Your Guide to Treating Toenail Fungus by an RN

Nail Fungus

Does the Beer Soak Method Cure Nail Fungus? A Detailed Overview…

Unsightly and potentially harmful nail fungus thrives along the nail bed and beneath fingernails and toenails. Often, the affected nails will become thicker and slightly yellow in appearance. Traditionally, nail fungus problems have been treated with medications that are prescribed by a doctor, but there is another option for those that wish to try a homeopathic approach.

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Soaking nails affected with nail fungus in a mixture of dark beer and acidophilus can be a highly effective treatment, eliminating the fungus and preventing the growth of new bacteria. Acidophilus is an extremely useful bacteria that can help to ward off infections. In combination with the alcohol found in beer, acidophilus creates an acidic climate that nail fungi cannot survive in.

So how exactly does the beer soak method work to cure nail fungus?

The alcohol in the dark beer acts to soften the affected nails and surrounded nail bed. The white vinegar that is included in the mixture helps to provide a beneficially high acidic level. Environments containing high levels of acidity prohibit harmful bacteria such as fungus from growing and surviving, while allowing beneficial bacteria such as acidophilus to grow and thrive. In simple terms, the white vinegar helps to kill the fungus while allowing the acidophilus to grow and fight the remaining fungus. Read on for a step-by-step guide to using the acidophilus beer soak method for nail fungus infections.

Ingredients Required for the Soak
• Bowl or tub large enough to soak hands or feet
• 4 cups white vinegar
• 2 pints dark beer such as Guinness Stout or another very dark variety
• 1 acidophilus sachet: should contain approximately125 billion acidophilus organisms, this is the standard amount per sachet.
• Nail file

Directions for Using the Soak
1. Mix the white vinegar, dark beer and acidophilus together in the bowl or tub.
2. Soak the hands or feet in the mixture for approximately 30 minutes.
3. Remove the hands or feet from the soaking mixture.
4. Wash hands or feet thoroughly with soap and warm water before patting dry.
5. Use this soak twice a day, covering and storing in a cool place between uses.
6. This mixture can be used for up to 48 hours before the active ingredients will loose their effectiveness.
7. Continue to use this soaking mixture twice a day for three to six months.

Once per week, the affected toenails and fingernails should be filed down immediately following soaking in the mixture. Once the nails have been filed, the hands or feet should be re-submerged for an additional 30 minutes in the beer and acidophilus soaking mixture. This will allow the newly exposed nail to be treated, further limiting the growth of the fungus. Also you can radically increase the chances of curing the nail fungus infection by using a tea tree oil product like zetclear in conjunction with the beer soak method.

It is important that this treatment schedule is followed precisely; any missed treatments will result in a longer over all treatment period. Users of this treatment method will begin to see results in as little as one week or in some cases, depending on the severity of the fungal infection, it may take much longer, even up to one month. When the nail fungus infection begins to be effectively cleared up, users will notice that healthy nails will start to grow from the start of the nail bed. The new, unaffected nails will be clear from the tell tale signs of yellowing and thickness. It should take approximately twelve weeks for the new healthy nails to completely grow in and fully replace the nails that were effected by the fungus. If the skin surrounding the nails becomes sensitive during treatment, one may reduce the soaking sessions from twice a day to just once per day.

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36 Comments

  1. Peter Reilly says:

    I have this nail fungus bad
    I have no insurance nor much money
    can I get help on an experimental bases
    or is there a free clinic I could call
    please help
    Peter

  2. Lori says:

    If you have a free clinic or a church that will help you, you should go there.
    My fathers is bad enough that I am going to try to help him. They also can’t
    afford to get the help needed plus the pills that cure it are too dangerous. I
    know first hand that this condition is a painful one. I am trying everything I
    can find that is cheap.
    Good luck and God bless.
    Lori B

  3. David D says:

    Looking at trying this, I developed a fungus after trauma to my nail and loosing the nail. Now my wife has started showing signs of a fungal infection. I found acidophilus sachets but there are other ingrediants in the sachets, should I be concerned about these other bacteria?

  4. Jay C says:

    Tried the beer/vinegar/acidopholous soak for over 90 days,
    and added tee trea oil and a later advertised anti-fungus
    paste to the daily routine. NOTHING has helped. Swanson’s
    sells pure acidophous powder. Hope I can get $20 back on
    “guaranteed” anti-fungus paste! I, too, have little money or
    useful insurance for this. Does ANYONE know what really works?
    Aside from the “wonder pills” advertised on TV, which I wouldn’t
    touch with a ten-foot pharmacist!

  5. doug b says:

    Hey Jay C,

    Did you try filing your nail down or clipping off the nail completely? The key is to get the tea tree oil into the nail bed with a combination of joba oil. Your nails are like a very thick piece of skin and to get the tea tree oil into the nail you have to penetrate the nail itself (keratin). Just using a straight tea tree oil will help but it is better if it is combined with oils and/or nail clipping and filing down to kill the fungus at the source. When you find an alternative home remedy look not just for tea tree oil but some combination of oils as well.

    Also wear shoes/socks that help your toes BREATHE!!!

  6. Jay C says:

    Thanks, Doug B. Another sufferer friend of mine thinks that
    oil of oregano will combine with tea tree oil. Does that fit
    your “some combination of oils” prescription? What is “joba
    oil”? Do I have to shoot a large joba and boil it down…?
    I’ve never heard of it.

  7. KT says:

    Jay C — Doug B undoubtedly means jojoba oil.

  8. Jay C says:

    Should have realized that. I have heard of it, and will stock
    up forthwith.
    Thanks, KT and Doug B. You’ve renewed my hope that this darn
    thing can be eliminated.

  9. Greg says:

    I have used peroxide with great success. I have not fully gotten rid of it, but my condition is much, much better. I try to pour some on every time I get out of the shower. After I cut my toe nails, I pour some on also.

  10. Jay C says:

    Thanks, Greg. That news about peroxide excites me, since I
    use it for myself and pets for many conditions. I feel I
    can’t go wrong trying peroxide on anything, but for some
    reason passed it by concerning the toenail fungus. Will
    add it to the armament: oil of oregano, jojoba oil, tea tree
    oil (would turpentine work as well? Smells the same…) and
    forget the beer/vinegar/acidophelous soak. Oddly enough the
    beer (Guiness Stout) was the most expensive ingredient of all!

  11. Akim says:

    How about using a chlorin based like bleach?

  12. A.N says:

    I have been using the beer treatment for 2 weeks now and my fungus is almost all
    gone. I didn’t buy the expensive acidopholis sachets but just bought the pill
    form (5 bucks at trader joes) and crushed them up. I also added hot water to the
    mix so it would be warmer. I used the foot bath and an anti-fungus treatment. Anyway, this really worked for me and I had it pretty bad
    so it’s worth a try!

  13. Emo Phillipshead says:

    The suggested treatment is not homeopathic. A homeopathic medicine is one which
    has been diluted manyfold so that the original medicine may not even be present.
    This footsoak may be natural, but it is not homeopathic.

  14. Niclaire Skye says:

    Epsom salts – large cup or two, add to bowl hot water. soak feet. softens nails and surrounding skin in a few minutes making it VERY easy to trim right down. the apply what ever you choose for treatment.

  15. nursing student says:

    I’m a nursing student working on a case study/paper/presentation about onychomycosis. The focus is to be about the treatments (especially those advertised on tv and internet. Any feedback would be great. Thanks! God Bless America!!!!

  16. V. M. says:

    This is a kind request for A.N. as a result of her posting on Mar 7, 2011

    Since you changed the beer treatment by adding hot water and you are
    happy with the result, could you please describe exactly how you are
    creating the mix. It seems to me that the initial article asks for too
    big quantities of the ingredients. For example, it calls for four cups
    of white vinegar and two pints of beer. 1 pint = 16oz, so it is 4 cups
    of beer. Does one need such a deep pool of liquid to soak the toenails? Can it be
    halved? Also, do your nails have to be without polish at the time of treatment or does the mix works through the polish?

    Since you have such a good result, I’ll really appreciate to know your method.

    Thank you.

    have been using the beer treatment for 2 weeks now and my fungus is almost all
    gone. I didn’t buy the expensive acidopholis sachets but just bought the pill
    form (5 bucks at trader joes) and crushed them up. I also added hot water to the
    mix so it would be warmer. I used the foot bath and an anti-fungus treatment ( zetaclear ). Anyway, this really worked for me and I had it pretty bad
    so it’s worth a try!

  17. Tommie Miller says:

    This might only work is you are near seashore, or can think of what
    it is that might be causing the fungus to retreat:

    For the past few months my husband and I have been walking on a
    nearby beach for about 45 minutes a day, going in and out of the water
    while walking.

    The fungus that he has had for over forty years (Vietnam Vet), that
    has responded to nothing else (including Veteran’s health office –
    recommendation to leave it alon) – is finally responding to our walks.
    All 10 toenails used to be black, but the small nails have nearly
    cleared up completely, and the big toe toenails look much better.
    However, it is still there, just continuing to get better. We’ll see.

  18. Joan FB says:

    Be careful not to injure your toenails or your feet. Protect them. That is #1 suggestion. Also, after an injury to my toenail, and misdiagnosis, went to a podiatrist in CT. who used Laser therapy, and debridement. 95% cured within 2 months. Noted improvement within two weeks. Had minor recurrence and treating it now with the Beer and Acidophilus. Don’t give up if it is a difficult situation, try everything, have patience and you can beat it, or at the very least keep it 95% under control. I suggest the Laser if you have a serious case and want to give it a hit then use the other therapies. Together, you should be able to manage this terrible fungus. Important to perserver, be consistent with the treatments, and see a very knowledgeable laser specialist. I suggest Yale in Connecticut who has very competent Podiatrists on staff. Good Luck.

  19. darlene says:

    Let’s see any beer guiness or which ever is loaded with yeast? yes, therefore i do not get the intention of ridding yeast with yeast only to add an acidic “white Vinegar. As for me and my own personal experience, the warm warm water & white vinegar soaks with “gold bond foot cream or any good foot cream added to the water add at least 1/4 cup white vinegar and a liberal very liberal amount of moiturizer The moisturizer helps soften the skin and the white vinegar kills off the fungus, soak when you have at least a good 45 to hour time try sitting at the computer or reading or talking on the phone which ever works best for you, doing crossword puzzle antthing to stay occupied, the 45 to hour time will be enough time for the moisturizer to soften and the vinegar to loosen and kill off fungus. ALSO you wll need an emery board not too smooth not too rough and this will help you gently file down across the entire surface of the nail to get rid of thickness and penetration of the soak will be better in your coming weeks CONSISTENCY is key and remarkably a change of diet remove overload of carbs and anything that turns to sugar ultimately as this is what fungus feeds on, bu keeping a regime with the warm warm water and 1/4 cup white vinegar and moisturizer does work when you remove your feet you will most likely see the affected skin loose very loose , use a facial scrubber or pumice carful with razor but get the exces dead shrivled up fungal skin off and trim the very soft cuticle back and take a cutical push wood or stainless and gently go under nail little by little and the fungus which is now super soft will just peel like playdough or putty from under your nail If you are just starting try once a week and then as you see much improvement every 2 weeks but CONSISTENCY IS KEY KEEPING UP WITH IT LIKE THE WEED OR YOUR LAWN IT NEEDS MAINTENANCE TRIED AND TRUE IT WORKS AS FOR ME GET LAZY THINK YOUR TOES AND FEET LOOK GREAT STOP WHAT YOU ARE DOING AND YOU WILL FIND IT DOES CREEP BACK AFTER YOU HAVE GOT IT LOOKING GREAT YOU CAN START GOING FOR PEDICURES GO A DAY OR 2 AFTER YOU HAVE DONE YOUR OWN CLEANING AND SOAKS THEY WILL HAVE SO MUCHLESS TO DO YOU WONT BE EMBARRASSED AND IT REALY DOES MAKE A DIFFERENCE BC THEY AREAARE ABLE TO CUT AND SHAPE YOUR NAILS AND APPLY A POLISH THAT GENTLY COVERS NO BOLD DARK COLOR AS THEY WILL SEROISLY KEEP YOUR TOE NAILS DISCOLORED REMEMBER YOU NAILS MAY APPEAR HARDER BC OF THE FUNGUS BUT TRULY THEY ARE SOFT BC OF THE FUNGUS BENEATH TRULY YOU WILL BE PLEAANTLY IMPRESSED AND WITH CONSISTENCY YOUR NAILS AND YOUR FOOT SKIN WILL BEGIN TO LOOK SO GOOD I LOVE WEARING OFF WHITE POLISHES NOW AND EVN DO A FRENCH ON THE TIPS THEY LOOK SO GREAT

  20. darlene says:

    ps as with the above instructions ie leave out the beer not necessary, but what i forgot most importantly keep gold bond foot cream moisturizer on hand at all times after soaking and scrubbing feet with soap and water and nail brush all over rinse thoroughly dry thoroughly esp betw toes and generously apply the gold bond foot cream and put on white socks until you are ready to get dressed then change out of your socks to what you need or your sandals after every shower dry thoroughly apply gold bond and socks until you are ready to get dressed and go out ps depending on severity you may want or need you need to determine this by the way your feet look youmay need to gently scrub with facial scrubber or pumice or what is best for you every few showers as needed for maintence and once you reach that levell the once a week and evry 2 weeks is a joy and be sure to start treating yourself and your feet to a pedicure the circulating water and foot and massage to of legs to knee is so needed and deserved think about the time we spend on our feet

  21. eric seline says:

    I have had a serious case of nail fungus for 15 years. I am considering lazer treatment and finish with the beer treatment to insure success. Any thoughts?

  22. Pennie says:

    I’ve had success with trimming back the nail and applying colloidal silver. Again keeping at it us kkey. It takes weeks or months.

  23. Carmen says:

    Wish I had look here a couple of months back. I contacted this fungus nursing my brother who had a severe care of it. We were careful but after he was up and walking he would not always wear his socks or shoes and I picked it up. At first I thought it was just an ingrown toe nail but then started to notice the white fungus and the thickening nail. It started to hurt and become painful and now it is very painful. I think it is systematic as I noticed within the last month a white yeat in my month (he is also being treated for this). I have tried peroxide – it takes the pain away temporarily. Cleaning it, etc. but everyone is right I do think it takes persistence. I am trying vinegar and I have used a garlic soak. With peroxide & vinegar I open a big cotton ball and put it on the my big toe nail and pour vinegar or peroxide and leave it there as long as I can. The pain subsides for about 4 hours. The garlic soak lasts longer — 6 cloves of garlic in a quart of boiling water, throw in slightly crushed garlic for 5 minutes and turn off and cool until you can put your feet in it. Not alot of water so double it. I try to keep my feet in this mixture for an hour. Really works but I have not been consistent as I tend to think I beat it. I am going to go with this and take garlic supplements to cleanse my blood. I have been rinsing with perioxide and Listerine as well for the yeast in my mouth. What a horrible disease! I will try to keep you updated. (my pour brother has it severe on all toes and because he has a brain injury and cannot develop any consistancy in his treatments will probably always have it although it has improved because of all the super strong antibotics he received in the hospital for another infection he had while. I will be praying for a cure. God bless you all and heal you. PS. Before I forget – The note on walking on the beach and going in and out of the water reminded me about going swimming a month ago. I noticed my toe was remarkedly better — could it be the chlorine???? not same water as ocean???? Just came to me: I also want to say that several years ago a doctor I was seeing gave me so many antibiotics she killed all the good bacteria in my body. I was really suffering with a severe fungus infection in my body — she could not do anything so I went to see a hemopathic (she recommended) and I took collodial silver and it cleared up. So I think I will try that too. I only had to take as a supplement one bottled worth — about a month. It’s all coming together because I have read that this fungus gets into the blood stream (hence the really hard drugs for it). (I suppose putting it on the feet would not hurt.)

  24. Carmen says:

    Well you all out there. I wanted to
    add something that might just be the easiest way to treat this
    fungus. After many restless nights and words to hubby about him getting
    this fungus he said that when when was in HS and the guys got althetics
    food they had at the gym tons of iodine for them to use. I said this is
    fungus and he said yea — try it. So he went out to get me some (the
    clear kind which was nice because I could use it without it getting on
    everything. The pain subsisded greatly on the 1st use and seems to be
    working with no pain reported as long as I use it. Everything looks good
    but the dark edge along the nail line is still there. I will probably
    use the garlic/boiled water remedy too. I hope you all hit this site again
    so you can try this. God is good.

  25. Debra says:

    I am going to try a remedy recommended by my sister. She recommends soaking in denture cleaner. Fixadent has an antibacterial one I’m going to try.

  26. Sylvia says:

    I got Lamisil cream 1% from my podiatrist to treat my heel which was cracking and bleeding because of fungus affection. I also had fungus toenail that I got after had a toenail trauma when I was a child. But my podiatrist told me that the Lamisil Cream is not effective for toenail fungus, only good for skin.

    I never had treatment for my toenail fungus but it never spread and never got worse until I moved away from my hometown, a coastal city along Pacific Ocean. So somehow the seawater has been killing the fungus in the summer days when I was going to the beach and the fungus grew back in the winter when the sea was too cold to swim in.

    Anyway since I had some Lamisil cream left after it very effectively treated my heel, I started to use it on my toenail. I trimmed the fungus toenail as much as I could then heavily filed the nail just before I started to feel pain. Wash the foot after filing with soap then apply a layer of Lamisil cream. Surpprisingly, after about a month, I noticed that new nail grew from the root are clean, clear and fungus free. That gave me hope. At that point, about 2/3 of my toenail was affected by fungus, now after about 3 months, that number reduced to 1/3, and new nail from root is still clear and clean.

    So give Lamisil cream a try. The key is to trim the affected toenail away, file down as much as you can for the first time. Then file every time before applying a new layer of Lamisil. It worked for me and it could work for you too.

  27. Rachel says:

    I’m pretty sure that I picked mine up from a spa soak chair at the salon. Ladies beware! I only do my own pedicures now. Is the fungus transferable from your toes to your hands from treating yourself? Should I be wearing gloves?

  28. ugly nails says:

    Being a psroisis patient, have contrated nail fungus on both hands and feet. Has gotten worse after lazer treatment, heating up nail beds to extreme temps. (very painful) Happy to hear about soaking method of beer/vinegar. Have a tip I would like to pass along anyone attempting this, making soaking hands and feet.

    Get an empty plastic Maxwell House container with handle and lid for hands.
    Get a pair of cheap rubber golloshers, buying mine at the Army/Navy store for $20.00
    This allows you to walk around the house, 30 min. is nothing when busy behind p/c.

    Oops, time to remove feet.

    Best of Luck with your nail fungus!

  29. Jes says:

    I tried a remedy I found online that required dipping toes in
    25% bleach water for 30 seconds, along with a few other steps. After 3 weeks of this daily, I got a blistering chemical burn from the bleach water being slightly too strong one day and I just want to warn people. The burn then got infected and I had to go on antibiotics and all the progress I had made with the fungus came right back. It was very frustrating. I finally went to the podiatrist and they actually took off my infected toenails, so far no fungus now, cause no nail. But this was bloody & painful and they did not tell me that it takes 2 weeks for the nailbed skin to heal. Just saying don’t use bleach, there’s got to be a better way.

  30. Wini says:

    I suffer from a faulty immune system and am prone to frequent fungal infections.

    One of the best treatments for nail fungus is to use an emory board to thin the entire nail. I try to make sure that I do it while the nail is a little damp to avoid creating too much nail dust as it will have the fugal spores in it. I do this the first time and again as needed to keep the nail thin and more permeable.
    Then I begin to rub in Vicks VapoRub. Store brands are acceptable but I tend to still go for the name brand.

    I continue to apply the Vicks twice a day for several weeks and it works. It has all sort of natural oils in it that create an inhospitable environment and kills the fungus. Remember to swab around the nail and all of the other nails just to be sure that you catch anything that may be starting up.

    These fungus’ “eat” keratin, the hard material that nails and hair are comprised of. A toenail infection can spread to fingernails, and even to hair. It is also very contagious and spread between family members. I recommend having the afflicted family member wear flip-flops in the shower and for good measure I will pour a little white vinegar in the shower/tub.

    Another affordable way to deal with nail fungus is to thin the nails with an emory board and using a cotton ball swab the nails with Listerine.

    These approaches are more affordable and less complicated than the beer method, etc.

    Best of luck to you all.

  31. tep says:

    hi i was wondering about soaking in epson salt and vinger with a cap of bleach or listeren
    then taking our trying shaving down as much as i can and cutting
    off as much as ican then resoaking and then apply tree tea oil and clove oil then
    putting on clean socks do you think this compo would work
    my dr said lamisil to rub on my feet and nails and that the
    feet would clear up wright away but the toe nail would take a
    year
    thanks i will ck back and let you no what the effect was.

  32. GAB says:

    You used to be able to buy whitfields ointment over the counter. Now you need a prescription (although I think you can still get it in Canada.) Anyway Whitfields took care of this problem for me. If you have a compounding pharmacy in your area that will mix up prescriptions, ask a doctor to prescribe Whitfields ointment. File the nail down as much as possible- length as well as thickness. For thickness, you’ll feel when it is getting too thin and sensitive- then stop. Keep at it- keep feet clean. Wear crocks w/ cotton socks. Do not paint nail polish over your fungused toenail, ladies. Worst thing for it. Wash socks as usual but add white vinegar or bleach to the wash. Keep the nail, up under tip and surrounding area covered with Whitfields. When nail returns to normal, continue the treatment for a year to make sure it isn’t coming back. That should do it.

  33. Michelle says:

    I caught a fungus from getting a pedicure last year. I am trying the old Vics vapor rub. Putting it on the affected toe, then putting a bandaid on it. I have a fried that used this treatment for her bed ridden mother and it worked.

  34. Scott says:

    Laser is not the way the go, according to an MD in another thread. It’s expensive, not necessarily effective, and not covered by health insurance.

    If you cruise the comments on this site, there are hundreds — perhaps thousands of rememdies, some home rememdies, and some over-the-counter. All will work on certain types of infections, so you might need to try several.

    But, if you are unwilling to take oral medicine, owing to the health risks, you MUST remove the part of the nail over the affected area, remove the junk below it, then apply a topical daily (home and over-the-counter). If one remedy doesn’t work, try another, and another. Expect no less than 3 months to clear it up.

    If you leave the nail in place, you are fighting a loosing battle. I found that out with prescription laquer, at $100 a mini-bottle!

  35. glork says:

    After 10 years with toenail fungus and no cure even with medical intervention, I began bleach soaks and applying bleach directly using a Q tip. Since bleach kills mold, it kills fungus. Use at your level of tolerance but within a few days the discoloration had bleached out. I kept my feet well moisturized and was consistent with the bleach application for approximately two weeks. Healthy pink growth is evident and my toes are now naturally on display in sandals and I am proud of my ingenuity and my good results. If you are fearful of chlorine, then let me know if you swim in a pool full of chemicals or a natural one with algae? How much chlorine is in you daily drinking water? Good luck

  36. Mwinn says:

    glork says: After 10 years with toenail fungus and no cure even with medical intervention, I began bleach soaks and applying bleach directly using a Q tip. Since bleach kills mold, it kills fungus. Use at your level of tolerance but within a few days the discoloration had bleached out…..What combination did you use for the bleach soak?

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