How To Use Vicks Vaporub To Treat Toenail Fungus

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This article was reviewed by Dr. Emilija Ashtalkoska on August 15th, 2018. Products listed therein are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or health condition.


Vicks VapoRub is a commonly used topical ointment that suppresses coughing and treats minor aches and pains. Most commonly, it is applied to the neck, back, or throat to provide cold relief and aid in decongestion.

In fact, Vicks Vaporub is one of the most popular topical analgesics on the market today.

People who suffer from nail fungus, also known as onychomycosis, are always searching for home remedies to cure their unsightly, odorous, or painful infections.

Fungi sufferers all over the internet are curious about the use of Vicks VapoRub as a potential cure for their onychomycosis.

But does Vicks Vaporub really aid in getting rid of nasty nail fungus? Yes!

Below we will outline everything you need to know about Vicks Vaporub and the effect it has on toenail fungus. Is it your best option to treat your nail fungus?

How scientifically effective is it? Are there other better options? What else do I need to do to make sure I do not get reinfected? All of these questions and more will be answered!

What Are The Ingredients In Vicks VapoRub?

Ingredients include:

  • Camphor
  • Eucalyptus Oil
  • Menthol
  • Cedarleaf Oil
  • Nutmeg Oil
  • Petrolatum
  • Thymol
  • Turpentine Oil

All of these various essential oils have been used by indigenous cultures for centuries to treat nail fungus, athletes foot, ear infections, hemorrhoids, and more.

Best of all is that they lack the side-effects that many other conventional fungal nail treatments have.

For example, prescription anti-fungal drugs can have serious side-effects, such as liver damage, or even death. For most people, Vicks Vaporub will be completely side-effect free.

There is always a chance that you could have an adverse reaction or an allergy to some of the ingredients, so we always recommend consulting your doctor before using any treatment, every if it is over-the-counter.

plant nail cure

How exactly do these natural ingredients work to treat your fungal nail?

Camphor, eucalyptus oil, and menthol have anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties, which hamper the growth of nail fungus and eventually cause the fungi embedded in the nail weaken.

All of these ingredients work together in harmony to destroy the nail fungus. Once the fungi have died off completely a new nail will grow in and push out the infected nail!

The most important thing here is consistency – you need to use Vicks Vaporub, or any other fungal treatment, consistently for it to work.

What Does The Research Say About Vicks VapoRub Effects on Nail Fungus?

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The most commonly cited research regards Vicks effectiveness is from the Journal of American Board of Family Medicine.

In this study, 18 participants applied Vicks VapoRub to their toenails daily for 48 weeks. By the end of the study, 5 patients were completely cured, and 10 had partial relief. 83% of the participants experienced toenail fungus relief!

Another study by the Journal of the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care tested Vicks VapoRub’s effectiveness with AIDS patients who suffered from nail fungus.

AIDS patients have immune system issues, meaning they can not risk pharmaceutical treatments such as Lamisil or Sporanox. In the study,

18 participants applied the treatment to their toenails for 24 weeks. 15 out of the 18 saw improvement by the end of the experiment. Most importantly, there were no side effects!

How To Apply Vicks Vaporub To Your Nails

1. Clean and Dry Your Nails

We recommend showering or using a foot soak before applying Vicks to your fingernails.

Keep in mind that fungi loves moisture and can easily spread to the groin, feet, head, or other nails, so it vitally important that you do not come into direct contact with any infected nails.

Before applying any formula, make sure there is no wetness. Use a paper towel or other moisture absorbent to prevent spreading.

2. Clip Your Toenails

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Clipping your toenails has a drastic effect on the effectiveness of the treatment –  it will help remove potentially infectious parts of the nail, as well as ensure that the infection does not spread.

It will also improve the effectiveness of the treatment. Many people experience thickening of the nails as the fungi spread.

If this has happened to you, we recommend utilizing special toenail clippers that are specifically designed for thick and infected nails.

Pictured above is the Mr. Green Preicision Toenail Clipper, which is a fantastic, high-quality nail clipper designed for people who are experiencing thickening nails.

The clippers are made of powerfully crafted stainless steel with incredibly sharp blades and feature a comfortable ergonomic handle.

We highly recommend utilizing these clippers when cutting your nails.

3. Apply Vicks Vaporub to Your Nails

Apply the formula directly to the nails, nail bed, and skin surrounding it. We recommend using a cotton ball or q-tip.

Please do not use your hands – you do not want to expose your fingernails to the infection and risk contaminating your hands or fingernails.

Wait upwards of 30 minutes and then wash off and dry nails completely.

If you experience a mild burning sensation, stop treatment immediately and consult your doctor.

4. Continue Using Treatment Until Infection Is Gone

vicks vaporub to treat nail fungus

Continue daily use until your nails are healthy. The length of treatment depends on the severity of the infection. Please keep in mind that nail fungus is inherently tricky to deal with.

Fungi are extremely good at adapting and thriving in environments. This is why it is vital you apply the treatment every day!

After continued application, the fungi under your nails will turn black. Although this might seem scary at first, it is actually a good thing – Vicks Vaporub is killing the fungi!

Eventually, the blackened nail will be pushed out by a healthy new nail, and you can clip off the dead part.

Do not be discouraged if the treatment takes upwards of a year to treat – nail fungus is tricky, especially for more severe cases.

We highly recommend continuing the treatment for a duration of time after the nail fungus infection has subsided. This will ensure that the fungus is completely destroyed, and will minimize the chance of reinfection.

Destroy The Fungi In Your Shoes, Or Risk Getting Reinfected!

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One of the most important aspects of treating your nail fungus is disinfecting your shoes, sheets, and other surfaces.

Unfortunately, If you have placed your infected nails into a pair of shoes, there are now fungal spores living in those shoes.

This means that even if you successfully treat your fungal nails, you will most likely reinfect yourself unless you destroy the fungi in your shoes.

Fortunately, there are a number of great solutions on the market. Although there are many different antifungal sprays and powders, our top recommendation is utilizing an LTE system.

Ultraviolet Shoe Sanitizer is a fantastic option that kills 99.9% of bacteria in your shoes. Simply place the ultraviolet bulbs in your shoes, and the system will automatically get to work destroying the fungi in quick 15 minute intervals.

The bulbs each last up to 8000 hours and are easy to replace, so you can finally get rid of your nail fungus and prevent reinfections.

What Are The Side Effects To Use Vicks Vaporub?

Most users report no side effects when utilizing Vicks Vaporub as a nail fungus treatment. Some users may experience a mild warming sensation, but that is about it.

This is a far cry from some of the terrifying possibilities of prescription drugs, which can have severe side effects such as organ failure and even death.

How Often Should I Apply Vicks Vaporub To My Infected Nails?

If possible, we recommend utilizing the Vicks Vaporub formula twice a day – once in the morning and once at night.

Everybody’s skin and nails react differently to the formula and have different levels of sensitivity.

If twice a day proves to be too extensive and causes any sort of adverse reaction, consider cutting it down to once a day.

How Long Will It Take To See Results?

vicks vaporub toenail fungus

Unfortunately, using Vicks Vaporub can take a long time to provide results for your fungal infection. This is one of the main downsides of utilizing this product.

For some users, it can take a few months to start seeing results, but for others, it can take upwards of a year.

For quicker results, we recommend checking out our buyers guide for the best nail fungus products on the market today.

Is Using Vicks Vaporub For Toenail Fungus A Myth?

Many of our users wonder if using Vicks Vaporub for toenail or fingernail fungus is a myth. It is not a myth – Vicks Vaporub is both anti-fungal and anti-bacterial and can help treat your fungal infection.

However, it was not created for this purpose and there are quicker options for treating your nail fungus.

Importantly, Vicks Vaporub might take up to a year to start clearing the fungal infection, while other treatments, such as Zane Hellas Fungus Stop can take as little as a few weeks.

Should I Use Vicks Vaporub If I Am Pregnant?

We do not recommend using Vicks Vaporub as a nail fungus treatment if you are pregnant. Instead, take a look at some of our other home remedies, such as vinegar.

Can I Keep Using Nail Polish?

You can keep utilizing nail polish if you chose to use Vicks Vaporub.

Keep in mind that you may have to apply nail polish more frequently than you are used to, but besides that, there should be no issues.

What Other Treatment Options Do You Recommend? For Mild Cases, Use Tiger Balm

tiger balm nail fungus

Vicks Vaporub is a fantastic treatment option for someone suffering from the beginning stages of nail fungus. However, we highly recommend looking into Tiger Balm Ultra.

Tiger Balm utilizes similar ingredients, such as Camphor and Menthol, but has nearly twice the potency, meaning that it can treat your nail fungal infection in a more timely fashion.

If you already own Vicks Vaporub and have a very mild case of nail fungus, it is worth trying to treat your fungal infection with the topical treatment.

However, if you are searching for a more powerful formula, we highly recommend utilizing EmuaidMAX to treat your fungal infection.

For Moderate To Severe Cases Of Fungal Infections, Use EmuaidMAX

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If you have a moderate to severe fungal infection, your best bet is to utilize a topical solution such as EmuaidMAX.

We are huge fans of EmuaidMAX because it utilizes medical grade essential oils such as Tea Tree Oil, Camphor, Castor Oil, Vitamin E, and more.

In fact, it shares many of the same ingredients are Vicks Vaporub but in a significantly more concentrated and powerful form.

It is one of our top recommended products on this site, and we seriously recommend considering it to treat your fungal infection.

In short, if you have a mild case of nail fungus, you may be able to get away with using Vicks Vaporub.

However, if you have a moderate to severe case of nail fungus, or even if you are just worried about your fungal infection spreading, we highly recommend utilizing EmuaidMAX.

Should You Use Vicks Vaporub to Treat Your Nail Fungus?

The Positives:

  1. Low cost
  2. No side-effects
  3. Most users experience at least moderate clearing

The Negatives:

  1. May take up to 48 weeks to treat
  2. May not work for everyone
  3. May only be suitable for mild fungal infections

Our Verdict

Vicks VapoRub has the potential to cure your nail fungus if your case is mild. The camphor, eucalyptus oil, and menthol all have anti-fungal properties that can aid in your recovery process.

Does Vicks Vaporub for toenail fungus really work? For mild cases, it has the potential to do so.

The only real downside is that it might take up to a year to see results – other treatment options, such as EmuaidMAX, or the Purely Northwest Toenail Fungus System, will most likely provide faster results, so we recommend picking one of them up.

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