Thick, discolored nails that crack and crumble easily are the hallmarks of toenail fungus. It can spread from toe to toe if it’s not treated. Sometimes the fungus affects the skin between the toes, giving you athlete’s foot (1).
The good news is that you can get rid of both kinds of infection with the best essential oils for toenail fungus. It’s true, scientists have tested essential oils for fungus (also called onychomycosis) on the skin and nails (2).
They discovered that the strongest antifungal essential oils include thyme, oregano, and tea tree. One study continued for an entire year and nearly 80% of the participants cured the fungus with a blend of essential oils and vitamin E (3).
- 1 How to get rid of toenail fungus
- 2 Best Essential Oils for Toenail Fungus in 2022
- 2.1 Now Essential Oils, Clove Oil
- 2.2 Desert Essence 100% Australian Tea Tree Oil
- 2.3 Plant Therapy Organic Lavender Essential Oil
- 2.4 SVA Organics 100% Natural Oregano Essential Oil
- 2.5 Plant Therapy Thyme Thymol Organic Essential Oil
- 2.6 Plant Therapy Cinnamon Bark Essential Oil
- 2.7 NZ Country 100% Manuka Essential Oil
- 3 Conclusion
How to get rid of toenail fungus
Here is a tried and true nail fungus essential oil blend recipe called “thieves oil”. You’ll also need a carrier oil like fractionated coconut, sweet almond, or even olive oil from your kitchen.
First, round up the following essential oils:
- 2 drops of cinnamon (not the fragrance oil but one that comes from cinnamon bark or cassia)
- 8 drops of clove
- 3 drops of eucalyptus
- 7 drops of lemon
- 2 drops of rosemary
If possible, store the blend in a dark-colored glass bottle similar to what essential oil comes in normally. This keeps sunlight from weakening the oil’s potency.
For every 3 drops of this blend, you’ll need 1 teaspoon of carrier oil. Massage it into clean, dry toenails and skin and wait for it to absorb before dressing.
Repeat this treatment morning and night, but don’t expect to see noticeable results for a few weeks. It works just as slowly as antifungal nail polish and similar treatments you can buy at the drugstore.
By the way, using a carrier oil is crucial for protecting yourself against allergic reactions and sensitization. Essential oils are surprisingly potent and diluting them doesn’t weaken them – it only makes them safe to use on the skin.
In the meantime, here are other steps to prevent and get rid of toenail fungus.
- Dry your feet completely every time they get wet (a fungus is a type of plant that needs water to thrive)
- Change your socks daily or more often if they are damp
- Rotate shoes to let them air out on alternating days or wear sandals
- Treat shoes with antifungal powder or spray
- Trim nails straight across and file down the thick parts
- Sanitize clippers, scissors, and nail file every time you use them (rubbing alcohol will do the trick)
- Apply antifungal essential oils twice daily
- Feel free to use moisturizer, too – just let it absorb before putting on socks
In summary, it takes time to get rid of toenail fungus, but Nature is on your side. Check out the best essential oils for toenail fungus and athlete’s foot below:
|The best essential oils for toenail fungus||Highlights|
|Now Essential Oils, Clove Oil||
|Desert Essence 100% Australian Tea Tree Oil||
|Plant Therapy Organic Lavender Essential Oil||
|SVA Organics 100% Natural Oregano Essential Oil||
|Plant Therapy Thyme Thymol Organic Essential Oil||
|Plant Therapy Cinnamon Bark Essential Oil||
|NZ Country 100% Manuka Essential Oil||
Best Essential Oils for Toenail Fungus in 2022
Now Essential Oils, Clove Oil
Clove oil is a powerful antifungal used in the popular blend called Thieves Oil. But you don’t have to blend it with anything but a carrier oil to treat nail fungus. (Please, please dilute this oil because it can burn the skin – it’s just that strong).
For every teaspoon of carrier oil, add 2 drops of clove and massage into the skin and nail. Repeat twice daily for as long as it takes to clear up the fungus.
Keep in mind that the average human nail grows about 3mm per month, so it may take months for the nail to grow in healthy and unaffected. What you’re doing by treating it is preventing the fungus from spreading and damaging the nail further or affecting the skin around the nail.
As for the brand, we like the American family-owned brand NOW Essential Oils as it has a stringent in-house testing process. Its multi-step assessment of each essential oil ensures that each one is 100% pure, undiluted, and clean. Moreover, the company sells straight to the public at affordable prices.
This clove oil is steam-distilled from buds, stems, and leaves of the Eugenia caryophyllata plant. It has a delicious spicy aroma and can be diffused for aromatherapy.
- Proven antifungal oil steam-distilled from the Eugenia caryophyllata plant
- Has met stringent purity and quality standards, undiluted, 100% pure
- From a family-owned brand in the USA
- Affordable and sold straight to the public
- Very potent essential oil that requires dilution before treating the skin and nails
Desert Essence 100% Australian Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is also known as melaleuca which is the name of the plant in Australia that it comes from. Not only is it antifungal, but it’s also antibacterial and anti-inflammatory. It’s useful for treating acne, rosacea, dandruff, and fungal infections in the skin and nails.
Search the scientific literature and you’ll see several studies that show tea tree oil’s effectiveness whether it’s in vitro or on human skin and nails. It’s proven to work over and over again, and it doesn’t have nasty side effects like some medications have.
Although not everyone appreciates the earthy aroma, tea tree oil is excellent for fighting foot odor, too.
There is one caveat, however. Never, never consume tea tree oil because it’s poisonous. Yes, we know that it’s possible to get tea tree toothpaste, but we’re betting it’s a special formulation with a low concentration – and toothpaste isn’t to be swallowed anyway.
As for the manufacturer, Desert Essence is an American brand that’s been crafting natural personal care products since 1978. (Our editor has used this brand’s tea tree face wash to manage rosacea and has had excellent results with reducing redness and preventing pustules).
- Pure essential oil derived from the melaleuca plant of Australia
- Clears up toenail fungus, athlete’s foot, acne, jock itch, dandruff, and rosacea
- From an American brand with 4 decades of experience
- Tea tree oil should never be consumed internally as it’s poisonous
- Always dilute before using on the skin (see instructions at the beginning of the article)
Plant Therapy Organic Lavender Essential Oil
Lavender is an easy to obtain and inexpensive essential oil. It’s popular for treating bug bites and wrinkles and its aroma is perfect for winding down before sleep. But did you also know it’s a strong antifungal? Plus, it blends well with other essential oils.
If you purchase it from Plant Therapy, you can get it in a variety of sizes from small to large. Moreover, this is organic lavender raised without harmful pesticides. Each batch of oil has passed multiple rounds of testing including gas chromatography, mass spectrometry, and an organoleptic review. The company uses third-party laboratories, too.
All of the batch test results are available for customers to see. The company also has certified aromatherapists available to answer questions.
- Antifungal oil that treats wounds, toenail fungus, and more
- Excellent for aromatherapy to relax the mind
- Available in different sizes of bottle
- Certified organic raised without harmful pesticides
- Has passed third-party testing including GC/MS and organoleptic
- Company has certified aromatherapists available to answer questions
- None – just remember to dilute
SVA Organics 100% Natural Oregano Essential Oil
This oregano oil isn’t food-grade, but it is certified organic, Kosher, and GMO-free. It’s produced by an ISO-certified facility located in India that sources from organic farms. Part of the production process includes analysis like gas chromatography and mass spectrometry to make certain that the oil is free of diluents and contaminants. Furthermore, it comes with a satisfaction guarantee.
Oregano oil treats toenail fungus, and it’s also helpful for hair growth. Use the included dropper to measure out 3 drops of oregano for every teaspoon of carrier oil, then apply the blend to the affected toes.
- Treats fungal infections and used for stimulating hair growth
- Certified organic oil that has passed rigorous analysis for purity and quality
- Also certified Kosher
- Comes with a satisfaction guarantee
- None – please remember to dilute the oil before using it on the nails or skin
Plant Therapy Thyme Thymol Organic Essential Oil
Send toenail fungus packing when you blend thyme oil with oregano and tea tree. (See the study mentioned in the introduction). We went back to Plant Therapy to find the purest thyme oil with a high concentration of thymol, the active antifungal component. It’s USDA-certified organic and free of any fillers or additives.
What’s more, thyme oil may boost the immune system when used for aromatherapy. Try blending it with spruce or fir to relieve congestion.
- Potent antifungal oil with a high concentration of thymol
- USDA-certified organic with no fillers or diluents
- Also good for relieving congestion (aromatherapy)
- None – please dilute with a carrier before using on the skin or nails
Plant Therapy Cinnamon Bark Essential Oil
Cinnamon bark essential oil is steam-distilled from the bark of the Cinnamomun verum tree. It’s different from cassia which is sometimes used in its place. It’s not a fragrance oil, but it smells fantastic when diffused for aromatherapy. Try it with orange or vanilla (or both) for a cozy atmosphere, or on its own when you need a little extra energy.
But here’s the catch: Plant Therapy recommends a maximum dilution of 0.1% for topical applications. Do not use it to treat toenail fungus if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.
Cinnamon oil is extremely strong and will burn the skin. Worse, if you get it on a finger and rub your eye, you’ll never forget the experience.
With that said, what exactly is a 0.1% dilution? Well, 1% is one drop of essential oil per teaspoon of carrier oil. And 0.1% is one drop per 10 teaspoons of carrier. In other words, this little bottle of cinnamon oil will last a long time because you don’t need to use very much at all to reap the benefits.
If you have other questions about antifungal toenail oils, the company has certified aromatherapists available to answer them.
- Pure, steam-distilled Cinnamomun verum
- Extremely potent antifungal with a pleasing aroma
- Also suitable for aromatherapy
- It’s crucial to dilute this oil before using on the skin or nails
- Not for pregnant or breastfeeding women
NZ Country 100% Manuka Essential Oil
Manuka essential oil is extracted by steam distillation of the Leptospermums coparium plant of Manuka honey fame. The oil comes from New Zealand, but it’s tested for purity and bottled in the USA.
Not only is it suitable for treating nail fungus, but it’s also helpful for ringworm, rashes, athletes foot, bug bites, acne, and wounds. It’s a natural antimicrobial agent full of triketones with many medicinal applications for humans and animals. Some say it’s ten times more potent than tea tree oil. After all, it’s been used to fight antibiotic-resistant infections, too.
If you’re not a fan of the aroma, keep in mind that Manuka oil blends well with lavender.
- Steam-distilled from the Leptospermums coparium plant of New Zealand
- Tested and bottled in the USA
- Rich in triketones to treat fungal and bacterial infections
- Blends well with lavender
- Not the best smelling essential oil
Avoid unwanted side effects by using essential oils to get rid of toenail fungus. We hope these reviews of the best oils for fungal infections help you find what you need today.
Check back soon to learn more about natural skin care. In the meantime, keep your feet dry and treat them twice a day so that you can enjoy healthy nails again soon.
1. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/nail-fungus/symptoms-causes/syc-20353294 by Mayo Clinic Staff, accessed December 8, 2021
2. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/ptr.1164 In vitro antagonistic activity of monoterpenes and their mixtures against ‘toe nail fungus’ pathogens, by Russel S. Ramsewak, Muraleedharan G. Nair, Manfred Stommel, Louise Selanders, first published: 15 April 2003 https://doi.org/10.1002/ptr.1164
3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6995982/ Alessandrini, Aurora et al. “An Open Study to Evaluate Effectiveness and Tolerability of a Nail Oil Composed of Vitamin E and Essential Oils in Mild to Moderate Distal Subungual Onychomycosis.” Skin appendage disorders vol. 6,1 (2020): 14-18. doi:10.1159/000503305