stretchers.

Make sure your shoes are dry before you put them on. If your shoes are still damp from previous use (whether due to sweat or rainwater), this can exacerbate your fungus odor. Not only will your feet smell, your shoes will too, making it harder to shift the embarrassing odor.

If you can, never wear the same pair of shoes two days in a row. Try to invest in a spare pair of work shoes so that you can alternate each day and leave one pair at home to dry out between uses. This will keep moisture away from the fungus around your toenails and will prevent the foul odor from spreading to your shoes. Leave your shoes in a sunny spot in your home for the best results and fastest drying.

You might also consider investing in an antifungal shoe spray such as Footlogix Anti-Fungal Tincture Formula 7t. This spray has been clinically tested to fight fungus and also eliminates odor, penetrating deep into the soles for maximum impact. The active ingredient is undecylenic acid, and the bottle claims to hold up to 500 doses.

Clip Your Toenails Regularly

Keeping your nails short while treating a fungal nail infection can help reduce the odor. Logically, the more nail you have, the more space the fungus has to spread and produce a foul smell. Using high-quality nail clippers, keep your toenails neat and tidy. Never share clippers or scissors with anyone else if you’re suffering from a fungal nail infection. This could contribute to the spread of the condition throughout your family.

How to Get Rid of a Bad Odor from Toenail Fungus

Take Extra Precautions with Your Feet

Protect your feet as much as possible in situations where they’re exposed. If you’re at a public pool or gym, wear clean flip-flops or slippers of some kind. If you head to the beach to paddle in the sea, make sure your feet are dry and sand-free before putting on your footwear.

While you’re at home, air your feet by walking around barefoot whenever you can. This will help the odor to dissipate, rather than keeping it trapped where it can build.

One great tip to reduce fungus odor is to give your feet a saltwater bath once or twice per day. Sprinkle a handful of Epsom salts into a container of warm water big enough to house your feet. You can add a few drops of tea tree oil for enhanced healing properties if you wish.

Soak your feet in the saltwater bath for around twenty minutes. The solution will have antifungal and antibacterial properties which will help fight the infection and reduce any foul odors. Always make sure your feet are dry before you put socks or shoes on post-bath.

Treating Foul-Smelling Toenail Fungus

Having a fungal nail infection can be very embarrassing. Not only will your nails look discolored and brittle, but they might also emit a foul smell that is hard to hide. But with the right treatment, you can rid yourself of the fungal infection, and the bad odor that comes with it.

Always focus on curing the fungus first, and take extra precautions to address the odor while you’re treating the infection. Whether you choose an OTC option, a natural remedy or a prescription treatment, always follow the instructions and use the treatment regularly.

Additional precautions include making sure your feet remain as dry as possible. Trapped moisture in your socks or shoes can make the condition worse and slow down the effects of your treatment. Invest in antifungal socks with copper soles, and an antifungal shoe treatment to ensure your footwear remains sanitized and fungus-free.

You can also help your treatment along by protecting your feet when you’re in public places like swimming pools or nail salons. Keep your feet clean at all times, and speed up the process with a daily tea tree oil foot soak to draw out the infection and keep odors at a minimum.