Yellow Toenail

Tips For Clearing Up Yellow Toenail Fungus

A yellow toenail is usually caused by a fungal infection such as Onychomycosis.  Fungus grows easily in dark and moist areas. Since the feet are covered in socks and shoes so much, they don’t get a chance to breath, they get sweaty.  This can promote the fungal infection that causes yellow toenail, which is usually accompanied by toenails thickening and become weak, pulling away from the skin on the toe at the outer edges of the nail.

Because yellow toenail is difficult to treat, prevention is the first defense.  Allow your feet to breathe, and dry thoroughly after swimming and bathing.  If you have a clean area in which to walk in your home, walk barefoot often, giving your feet the benefit of fresh air, light, and time to cool down.

In severe cases, the yellow toenail condition causes permanent damage. This happens when the nail no longer protects the toenail bed skin.

Some possible causes of yellow toenail: 

  1. If you injure a toe and the surface cracks or breaks, this can allow moisture to enter the toenail bed.
  2. It can be contracted at the gym, health club or swimming pool.
  3. Use of unclean nail files, clippers and other nail products
  4. Wearing shoes or socks that are not completely dry.

To prevent this fungus, do not wear the same shoes more than 8 hours.  Allow shoes to dry overnight before wearing again.  Leave your shoes out, rather than in a dark closet, preferably where the sun is shining, by a window or outside during warm times of the year.  

Wear 100% cotton sox and leather rather than vinyl shoes or sandals.  Vinyl or manufactured faux leather causes significantly more sweating, especially in hot weather, than the genuine article.  Always wear socks or stockings with all but sandals. The feet sweat more if you are wearing closed shoes without socks.

As often as possible, wear opened sandals; they allow your feet to receive fresh air and light all day long.


  1. Tea tree oil, or a topical agent containing menthol, such as Vicks vapor rub.  Use every night after showering, and be sure not to miss a night.  The toes can clear up in as little as 3 weeks.  If they don’t, use the oil or Vicks twice a day. For some, it can take almost a year.  But these topical agents make the nail appear healthy, and they stop pain, even if not completely eradicating the fungus. 
  2. A home treatment that’s proved successful for many people is a mixture of equal parts of baking powder and lemon juice.  Form a paste and rub a small amount into the center of the nail.
  3. Another home make treatment is juniper berries (available at health food stores).  Crush a small amount of berries and put in a tub of steaming hot water.  Wait until cool enough and soak the sore yellow toenail in the water.
  4. Surgical removal of the infected nail:  This is a minor procedure. A new nail will grow back. If successful, it will grow back without the fungus. If not, it will become the same as before the operation.  There is nothing to lose trying this approach if all others have failed.