Chlorine and toenail fungus.

For years I’ve had fungal infections in my toenails. I’ve even had two removed, but they grew back. Over the last few months I’ve been going to the pool almost every day and my toenails have never looked better. Now the pool is closed for the summer and I’m worried that my “rotty toes” are going to come back.

I wonder if there is some solution I can make up at home, like bleach and water, to soak my feet in?

For spas, I’ve seen 1/4 tsp/gallon recommended. (To disinfect 1 gallon of water for drinking, it’s 4 drops per gallon. The standard disinfecting solution for commercial kitchens is 1 tsp per gallon of water, which is way too strong for skin.) The disinfecting components fade away a couple hours after mixing, even though you can still smell the chlorine smell. That stuff is so nasty, though, I wonder if there’s something else that might work.

In the People’s Pharmacy column in the newspaper, people often recommend slathering Vick’s VapoRub and Listerine on toenails to cure them. Google it to see.

Now that you mention it, that rings a bell.

What about getting a script from your doctor for Lamisil? The pills kill the fungus from the inside vs. treating just the nail.

Lamisil is not for everyone. It has some pretty serious possible side effects too. I wouldn’t want to take it. Plus I’ve heard it can come back, that some people are just more prone to toenail fungus. My SO battles them all the time. I think it might be because he sweats so much out in the heat but refuses to alternate shoes. I bleach his socks and buy new ones frequently but still they come back.

I wonder what happens eventually if you don’t treat them. Do they spread to your fingers or up your leg?

I’m not sure if it can spread to your fingernails but that is something I really worry about. I have perfect fingernails. When I worked at a bank, clients would regularly ask me about my fingernails. I would be mortified if my lovely fingernails ended up looking like my toenails.

May I recommend common kitchen white vinegar, applied twice daily with a dropper and allowed to dry (which only takes a couple of minutes)?

I don’t know anything about using bleach, I have never tried it. But I did use vinegar, because I read online that fungus can’t live in an acid environment. It immediately killed all the fungus on the surface and on the skin around the toenail (it was the large toe on the left foot) - I didn’t realize how much was on the surface. Then it started killing the fungus under the nail. Every day a little bit more. It took 5 months for the nail to grow out - at the end I realized that almost the only thing holding the nail on had been the fungus, and I had to wrap it so it wouldn’t tear off until I was ready to cut off all the loose part.

The fungus never came back, either.

Thank you, I’m going to try this.

I’ve read this suggestion (Vics) dozens of times, but they never say how long to do it! Are we talking days, weeks, months, forever?

My doctor said the prescriptions had too many side effects and suggested that some old times used Mentholatum which I’m guessing is much like VapoRub and that it would take months if it worked at all. I tried it for 3-4 months and got distracted. The fungus spread to other nails.

Google it, which is what anybody answering you would have to do for you.

I had one toenail with a mild case of fungus. Vapo-Rub daily for a few months seemed to stop it cold. That nail still ain’t quite right (ref Southernisms’ thread), but it’s almost normal. Progress against teh infection was obvious after a month or so.

One thing I did was always keep it cut short & whenever I cut it back make sure to apply vapo-rub to the end, trying to work it under the nail where the fungus lives. It’s been a couple years now since it was cured and I only use the vapo-rub maybe once every couple months.

The other thing my doc recommended was to keep a separate set of tools for working on infected vs uninfected nails. Separate scissors, separate file, etc. I used a separate file since emery boards are cheap. And I made sure to cut the infected nail last and soak the scissors overnight (or two) in rubbing alchohol so they’d be disinfected for the next use. I never had any spreading problem.

I also alternated shoes daily.

Isn’t that uncomfortable?

I’m currently trying the Vicks cure. I think it is working, but won’t know until the nail grows out completely.

Only one toenail was affected, it was thick, crumbly and yellow. I trimmed it back as far as I could (about a third left). I keep it filed thin and apply Vicks daily, then cover with a fingertip bandage.

It takes a long time, I’ve been at it for almost two months and expect to keep it up for another two or three.

It spreads to your fingers, and then it somehow spreads to your nose and your groin.

Actually, I spent a fair amount of last year working on trail crews, and washing dishes generally involved rinsing in stream or lake water in a tub with a cap full of bleach. My finger nails looked quite good after that, and I would usually splash a little on my face, which helped keep my complexion reasonable when I wouldn’t shower for 20+ days.

And as I said, they never tell you how long. :rolleyes:

FWIW, VapoRub worked a treat for me.

Frankly, the scientific evidence shows that there’s no real effective topical treatment thus far. The rate of cure for vaporub is really not statistically significantly better than for a placebo rub.

Systemic lamisil and diflucan (ie the pill form) are about the only things with a really decent track record of knocking out the nail infection. Some studies show sporanox as effective, others show it to not be real helpful.

A nice patient education summary on the topic here: Diseases and Conditions -

I have cured it twice with the Lamisil pills (VERY expensive if you don’t have insurance, around $1200 for the three month course) But it always came back. I tried the Vicks vapo rub, but it was such a tedious routine every day that I didn’t stick with it. When I went back to the foot doctor a few months ago, he gave me his home-made “recipe” which is simply one part bleach to ten parts water. I just dab it on the nail with a q-tip everyday after I shower, and it seems to be eating the nasty nail slowly and methodically. I now have only about an eighth of an inch of yuck left to grow out, everything else from the cuticle up looks good as new. Next time I trim it should pretty much be all gone.

I know this stuff generates from inside, which is why the pills are most effective, but if you eat away enough of the outside gunk, the topical stuff eventually starts to seep inside where the real battle is fought.

ETA: The best part about curing this is I am wearing sandals in public with no shame for the first time in several years. :slight_smile: Its torture to have cute sandals and not be able to show them off!

Lamasil can be damaging to your liver and generally a person can’t find a physician willing to prescribe it for long enough to do the job. Ideally the prescibing Dr. should be running a periodic liver check if you are using this medicine.

Three months of usage is standard around here and rarely long enough. It takes a large toenail from six to twelve months to completely grow out.

The vaporub has done wonders for several people I know. At bedtime trim the nail down, rub the ointment around all edges of the nail and put on a pair of cotton stockings. Repeat nightly for a week or two and you should see some positive results by then.