How To Get Rid Of Build Up Under Toenails: The Ultimate Guide

Many people get embarrassed because of the gunk under their toenails.

However, it is not that difficult to remove, provided that you know how to go about getting rid of it.

Here, it is important to understand that many types of toenail fungus begin with debris under the toenails.

The single most common type of build-up consists of keratin debris. If left unchecked, it can lead to many toenail build-up related issues.   

From crumbling nails to a nasty odor, toenail build-up is responsible for many problems.

However, keratin itself is not the culprit since it is a naturally-produced protein.

You need it if you want to keep your toenails healthy so that they would retain their tough exterior.

Unfortunately, fungal infections can easily disrupt the production of keratin in your nails and if the fungus is bad enough, it can break it down completely.

In addition to that, mud, dirt, and other substances can also lead to build-up under the toenails.

Here are a few techniques that you can use to remove the unpleasant build-up under your toenails:

Always Try And Maintain Proper Hygiene

how to get rid of buildup under toenails

This is a great way to not just avoid build-up under the toenails but also to cure this problem, once and for all.

You should clean your feet as thoroughly as you can when you take a bath. Apart from that, it is advisable to refrain from walking barefoot.

This holds particularly true for public places such as showers, swimming pools, etc.

All of these places are breeding grounds for fungus and bacteria that are looking for any unwary passerby.

Take Adequate Precautions When Going For A Pedicure

how to get rid of buildup under toenails

You should always be extra careful of the tools that your pedicurist will use on and around your feet.  

This holds particularly true if you really like your pedicure sessions a lot and have them a couple of times every month.

You should keep in mind that all those instruments that are not properly sanitized and/or sterilized become breeding grounds for toenail fungus.

It is best practice to only go for a reputable pedicure specialist or alternately get a home pedicure kit.

This is the ideal way to remain completely safe from fungal infections. The tools will not be used on any one’s nails.

Therefore, you will remain completely clean and totally safe from all other nail-related problems as well.

Apply An Anti-Fungal Cream On The Affected Areas

how to get rid of buildup under toenails with antifungal cream

The treatment of any sort of build-up under your toenail will also depend on the underlying cause.

As a general rule, it is a direct result of toenail fungal infection.

This is why the application of topical antifungal cream can be of great help in eliminating the fungus.

It is not necessary for you to only use creams since many edible anti-fungal medications are also equally effective.  

Whichever cream you use, it is important that you should try and apply it for extended periods of time.

This is because such infections tend to be very stubborn and don’t go away easily.

However, with regular application of the cream, the debris will become soft and you will be able to remove it easily with the help of a nail cleaning tool.  

Many unseemly build-ups under the toenails are usually caused by a fungus. This is why using such medicine can treat the main cause behind the build-up.  

Some of the more common antifungal medicines include the following:

  • Terbinafine (Lamisil):
  • Itraconazole (Sporanox)
  • Fluconazole (Diflucan)

Tea Tree Oil

how to get rid of buildup under toenails with tea tree oil

Tea tree oil is a well-tested home remedy that helps in getting rid of nail fungus infections.

It helps in removing toenail build up because of its natural antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. It contains a compound that is known as Terpenin-4-ol.

Not only does this compound kill toenail build-up causing fungi but regular application also ensures that it doesn’t reappear.

The best way to use this oil is to first thoroughly clean your nail and let it dry naturally.

After that, you should dip a clean cotton ball into the oil and smear it all over the affected nail. You should leave it on the nail for at least half an hour or so.

It is advisable to continue treatment until the build-up causing infection is completely gone.

However, this is a bit of an extreme remedy. In fact, using this essential oil without anything to dilute its potency can cause itchiness.

It is always better to be cautious and to use coconut or olive oil mixed with tea tree oil so that the essential oil can do its job without causing any discomfort.

When purchasing tea tree oil, you should make sure that you are getting only the essential oil itself.

That is,  not any of its derivatives oils that only contain this compound as just one of many other ingredients.

Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice

how to get rid of buildup under toenails with lemon juice

Lemon has very high levels of concentrated citric acid. This can help to stop keratin fungal nail infection in your toenails and prevent it from spreading further. 

You should drip a few drops of lemon juice directly over your affected toenail and let it remain for at least 10 minutes.

After that, you should wash your feet in lukewarm water only.

However, it is not a good idea to use raw lemon juice. In case your skin is broken, the acid will sting very badly and it can hurt a lot.

A more effective remedy is to mix the juice with olive oil. You can massage this mixture all over the affected areas.

By doing so, you will be able to reap the maximum benefit of the lemon juice without causing your skin to burn or sting.


how to get rid of buildup under toenails

All of the above remedies can help you to answer the question of how to get rid of build-up under toenails. 

You can use them individually as a standalone treatment or you can use multiple treatments together in order to remove the buildup under your toenails. 

Remember also to clean your feet thoroughly to ensure that you don’t have to face any other problems in the long run.

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how to get rid of buildup under toenails