How To Use Garlic For Toenail Fungus? Does It Really Work?


Toenail fungus, or onychomycosis, can be stubborn to treat. Garlic has powerful antifungal properties that may help cure toenail fungus naturally. Read on to learn how to properly use garlic to eliminate fungal nail infections for clear healthy nails.

Toenail Fungus Treatment With Garlic

Garlic contains the sulfur compound allicin which exhibits potent medicinal effects, including antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-fungal properties. This makes garlic a promising home remedy for combatting stubborn fungal toenail infections.

Garlic For Toenails

Using garlic both topically and orally may help kill the fungus, control infection spread, and prevent recurrence. However, consistency is required as treating toenail fungus takes patience. Garlic should be used in combination with good foot hygiene for optimal results.

Lifestyle Measures To Improve Toenail Health

Before using garlic, adopting healthy habits sets the stage for combating fungal infections:

➜ Keep feet clean and dry using moisture-wicking socks and athletic shoes when active

➜ Disinfect pedicure tools and avoid sharing instruments

➜ Clip toenails straight across to avoid ingrown nails

➜ Treat athlete’s foot immediately to prevent spread to nails

➜ Wear shower shoes in public facilities to prevent contamination

➜ Apply antifungal powder regularly to the toes

Healthy toenails are less prone to fungal takeover. Garlic works best alongside these preventive measures.

Related: Are Toenail Fungus Contagious? What You Need To Know

Using Garlic Topically

Applying garlic directly to affected nails brings its antifungal compounds into direct contact with infections. Here’s how to use it topically:

◾️ Crush 2-3 garlic cloves to form a paste. Apply it directly onto clean infected nails.

◾️ Secure the paste against nails using a bandage or adhesive tape. Leave it on for at least 1-2 hours.

◾️ Use a Q-tip to pack crushed garlic under the tip of infected nails. The sulfur leaches into the nail bed.

◾️ Soak a clean cotton ball with olive oil. Add minced garlic and dab over affected nails 2-3x daily.

◾️ Mix garlic oil or garlic extracts with coconut or olive oil and massage into nails 1-2x daily.

The allicin in garlic penetrates the nail, attacking fungi at the site for several hours at a time with consistent application.

Consuming Garlic Orally

Ingesting fresh garlic also aids in treating stubborn toenail fungus:

  • Taking garlic tablets or capsules daily helps fight fungal infections from inside the body. Look for allicin-containing supplements.
  • Adding raw minced garlic or garlic powder to foods and cooking provides antifungal effects. Shoot for 1-2 cloves or 1⁄4-1⁄2 tsp powder daily.
  • Drink garlic tea by steeping chopped garlic in hot water. Adding lemon boosts vitamin C for stronger nails and immunity.
  • Include garlic-rich recipes like hummus, gazpacho, aioli, shakshuka, and bruschetta in your weekly menu.

Consuming fresh raw garlic provides more antimicrobial activity than cooked garlic. But cooked garlic still retains some effectiveness.

Using Garlic Alongside Other Antifungals

Boost garlic’s yeast-fighting power by pairing it with other antifungal agents:

🔹 Apply garlic paste to nails and do a sea salt soak afterward to dry and shrink fungi.

🔹 Follow garlic oil massage with an application of probiotic yogurt to introduce beneficial bacteria.

🔹 After a garlic poultice, rub in a drop of oregano or clove essential oil which also combats fungal growth.

However, check for skin sensitivity to these complementary ingredients before combining them.

Assessing Improvement

Take photos every 4 weeks to compare subtle changes in discoloration and nail growth.

◾️ Keep nails trimmed to see the new nail growing underneath – a sign fungus is being eradicated.

◾️ Notice decreased crumbling and thickening of nails as new healthy nail emerges.

◾️ Reduction of white spots or streaks across the nail bed.

◾️ Decreased foot odor.

Pay attention to these small positive changes that indicate garlic is working to beat the fungus.

When To See A Doctor?

See your doctor if:

➜  No improvement after 3 months of diligent garlic treatment. New prescription antifungals may be needed.

➜ The fungal infection has spread to multiple toes and feet.

➜  Severe pain, swelling, foul odor, or ulcerations around the nail.

➜  Signs of nail bed infection – redness, warmth, pus.

➜  Diabetes or a compromised immune system puts you at high risk for complications.

Prescription oral antifungals are stronger than garlic and are required in some cases. Seeking professional guidance ensures you don’t risk complications.


With its potent allicin content, garlic is a smart first-line home treatment for mild-moderate toenail fungus. Use it preventively at the first signs of fungal nails before infection worsens and becomes embedded.

Consistently applying garlic topically and taking it orally provides a multipronged attack that can naturally beat stubborn nail fungus and get your toes healthy again.


1. How long does garlic take to cure toenail fungus?

Using garlic consistently can cure mild cases of fungal toenails in 4-6 months. Severe or neglected cases take longer, around 9-12 months. Patience is required.

2. What is the most effective way to use garlic for nail fungus?

Combining topical garlic pastes or soaks with oral garlic capsules and cooked garlic provides the most robust anti-fungal treatment. Using multiple delivery methods gets garlic attacking infection inside and out.

3. Can you put garlic directly on toenail fungus?

Yes, applying crushed raw garlic or a paste directly onto clean infected nails helps kill fungi at the source. Secure it against the nail and leave for 1-2 hours before rinsing.

4. How do you make a garlic soak for toenails?

Simmer 2 diced garlic cloves in 1 cup of water for 15 minutes. Allow to cool and soak feet for 20 minutes daily. Adding essential oils boosts the antifungal effects.

5. Does rubbing raw garlic on fungus work?

Yes, gently rubbing freshly crushed raw garlic directly over affected nails allows the allicin to penetrate the nail bed and attack the fungus. Leave for 1-2 hours before rinsing

More: Identify Different Types Of Toe Nail Fungus And Prevent All Varieties

Dr. Jun Ren is a dedicated and experienced registered dietitian and nutritionist who is committed to helping people achieve their health goals through personalized nutrition plans. With a passion for promoting healthy eating habits and preventing chronic diseases, Dr. Ren has been able to assist numerous clients in improving their overall quality of life.

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