How to Treat Fingernail Fungus

Fingernail fungus occurs when fungi or bacteria enter the nail bed 1. This can occur either through a crack or break in the cuticles or nail plate, or it could be the result of bacteria inside the body. Fingernail fungus is characterized by thick, yellow and cracked nail beds and can be embarrassing. There are steps you can take to cure a fingernail fungus, but the cure can take time. According to Dr. David Nelson, an orthopedic surgeon, it can take months before the fingernail fungus improves or disappears. There are prescriptions to treat fingernail fungus, but these come with high price tags and adverse side effects. There are several simple, at-home solutions for curing a fingernail fungus.

Purchase an over-the-counter cream with clotrimazole in it. Clotrimazole has antifungal properties that will destroy the fungus. Apply the cream to the affected nail. Rub it deeply into the cuticles, the top of the nail plate and as far under the nail bed as you can get it. Repeat this process, morning and night, until you see results. Clotrimazole treatment is a favorite of Dr. Nelson, and he recommends it to his patients suffering from fingernail fungus.

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Apply 100 percent pure tea tree oil to your nail with a cotton swab. Dip the cotton swab into the oil, and rub it along the cuticles and into and under the fingernail. Repeat this treatment three times a day until you see results. A study published in the Journal of Skin Pharmacology reports that tea tree oil has been found to have antifungal properties, and works well on various skin conditions.

Soak your affected fingernail in a mixture of two parts warm water to one part white vinegar. Place the vinegar and water in a bowl, and soak fingernail for 15 minutes. This soak should be done daily. If you find your skin becoming sensitive to, or irritated by, the white vinegar, cut the fingernail soak down to every other day and use one of the methods in Step 1 or 2 on your off day. The Journal of Food Protection published a report stating that white vinegar had higher antibacterial activity than other household agents.

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Avoid wearing nail polish while you are treating your fingernail fungus. This will help speed the healing process, and allow the antifungal agent to work effectively.

Clean all of your nail tools while treating a fingernail fungus. Washing in warm, soapy water or with vinegar will help kill any bacteria or fungi that may be on the instruments.


Do not share nail tools while treating a nail fungus. After you have cured your fingernail fungus, continue to clean well around your nails to keep future infections away.


See your doctor if you have diabetes and have discovered a nail fungus, as the healing process for diabetics requires supervision. If your nail fungus does not show signs of improvement within eight weeks, see your health care provider for proper diagnosis.