How To Soften Ingrown Toenails: 9 Home Remedies That Work!

Ingrown toenails develop when parts of the nail start goring into the surrounding skin. This tears the skin, causing redness and swelling.

An ingrown toenail is not only aesthetically unappealing but it is also painful and can lead to infections.

If you have an ingrown toenail, you are likely to experience pain when pressure is placed on the toe.

Other major signs of ingrown toenails include overgrowth of skin around the area, a liquid build-up in the skin around the toenail, skin inflammation, bleeding, and pus.

There are different home remedies that you can try to treat an ingrown nail.

However, if home remedies don’t help or your ingrown toenail is infected, it is advisable to see a doctor.

The good news is that most ingrown toenails are easily treatable at home, especially in the early stages.

In order to do that, you must know how to soften ingrown toenails before you can trim them and promote proper growth.

Let’s take a look at some tried and tested home remedies that will help you fix an ingrown toenail without much hassle.

1. Warm Water Foot Soak

how to soften toenails ingrown

If you are wondering how to soften ingrown toenails, you will be glad to know that a simple foot soak can solve the problem.

This is one of the most convenient ways of fixing an ingrown toenail. All you have to do is soak your feet in warm, soapy water three times a day.

Let them rest in the water for around 20-25 minutes to see fast results.

Soaking will help reduce swelling and redness and will also work to soften the ingrown nail and the surrounding skin. Use castile soap for best results.

2. Use Epsom Salt For Ingrown Toenails

how to soften toenails ingrown

Take it a step further by adding Epsom salt to your foot soak.

Since Epsom salt has a crystallized compound structure, it will help exfoliate and soften skin.

Along with ingrown toenails, Epsom salt is also beneficial for fungal infections and other conditions like athlete’s foot.

Add around a half cup of Epsom salt to warm soapy water. You can also rub it directly on the feet for optimal results.

However, make sure you do it gently and avoid rubbing it on broken skin.

3. Apple Cider Vinegar Soak

how to soften toenails ingrown

Try an apple cider vinegar soak to treat ingrown toenails. Fill a small container with warm water and add a quarter cup of apple cider vinegar.

Soak your feet in the solution for around 20 minutes before rinsing with warm water.

The antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties of apple cider vinegar are believed to soften the affected areas and prevent infections.

4. Scrape Dead Skin And Trim Nail

how to soften toenails ingrown

To promote healthy growth, scrape dead skin around the toenail with a file or a cuticle stick. The best time to do this is right after a foot soak.

Make sure you do it very gently and do not cut or tear the surrounding skin in the process. Use the nail clipper to trim the nail.

Cut the toenail straight and refrain from cutting it too deep. Leave at least 1-2 mm of white area.

Trim away any visible corners or ingrown spurs to reduce pressure and alleviate pain.

It is advisable to use a precision toenail clipper for this purpose.

5. Use Dental Floss Or Cotton To Encourage Proper Growth

how to soften toenails ingrown

This home remedy helps encourage straighter nail growth. Tuck a small piece of cotton or waxed dental floss under the tip of the affected nail.

It will lift the toenail and help it grow properly in the right direction.

However, some medical groups believe that placing cotton underneath the nail increases the chances of infection as cotton provides a favorable environment for bacteria to thrive.

An easy solution is to soak cotton or dental floss in alcohol before application.

6. Wear A Toe Protector

ZenToes 6 Pack Gel Toe Cap and Protector - Cushions and Protects to Provide Relief from Missing or Ingrown...

A toe protector can protect the affected toenail against external injuries and further trauma.

Toe protectors offer a cushioning barrier that protects the ingrown toenail. They are easily available in the market.

Some even come with a medicated gel that assists in softening the ingrown nail, making it easier to trim it properly.

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to see the best results.

7. Opt For Comfortable Footwear

how to soften toenails ingrown

Tight or uncomfortable footwear is one of the leading causes of developing and worsening ingrown toenails.

So, when you are trying to fix an ingrown toenail, it is advisable to opt for comfortable footwear at all costs.

Wear shoes and socks that provide adequate space for toe-wiggling and don’t crowd the toes.

Avoid wearing closed shoes and opt for sandals to speed up the healing process.

8. Disinfect Nail Clippers And Other Pedicure Tools

how to soften toenails ingrown

This is a preventative measure that can save you a lot of trouble.

Disinfect your nail clipper, cuticle sticks, and other pedicure tools like tweezers after every use.

This will keep infections at bay, eliminating the chances of spreading bacteria.

You can use rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide to disinfect the tools.

9. Keep It Clean!

keep your feet clean


We can all agree that clean feet are healthy feet.

If you want to enjoy optimal feet health, it is essential to keep your feet clean even if you are not struggling with an ingrown toenail.

Wash your feet daily with mild soap and warm water to clean them.

Opt for shoes and socks made of breathable materials to keep your feet sweat-free and odor-free.

Frequent foot soaks can also help avoid and treat a number of common problems associated with feet, including ingrown toenails.

Now that you know how to soften ingrown toenails, make sure you try these remedies as soon as you see the first signs of ingrown toenails.

Remember, the earlier you take measures, the easier it will be to fix an ingrown toenail at home.

Also, take all the preventative measures to keep your feet healthy and avoid such conditions.

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how to soften toenails ingrown