You’re probably more aware of Vicks VapoRub being an age-old ointment that people use to supress coughs and clear their airways. You won't find instructions on how to use Vicks your toenail fungus, because the Vicks manufacturers didn’t intend for their product to be used in that way.
Still, a 2003 study found that the key ingredients in Vicks--camphor, eucalyptus oil and menthol—could be effective in controlling toenail fungus when combined in one formula.
Why choose Vicks?
It might make more sense to you to just buy an over-the-counter medication for eliminating nail fungus, but these are often plagued with drawbacks. They're expensive, for a start, and don't always produce the best results – not to mention that they come with a whole host of side effects.
Vicks VapoRub is a much kinder, gentler, more natural alternative. It really works, too – one study had 18 participants apply Vicks to their toenails every for 48 weeks. By the end of the study, 5 patients were completely cured, and 10 had partial relief, so, effectively, 83% of the participants experienced toenail fungus relief. As well as being genuinely effective, Vicks is relatively low-cost and comes with virtually no side effects to be concerned about.
That said, if you’re suffering from fungal issue and you’re keen to try Vicks out as a home treatment, it’s worth being aware that it might take months to effectively eradicate the fungus. You should see your doctor if your fungal issue gets worse even while you’re applying Vicks regularly.
Now for the interesting part: how to actually use Vicks VapoRub to treat a fungal infection.
1. Cut your affected toenail
First, trim your toenail that’s affected by the fungus. You want to cut it short so that it’s not poking up from your skin.
This will help remove potentially infectious parts of the nail, and ensure that the infection doesn’t spread. It’ll also improve the effectiveness of the treatment. Be sure to clean your nail clippers with hot soapy water or rubbing alcohol after using them on your nail.
2. Wash your foot
Give your foot a thorough wash, making sure to rub around the affected toenail. This will remove any lingering bacteria or other microorganisms that could worsen the condition of your toenail.
Dry it carefully with a soft towel. Keep in mind that the fungi on your toenail loves moisture, and can easily spread to the groin, feet, head, or other nails, so it’s essential that you don’t come into direct contact with your infected nail.
3. Scoop out some Vicks with a spoon
Use a spoon to scoop out a small amount of Vicks. It’s important to use your spoon and not your applicator, as it would be unhygienic to use, say, a cotton ball to apply the Vicks to your toenail, then re-dip it in the Vicks for a second helping.
Remember also that touching your toenail directly is a bad idea.
4. Apply Vicks to your foot
Next, carefully apply the Vicks to your toenail, making sure it covers your entire nail. We recommend using a cotton ball to do the job.
To get the Vicks around all the edges of your toenail, you can use a smaller cotton bud for extra efficiency.
5. Cover the toe
Once you’ve applied the Vicks, rub it in thoroughly, then cover your toenail with a bandage or a sock. This will stop the Vicks from rubbing off on your surroundings, and will help it absorb more effectively.
You should aim to wait upwards of 30 minutes before washing the Vicks off and drying your nail completely.
Repeat the process twice daily. If you can, leave the Vicks on overnight while you sleep.
The length of treatment depends on the severity of the infection, but in all instances, you’ll need patience for the process – it’s normal for it to take several months to produce the desired result. Fungi can adapt well to their environment, which is why it’s so important to apply the Vicks twice a day.
Vicks VapoRub isn’t an overnight fungal nail cure, but there’s evidence to suggest that it makes an effective treatment if you’re willing to persevere with it.
It’s a good idea to continue your Vicks treatment for a duration of time after the nail fungus infection has subsided. This will make sure that the fungus is completely destroyed, and will minimize the chance of reinfection.
Also, make sure to disinfect your shoes, sheets and carpets if you’re experiencing relentless fungal nail infections. When you put your infected feet into your shoes, you’ll leave behind fungal spores.
This means that when you wear your shoes again after your infection has cleared, it’ll reintroduce the fungus to your feet. Nobody wants that recurring nightmare.