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Mouthwash for Toenail Fungus

Try it for feet

Mouthwash is a traditional remedy for toenail fungus. Most people who use mouthwash to treat toenail fungus use the original amber Listerine. Listerine is a formula that was originally developed in the late 1800s by Dr. Joseph Lister, to be used as a disinfectant during surgery. Its main ingredients are four essential oils: eucalyptus, menthol (which is derived from peppermint), methyl salicylate (wintergreen oil) and thymol (which is derived from thyme oil). All essential oils can be used as antimicrobials and antifungals, but these particular oils are thought to be especially effective against toenail fungus and athlete’s foot.

Fungi have a high rate of recurrence, even when people manage to get rid of them. There is not much point in treating a toenail fungus with mouthwash or any other antifungal agent unless you also take action to change the conditions that made it possible for fungi to settle in to begin with. This means, first, keeping the feet and toes clean and dry, and wearing socks that are clean and dry. Some people also find that they cannot totally eradicate toenail fungi until they make changes to their diet. Providing the body with a balanced, nourishing diet is helpful for most health conditions, and toenail fungi are no exception.

Using Mouthwash to Get Rid of Toenail Fungus


  • Soak the affected area in mouthwash for 15-20 minutes, twice a day.
  • Dry the feet carefully after soaking.

Why It Works

Eucalyptus, menthol, and thymus, like most essential oils, are high in terpenes, compounds that disrupt the cell membranes of bacterial and fungal cells. Some scientists say that terpenes “punch holes” in cells. As a result, terpenes can kill bacteria and fungi colonies fairly quickly.

Listerine mouthwash also contains methyl salicylate. Methyl salicylate contains salicylate, a substance that causes the skin to shed dead skin cells more quickly than usual. Toenail fungus feeds on dead skin cells, so reducing the amount of dead skin on the foot can be helpful.


Mouthwash is generally believed to be safe for topical use. It should not be swallowed, however.

More Remedies


This information is solely for informational and educational purposes only. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Neither the owners or employees of or the author(s) of site content take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading this site. Be aware that many of the techniques and remedies published on this site have not been evaluated in scientific studies. Often, only limited information is available about their safety and effectiveness. Use of these remedies in connection with other medications can cause severe adverse reactions. It is always best to speak with your primary health care provider before engaging in any form of self treatment. Additional information contained in our Legal Statement

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