How do I Use Vicks&Reg; for Toenail Fungus?

M. Haskins

Toenail fungus, also called onychomycosis, is a common fungal infection that can cause toenails to become thick, brittle, and yellow in appearance. This condition is caused by fungal microorganisms infecting the nail itself as well as the nailbed underneath. Using the medicated chest rub Vicks® for toenail fungus is a common home remedy that has not been scientifically proven as a toenail fungus cure, but is supported by anecdotal evidence and some limited scientific studies. When using Vicks® as a home remedy for toenail fungus, the ointment is usually applied to the infected nail once or twice per day, and the nail is then covered with a bandage, gauze, or a pair of clean socks. The makers of Vicks® VapoRub® do not advocate its use as a toenail fungus home remedy, and it is advisable to consult a doctor before beginning any treatments.

Sterile gauze usually covers Vicks when it is used to treat toenail fungus.
Sterile gauze usually covers Vicks when it is used to treat toenail fungus.

Specific instructions for how to use Vicks® for toenail fungus vary, but often involve soaking the infected foot in hot or warm water for 20 minutes or more, usually before bedtime. The foot should then be thoroughly dried. It is possible to apply the VapoRub® without soaking the foot, but the water is thought to make the nails and skin absorb the treatment more effectively. Filing the affected nail gently with an emory board, and cleaning it with hydrogen peroxide is sometimes recommended before applying Vicks®. After the entire nail and surrounding skin has been covered with Vicks®, the treated area can be covered with sterile gauze or similar item or one can put on a pair of clean, dry socks to avoid staining sheets and other items.

Some people believe that using Vicks for toenail fungus can actually worsen the condition.
Some people believe that using Vicks for toenail fungus can actually worsen the condition.

Some people believe that using Vicks® for toenail fungus can worsen the condition rather than help it, because covering the infected nail provides the fungus with a moist, warm environment that can promote more fungal growth. However, some limited scientific studies do show that some of the ingredients in Vicks® can have antifungal and antibacterial properties. Specifically, the eucalyptus oil, camphor, menthol, and thymol in Vicks® have been shown to have such properties.

The eucalyptus oil in Vicks has been shown to have anti-fungal and antibacterial properties.
The eucalyptus oil in Vicks has been shown to have anti-fungal and antibacterial properties.

Toenail fungus usually takes a long time to clear up, whether prescription medication or home remedies are used to treat it. When using Vicks® for toenail fungus, one can expect improvement to take at least several weeks and usually several months. Vicks® should not be used for children under 12 without consulting a doctor, and Vicks® VapoRub® should not be used at all on children under 2.

It is important to consult with a doctor before beginning any treatments for toenail fungus.
It is important to consult with a doctor before beginning any treatments for toenail fungus.
Vicks ointment should be applied to the afflicted area once or twice per day.
Vicks ointment should be applied to the afflicted area once or twice per day.
Foot and toenail fungus may be transmitted by using public showers.
Foot and toenail fungus may be transmitted by using public showers.
Unchecked toenail fungus may necessitate surgical removal of the entire nail.
Unchecked toenail fungus may necessitate surgical removal of the entire nail.

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Discussion Comments

anon989566

The main ingredients in vicks are; camphor, eucalyptus and menthol. All three are capable of stopping the growth of fungus.

burcidi

I'm sorry if I'm bursting anyone's bubble here but Vicks doesn't work for everyone. I used Vicks on my toenail for almost two months and it made no difference for me. The product brand has no claims about it, so it's not their fault.

ZipLine

I've been using Vicks for toenail fungus for a few years now. I used it to cure it and I continue to use it once in a while to maintain fungus-free nails.

I've noticed that when I file and cut my toenails regularly, the Vicks remedy is more effective. Cutting the toenails regularly ensure that the infected parts are reduced while the treatment works. Filing seems to help the nail absorb the Vicks better.

So I always start off by filing my nails and then I slather the Vicks on. I do this once a week to keep my toenails fungus free. But when I had an ongoing infection, I was using Vicks everyday. All in all, Vicks is a good treatment for toenail fungus.

bear78

I started using the Vicks vapor rub for toenail fungus one week ago. The fungus is not totally gone yet obviously, but I'm already seeing a change. After I apply the Vicks, my toenail changes color. I think it's because the fungi are dying. I apply the rub twice a day, once in the morning and once at night. I apply it and then wear clean socks over it. I think the fungus is going to be gone completely by next month. I wish I had found this remedy sooner.

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