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How To Treat Nail Fungus With Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil has great antifungal and antimicrobial properties that can cure nail fungal infections. The oil can be used in different ways for treatment. These include topical application, scrubbing, and soaking. All 3 methods can be followed using just diluted tea tree oil or tea tree oil blends. Compatible ingredients include olive, lavender, coconut, basil, and sage oils; rubbing alcohol; apple cider vinegar; and more.

Nail fungus or onychomycosis is when fungus or a form of mold grows beneath our nails. This causes the nails to become discolored and weak. The causes for this vary – from a low immunity, excessive sweating or spending time in the water to diabetes.

This infection is quite easy to treat at home, and one of your best options is tea tree oil. Tea tree oil is antifungal, targets and kill the fungus absorbed deep into the skin, and improves the skin quality as well. Its effectiveness has been seen to be equivalent to that of prescribed medications.1

Here’s how you can use tea tree oil to treat nail fungus.

Topical Application Of Tea Tree Oil

Applying tea tree oil to your nails can reduce fungal infections and prevent further growth.

Alttext: Applying tea tree oil to your nails can reduce fungal infections and prevent further growth.

The standard way of using tea tree oil for nail fungus is to apply topically on the affected area and letting it rest. Here’s how you can do it properly:

  1. Dilute about 3 drops of the oil with 1 tbsp water.
  2. Apply this on your nails with a cotton ball and let it dry completely.
  3. Rinse with water and dry using a towel.
  4. Repeat the process once a day.

Alternatively, you can also use certain tea tree oil combinations for topical application. There might just be a few tweaks to how it’s done.

1. With Olive Oil

Note that you can use either the oil made from olive leaf extract, virgin olive oil, or ozonated oil.

  • Take equal quantities of tea tree and olive oil and mix thoroughly.
  • You can apply this once a day until the infection goes away.

2. With Calendula Flowers And Garlic

Calendula flowers with antifungal and garlic with antimicrobial properties are an amazing solution for nail fungus when combined with tea tree oil.2

  • Take 3 tsp of olive oil and heat it on a low flame.
  • Add 10 shredded calendula leaves and 4 garlic cloves and let it simmer for about 7 minutes.
  • Take it off the fire, strain, and let it rest overnight.
  • Add 3 tsp of tea tree oil and 1 tbsp of vitamin E oil to this.
  • You can apply this mixture up to 3 times a day.

3. With Lavender Oil

Lavender oil is a perfect addition as it is an antiseptic that can fight against fungal growth.

  • Take equal quantities of tea tree and lavender oil and mix thoroughly.
  • You can apply this every day until the issue is resolved.

4. With Lavender Oil And Apple Cider Vinegar

This combined lotion is perfect for moderate-to-severe fungal infections in your nails.

  • Add 6 drops of tea tree and 10 drops of lavender oil to 4 tsp of apple cider vinegar in a dark glass bottle and shake.
  • To this, add 1/8 cup of distilled, boiled water or rose water and mix.
  • You can apply this up to 4 times a day.

5. With Neem Oil

Most essential oils are antifungal, antibacterial, and antiseptic, which helps in treating nail fungus.

Alttext: Most essential oils are antifungal, antibacterial, and antiseptic, which helps in treating nail fungus.

Neem oil is an effective antifungal, antibacterial, and antiseptic.

  • Mix 2 drops each of tea tree and neem oil with 1 tbsp of extra virgin oil.3
  • You can apply this mixture twice a day.

6. With Coconut Oil

The fatty acids in coconut oil disintegrate the fungus and reduce infection. Also, the oil is a great natural moisturizer and improves skin quality.4

  • Add 15 drops of tea tree oil to 1/4 cup of coconut oil.
  • Pour it into a glass container, mix thoroughly, and let it solidify.
  • Apply this mixture to the affected nails 2–3 times a day until the infection goes away. Preferably do so right after taking a shower and before going to bed.

7. With Mustard Oil

Mustard oil is an antimicrobial that can reduce mild-to-moderate nail fungus infections.5

  • Mix 3 drops of tea tree oil with 1 tbsp mustard oil.
  • You can apply this mixture up to 2 times a day.

8. With Oregano Oil

Oregano contains a substance called carvacrol, which is a strong antifungal agent.6

  • Add 30 drops each of tea tree and oregano oil to 3 tbsp of coconut oil.
  • Apply this mixture to the affected nails once a day as long as required.

9. With Aloe Vera Gel

Aloe vera contains antifungal properties, which makes it perfect for the treatment of nail fungus.7

  • Mix fresh aloe vera gel and tea tree oil in a ratio of 1:3.
  • You can apply this mixture once every day.

10. With Baking Soda

Baking soda is a brilliant antifungal product that also balances the pH levels in the affected area.8

  • Mix the following ingredients: 3 drops each of tea tree, basil, and sage oil and 2 tsp each of arrowroot powder and baking soda.
  • Apply the mixture, wear socks, and leave it on for 20 minutes before washing it clean.
  • Repeat once a day.

11. With Lemon Juice

Tea tree oil combined with other oils and ingredients can be really effective in the treatment of nail fungus.

Alttext: Tea tree oil combined with other oils and ingredients can be really effective in the treatment of nail fungus.

Apart from its antiseptic and antifungal properties, lemons contain citric acid, which stops the growth of the fungal infection.9

  • Add 2 drops of tea tree oil to the juice of 1 lemon.
  • Apply this mixture on the affected area up to 2 times a day.

12. With Cornstarch

Cornstarch is good if you have to wear shoes all day long and cannot let your feet air, like sportsmen. This is because cornstarch soaks up the moisture from your socks and shoes and helps keep the feet dry.

  • Add 15 drops of tea tree and 10 drops of lavender oil to 4 tbsp of cornstarch in a zip lock bag.
  • Lock it, shake it thoroughly, and let it rest for a day.
  • Apply this on the affected area every day before wearing your socks.

13. With Pau d’Arco

The Pau d’Arco herb contains multiple antifungal components that prevent and stops the growth of fungal infections.10

  • Mix 1/4 tsp of tea tree oil with 8 tbsp apple cider vinegar, 2 tbsp Pau d’Arco tincture, 1/4 tsp of lavender oil, and 1/8 tsp of peppermint oil.
  • Soak a cotton ball in this mixture and hold it against the affected area for about 20 minutes.
  • Remove and pat the nail dry.
  • Repeat up to 3 times a day.

14. With Camphor Oil

Camphor oil can be really effective with antifungal infections.

  • Add 3 drops of tea tree oil and 2 drops of camphor oil to 4 tbsp of coconut oil in a glass container.
  • Mix it thoroughly and shake it well before use.
  • Apply it to the affected nail(s) up to 4 times a day.

15. With Rubbing Alcohol

Rubbing alcohol is commonly used to create a sterile environment and hence is perfect for treating fungal infections.

  • Mix 20 drops of tea tree oil with 10 drops grapeseed oil and 2 tbsp rubbing alcohol.
  • Shake it well in a spray bottle.
  • You can spray this mixture on the affected area once a day.

Apart from the topical application of tea tree oil for nail fungus, you can also use it to scrub the area clean and soak out the infection.

Soaking With Tea Tree Oil

You can soak the nail with the fungus infection in tea tree oil to let it get absorbed deep into the skin.

Alttext: You can soak the nail with the fungus infection in tea tree oil to let it get absorbed deep into the skin.

This can be done using just tea tree oil or a blend. Soaking is also followed by a gentle scrub in some cases. This method prevents further growth of the fungus and also exfoliates your skin and removes dead cells.

  1. Take a bowl that could fit your nails and fill it with warm water.
  2. Add about 6 drops of tea tree oil and mix it well before soaking your toenails in it.
  3. Do so for about half an hour and dry using a towel.

Alternatively, you can also use the following blend in this method:

With Apple Cider Vinegar

  • Add a cup of apple cider vinegar to the bowl of water and mix.
  • After soaking and drying your nails, apply diluted tea tree oil to the affected area and let it dry.
  • Alternatively, you can also mix the vinegar with tea tree oil and apply.
  • Repeat twice a day.

Scrubbing With Tea Tree Oil

Applying tea tree oil to the nail with the infection and scrubbing improves the chances of recovery.

Alttext: Applying tea tree oil to the nail with the infection and scrubbing improves the chances of recovery.

You can gently scrub your nails with just diluted tea tree oil or mixed with other essential oils and ingredients. However, the method of scrubbing is the same, as explained below:

  1. Dilute about 3 drops of the oil with 1 tbsp water.
  2. Apply this on your nails with a cotton ball and let it dry completely.
  3. Use a toothbrush to scrub the nail clean, as much as possible.
  4. Once done, clean up with cold water. Preferably, do this every day.

References   [ + ]

1. Buck, David S., David M. Nidorf, and John G. Addino. “Comparison of Two Topical Preparations for the Treatment of Onychomycosis: Melaleuca alternifolia.” The Journal of family practice 38, no. 6 (1994): 605.
2. Efstratiou, Efstratios, Abdullah I. Hussain, Poonam S. Nigam, John E. Moore, Muhammad A. Ayub, and Juluri R. Rao. “Antimicrobial activity of Calendula officinalis petal extracts against fungi, as well as Gram-negative and Gram-positive clinical pathogens.” Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice 18, no. 3 (2012): 173-176.
3. Mahmoud, D. A., N. M. Hassanein, K. A. Youssef, and Abou Zeid. “Antifungal activity of different neem leaf extracts and the nimonol against some important human pathogens.” Brazilian Journal of Microbiology 42, no. 3 (2011): 1007-1016.
4. Ogbolu, David Olusoga, Anthony Alaba Oni, Oluwole Adebayo Daini, and A. P. Oloko. “In vitro antimicrobial properties of coconut oil on Candida species in Ibadan, Nigeria.” Journal of medicinal food 10, no. 2 (2007): 384-387.
5. Mejia-Garibay, Beatriz, Enrique Palou, and Aurelio Lopez-Malo. “Composition, diffusion, and antifungal activity of black mustard (Brassica nigra) essential oil when applied by direct addition or vapor phase contact.” Journal of food protection 78, no. 4 (2015): 843-848.
6. Cleff, Marlete Brum, Ana Raquel Meinerz, Melissa Xavier, Luiz Filipe Schuch, Mário Carlos Araújo Meireles, Maria Regina Alves Rodrigues, and João Roberto Braga de Mello. “In vitro activity of Origanum vulgare essential oil against Candida species.” Brazilian Journal of Microbiology 41, no. 1 (2010): 116-123.
7. Saniasiaya, Jeyasakthy, Rosdan Salim, Irfan Mohamad, and Azian Harun. “Antifungal effect of Malaysian Aloe vera leaf extract on selected fungal species of pathogenic otomycosis species in in vitro culture medium.” Oman medical journal 32, no. 1 (2017): 41.
8. Letscher-Bru, V., C. M. Obszynski, M. Samsoen, M. Sabou, J. Waller, and E. Candolfi. “Antifungal activity of sodium bicarbonate against fungal agents causing superficial infections.” Mycopathologia 175, no. 1-2 (2013): 153-158.
9. Oikeh, Ehigbai I., Ehimwenma S. Omoregie, Faith E. Oviasogie, and Kelly Oriakhi. “Phytochemical, antimicrobial, and antioxidant activities of different citrus juice concentrates.” Food science & nutrition 4, no. 1 (2016): 103-109.
10. Pau d’arco. University of Maryland.

Disclaimer: The content is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional.

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