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Vick’s Vaporub for Toenail Fungus

Vick's predecessor

Vick’s Vaporub was developed in the 1890s as a remedy for chest coughs, but since then it has developed a folk following and is used as a remedy for many different ailments, including toenail fungus. Vick’s has three active ingredients: camphor, eucalyptus, and menthol. All three active ingredients are essential oils known for their antimicrobial and antifungal properties. However, Vick’s has not been clinically studied as a remedy for toenail fungus. There are many anecdotal reports of its effectiveness, but some people say that it works in just a few days, while others say that it takes months for them to see any progress. Still, Vick’s is a relatively safe, low cost remedy to try as a first line of defense against toenail fungus.

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 Vick’s Vaporub 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 Vick’s Vaporub to Get Rid of Toenail Fungus


  • Apply to toenail twice a day.

Why It Works

Vick’s Vaporub contains three essential oils: camphor, methol, and eucalyptus. Like most essential oils, these three 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.


Vick’s is considered generally safe for topical use by older children and adults. But a 2009 study suggested that Vick’s Vaporub might cause respiratory distress in babies and young children. In the study, this danger was not studied clinically in humans, only in ferrets. However, it is advisable not to use Vick’s on babies and young children in any case, because babies tend to put their feet in their mouths, and the camphor and menthol in Vick’s are toxic if they are ingested. The National Institutes of Health reports that camphor and menthol, when ingested, can cause abdominal pain, burning of the mouth or throat, convulsions, excessive throat, muscle spasms, nausea and vomiting, rapid pulse, restlessness, skin irritation, slow breathing, twitching of facial muscles, unusual behavior, or unconsciousness.

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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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