12 Essential Oils for Toenail Fungus

toenail fungus essential oils

Toenail fungus, also known as onychomycosis is caused by fungal spores infecting the toenail, turning it brittle, hard and yellow. As the infection worsens, the nail can chip away and even become detached from the nailbed. Pain and discomfort are certain. The same fungus is responsible for athlete’s foot, ringworm, and Tinea Versicolor. There are many essential oils for toenail fungus that you can try. The oils can penetrate the nail, getting to work on the infection where other antifungal creams cannot reach. If you want to know what are the best essential oils for toenail fungus, then read on.

best Essential Oil for Toenail FungusWhat Causes of Toenail Fungus?

Onychomycosis, also known as tinea unguium, is a condition in which a fungus occupies and infects your toenail.

dermatophyte toenail fungusThe fungus that is typically to blame is known as a dermatophyte (pictured right). It is the same fungus that causes athlete’s foot and skin fungus. However, other fungi such as candida and some molds can cause toenail fungus.

The spores of this fungus are highly contagious and are easily contracted by walking barefoot through communal swimming pools, washrooms or baths.

As with athlete’s foot, the fungus thrives in a warm dark environment and your sweaty feet create a fantastic breeding ground.

However, some individuals are more prone to infection than others. You are most at risk of toenail fungus if:

  • you suffer from athlete’s foot
  • You have poor feet hygiene and stinky feet.
  • You are an older male
  • You have a weakened immune system
  • You are diabetic

Stages of Toenail Fungus

Most people when they are infected by the dermatophyte fungus, they don’t realize there is a problem.

beginning stages of toenail fungus

The beginning stages of toenail fungus are quite subtle and many people barely notice.

In the early stages, you may notice some slight discoloration of the nail, with some yellowing. It rarely covers the whole nail and usually starts from one corner. The fungus will appear as a white or yellowish dot under the nail.

It is only in the middle stages of infection that most people realize that they have a problem.

toenail fungus - Middle stageThis fungal infection begins to cause deep discoloration of the nail and spreads across the nail. The nail will thicken and may become painful. At this stage, the yellow dot under the nail will have got much bigger.

As the fungus builds under the nail, the nail becomes brittle and detached from the from nail bed below. It may begin to splinter off exposing underlying skin.

At this stage, it may start to hurt with some inflammation.

The final stage of toenail fungus comes the complete destruction of the nail.

toenail fungus - final stage

The infection has spread, covering the entire surface. The nail is ragged and splintering and may completely detach from the nail bed. Other toenails will begin to show signs of infection.

The nail will be painful to touch, with inflammation and possible wider infections. Wearing shoes can become very uncomfortable.

Signs of toenail fungus healing

If you have allowed your toenail fungus to spread across the entire nail and perhaps to the remaining toes, surgery may be the best option. It will remove the entire nail along with the fungus.

Treating the fungus at this stage with essential oils alone may prove ineffective.

Once the fungus has taken hold, it is important to treat the condition as soon as you realize there is an infection. The fungus spores reside within the structure of the nail and penetrating the nail to kill the fungus is easier when the infection is in the early stage.

The nail, however, will not return to its normal luster, even if the fungus is dead until it has completely grown out. The section of nail damaged by fungus will remain damaged. There is no sure-fire way to tell if toenail fungus is dying. The nail will look the same even after repetitive treatment as the damage remains.

However, after the application of essential oils, the signs of toenail fungus is going away are when fresh nail growth is seen to ‘push’ damage nail out. It is slow, but be patient. If the fungus is dead, new nail growth will clear the wreckage away.

Be aware, If you want to know how to cure toenail fungus fast, there is NO fast remedy. Even if the fungus is dead, the nail can take up 3 months to fully regrow.

There are many other home remedies for toenail fungus you can try, but we believe that an essential oil mix for nail fungus is your best option as oil can penetrate the nail more effectively. Check out the oils below.

essential oils for toenail fungusEssential Oils for Toenail Fungus

  1. Tea Tree Oil

tea tree oil for toenail fungusTea tree oil is often considered the best essential oil for toenail fungus. It is used alongside prescribed medical antifungal treatments.

Tea tree oil comes from the twigs and leaves of the famous Australian tea tree.

The oil has a number of active compounds the most famous of which is terpineol. This compound kills viruses, bacteria, and fungi. The oil is effective against all types of dermatophytes. [2][3]

It can even increase the white blood cells and boost immunity. [4] This along with other similar compounds make tea tree oil toenail fungal remedy.

How to Use tea tree oil for toenail fungus

You can use this oil alone or as part of an essential oil mix for nail fungus.

Clean the affected nail with soap and water and dry it. Apply one or two drops of tea tree oil to the nail. Wait for 10 minutes for the oil to soak into the nail. Now, start scrubbing it gently using a soft toothbrush.

If you have a sensitive skin, it is important to dilute tea tree oil with a carrier oil before applying it to the nail. Repeat this remedy every day until the new nail fully replaces the infected one.

  1. Thyme Essential Oil

thyme oilThyme essential oil one of the most popular natural toenail fungus remedies. This oil consists of thymol, a strong antiseptic mostly present in chest rubs. Thymol is effective against nail fungus.

A study examining the antifungal effects of a test rub depicted that thymol could inhibit the dermatophytes causing nail fungus. [4] Another similar study has proven thymol as an agent effective against candida, another cause of nail fungus. [5]

How to Use thyme oil for toenail fungus

To use thyme essential oil, add two drops of it in a carrier oil and apply it on the toenail. Let it absorb for some time before scrubbing the foot with a toothbrush.

If you are not sensitive to essential oils, you may even apply thyme oil directly on the nail.

  1. Cinnamon Oil

cinnamon oilThe health benefits of cinnamon have long been known to traditional medicine but research now shows that the ancients may have been right

Cinnamon has been proved effective against the Candida fungus and other infections. Cinnamon oil distills these antifungal agents into a powerful toenail fungus remedy. [6] [7]

Cinnamon oil can also give a boost to your immune system and prevent recurrences.

How to Use cinnamon essential oil for toenail fungus

You must always dilute the cinnamon oil in a carrier oil such as jojoba or coconut oil before using. Apply it topically on the affected toe or use an eye dropper to get it beneath the nails. Repeat twice a day for good results.

  1. Clove Oil

clove oilClove oil has a high level of eugenol, a compound that research has confirmed has strong anti-fungal properties. Eugenol makes clove oil one of the best essential oils for toenails. [8]

At the same time, clove oil can also strengthen your immune system and speed up the process of healing.

How to Use clove essential oil for toenail fungus

To use clove oil for toenail fungus, add 1-2 drops of it in one tablespoon of coconut oil. Rub the mixture on the nail beds and toes. Repeat this remedy 1-2 times every day until the symptoms reduce.

  1. Manuka Oil

manuka oil toenail fungusNot many people are aware of Manuka oil but it is an unsung gem in the world of essential oils for toenail fungus.

Manuka honey, made by bees that pollinate the manuka flower, is perhaps the best known antibacterial and antifungal home remedy. Manuka oil distills these benefits without the need for the bees.

With strong antifungal properties, Manuka oil can not only eliminate the fungal infection but can also heal any other damage to the skin. [8]

How to use manuka oil for toenail fungus

Use Manuka oil every day to massage the infected nails and toes once daily. You may also add 5-6 drops of it in one liter of water and soak your feet in it for half an hour. Repeat this once daily for fast results.

  1. Lemon Oil

lemon oilAs an essential oil for toenail fungus, lemon oil has to be the best smelling. It also comes packed with antifungal and antiseptic properties.

It can also get rid of the added discomfort and address the problem from the root. [9]

How to use lemon oil for toenail fungus

Apply a few drops of this oil on your toenails every day until the discoloration and other associated symptoms disappear. Although lemon oil rarely causes a reaction, it is better to dilute it by mixing 10 drops of it in on tablespoon of coconut oil.

7.    Peppermint Oil

peppermint oilJust like many other diseases, peppermint oil can ease discomfort, get rid of inflammation, and boost immunity to fight fungal infections.

As an essential oil for toenail fungus, peppermint oil can soothe pain in the thickened nail and reduce the risk of complications as well.

Methanol together with other antioxidants present in peppermint oil can fight toenail fungus and provide quick relief. [10]

How to Use Peppermint essential oil for toenail fungus

There is no need to dilute peppermint oil. All you need to do is to apply 4-5 drops of it on the discolored, flaking nails. Repeat once daily.

8.    Coconut Oil

coconut oil for toenail fungusThe use of coconut oil for yeast infections has a long history. It is especially effective against the Candida fungus and as this fungus is sometimes is the cause of toenail fungus, a foot massage using coconut oil can often be effective.

Coconut oil is also known for its properties to boost the immune system. It has extremely beneficial minerals and fatty acids which may work as strong antibacterial and antifungal agents. [11]

How to Use coconut oil for toenail fungus

You can use coconut oil as a carrier oil to apply all essential oils to the infected toenail and to the entire foot. As an essential oil mix for nail fungus, add a few drops of tea tree oil to coconut oil and massage the entire foot.

  1. Oregano Oil

oregano oilThe health benefits of oregano oil are famous for their anti-bacterial properties and oregano can also be used to treat fungal infections.

Studies have shown that the diverse range of ingredients present in this oil can destroy a number of fungal strains infecting the nails. [12]

How to Use Oregano oil for toenail fungus

For people with sensitive skin, mix a few drops of oregano oil in a tablespoon of coconut oil. Apply this mixture on the affected toenail and massage for some time. Repeat twice daily.

  1. Lavender Essential Oil

lavender oilThe benefits of Lavender oil on fungal infections is perhaps less well known versus its other benefits, but this matters little. It very effective.

Adding lavender oil to an essential oil mix for nail fungus will not only help the infection but can mask the smell of stinky feet that often comes with toenail fungus.

Lavender oil is a popular agent for relaxing your mind and body. At the same time, it possesses strong antifungal properties making it the best essential oil to fight toenail fungus. This oil may not be as effective as other essential oils but definitely worth a try. [13]

How to Use

To use lavender oil, mix 2-3 drops of it in one tablespoon of coconut oil. Use this mixture on the affected toenail twice daily for a week.

  1. Winter Savory Essential Oil

winter savory oilYou may not be familiar with winter savory essential oil. While it is not as popular as other oils, winter savory oil by no means any less effective when it comes to healing toenail fungus. [14]

This oil possesses powerful antifungal properties. Research has even proved it to be effective against a number of fungi including Candida albicans.

How to Use

Using winter savory essential oil is quite easy. Mix a few drops of it in any carrier oil and use it to massage the affected toenail. Repeat it 2-3 times a day and get rid of the toenail fungus fast.

  1. Orange Oil

orange oilYou can use orange oil to get rid of the long-standing toenail function quite easily.

Recent research showed that orange oil tests in vitro showed that the oil inhibited the growth of 12 different fungi types, including nail fungus spores.

Orange oil is one of the best essential oils for toenail fungus due to its wide ranging toxicity to so many fungi.[15]

How to Use

Use a dropper to place a few drops of orange oil between the toes and the under the toenail. Let it stay for 30 minutes before washing it off. Repeat twice or thrice on a daily basis.

You can also mix a few drops of orange oil in vinegar and alcohol. Apply this mixture on the affected area every day.

How to prevent toenail Fungus

If you have had toenail fungus in the past, you are much more likely to get infected again. Your body has proved to be a welcome environment for the fungus and unless something changes, the fungus will return.

toenail fungus prevention

Continuing to use an essential oil mix for nail fungus on a regular basis even after the fungus has gone is highly recommended.

A daily application, rubbed into your feet will prevent toenail fungus and athlete’s foot from returning.

However, to make sure, the following simple guidelines will prevent toenail fungus in the future.


  • Make sure to dry your feet completely before putting on shoes
  • Use cleaned socks every day, washed in hot water and detergent
  • Perform a patch test before trying an essential oil
  • Trim your toenails whenever necessary to keep them short
  • Use a dropper to place essential oils between your nail and the nail bed


  • Do not put on shoes on wet feet before drying them completely
  • Do not share your shoes and socks with others
  • Do not use nail paint as long as you have an infection since it does let your nails breathe


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