40 Home Remedies for Athlete’s Foot

Athlete’s foot, or tinea pedis, is a very contagious fungal infection caused by dermatophyte fungus. The term “athlete’s foot” shows that this condition is commonly seen on an athlete’s feet because shoes are worn for long periods of time. Other factors that can contribute to fungal infection includes going barefoot in public places, poor circulation, and immune deficiency. You can treat fungal foot infection easily at home using antifungal creams unless you are diabetic. These home remedies are useful for those who want to go the natural route.


Home Remedies for Athlete’s Foot

  1. Neem

Neem is an Ayurvedic remedy that is an antiseptic. It is an effective antifungal and antibacterial.  You can find neem in oil or soaps. If you have the plant, blend it and let your feet soak in juices for a while. If you have the oil, apply it on the foot and let the oil soak into the skin before putting on socks.

neem, leaves, herb, chickenpox

Neem leaves

  1. Pao D’arco

Pao D’arco (Tabebuia avellanedae) is an effective internal antiseptic. Drink three to four cups daily when you have athlete’s foot to cleanse the blood. You can drink this tea daily to cleanse the blood, and reduce the risk of getting infections.


  1. Turmeric

Curcumin in turmeric is a strong antifungal agent. Sprinkle some turmeric powder in the shoes or over the foot to stop athlete’s foot. You can also eat turmeric in curries, or take capsules that contain high levels of curcumin to stop infections. If you are taking the external option, be wary as turmeric can stain things yellow.


  1. Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil is antiseptic and nice smelling. Apply onto the foot or toes regularly to prevent a fungal infection. You can also soak socks with tea tree oil before washing with hot water for a better fungi kill. You can get water soluble tea tree oil and use it to wash everything to kill off the dermatophyte. As fungi can spread to other parts of the body, contain the infection by soaking the affected limb in a small tub. Add four to five drops of oil into the water and soak for ten minutes daily.


  1. Lavender

If you like the fragrance of lavender, you will be glad to know that it is also an antifungal. Look for good quality lavender essential oil made from Lavandula angustifolia, which has stronger healing properties than fragrance oil. Put recommended amount of drops in hot water and soak the affected limbs only, as tinea can spread throughout the skin, for ten minutes daily.


  1. Geranium Essential Oil

Derived from the geranium flower, the essential oil is proven to have strong antiseptic properties like lavender oil. Put a few drops into hot water and use as a foot soak, with the added bonus of beautiful smelling feet. Geranium is also a relaxing oil in aromatherapy, which is good when you are stressed out.


  1. Coconut Oil

The caprylic acid in coconut oil contains strong antifungal properties. Apply coconut oil (after cleansing) to the affected area of athlete’s foot regularly to stop tinea pedis from spreading. You can also add remedies like turmeric powder for a stronger effect. Coconut oil is also a good emollient so you can leave it on your skin for as long as you like.

coconut oil, ad, shop

Extra Virgin Coconut Oil ($14.97)

  1. Mustard Oil

Mustard oil contains antibacterial and antifungal properties. You can add a few drops of mustard oil in water as a bath soak. Soak for thirty minutes daily to remove tinea pedis, or fifteen minutes regularly to prevent getting athlete’s foot.


  1. Sesame Seed Oil

Sesame oil has fungistatic activity; it can be used to prevent athlete’s foot. Find the odorless variety and apply sesame oil onto feet daily after shower or bath to stop tinea pedis. You can try using it before going into public places as a preventative method.


  1. Onion

The active components of onion contain antibacterial and antifungal properties, particularly the ones that give off a sulfur smell. Apply onion as a paste on the affected area and leave on for half an hour, or squeeze and apply the juice directly. You can leave the onion juice in for longer, just wear socks over it. Repeat daily until your situation improves, and then continue for another month to make sure you are fungus free.


  1. Clove

Cloves contain antiseptic qualities and is a popular remedy to treat a toothache. Clove essential oil can be used as a foot soak to kill tinea pedis. Alternatively, you can dilute drops of clove oil in a carrier oil, like almond or coconut oil, and rub onto the affected foot.

cloves, herb, aromatic, gum pain

Clove oil and cloves come from the carnation flower.

  1. Lemongrass

The active components of lemongrass are popular to repel mosquitoes, and it is also an antifungal. Use lemongrass essential oil as a foot soak to stop athlete’s foot. If you have the plant lying around, you can boil lemon grass and stalks to make a foot bath.


  1. Echinacea

While Echinacea is usually a popular herb to prevent cold and flu, this herb is an immune booster that can help the body fight against fungi as well. If you are intending to use Echinacea, be sure that you are not allergic to the daisy family. You can find Echinacea capsules easily, or make tea using the aerial parts.  


  1. Garlic

Garlic contains chemicals that boost the immune system and improve blood circulation. You can find garlic in capsules but raw garlic is more effective as it contains all of the active ingredients you need. Rub crushed garlic onto the affected area, or make garlic oil by soaking crushed garlic in oil. Use the oil topically or add into cooking.


  1. Cat’s Claw

Cat’s Claw is an immune booster coupled with strong antiseptic properties. Drink Cat’s Claw for overall health, or soak athlete’s foot into the tea, use more Cat’s Claw to make a foot soak. If you are prone to tinea pedis, it will be worth doing it both ways.


  1. Ginger

Ginger is warming and is also an immune booster, it improves circulation to remove more toxins from the body. It can be an antiseptic when taken internally, add ginger to food or take it as tea daily to avoid getting athlete’s foot.


  1. Oregano

Most specifically, oregano oil, which contains high levels of the antifungal and antibacterial compounds thymol and carvacrol. Only oregano oil is effective, as it is more concentrated and more effective in stopping tinea pedis from spreading. Add into a vehicle oil such as almond oil and massage onto affected area after cleaning.

oregano, herbs, abscesses

Fresh oregano

  1. Colloidal Silver

Silver is a natural antibacterial and antifungal. Taking colloidal silver internally can help reduce the incidence of fungal infection and athlete’s foot. Alternatively, spray some into shoes and let dry, great for shoes that cannot be washed or put under the sun.


  1. Grape Seed Extract

Grape seed is antibacterial and antifungal. You can apply the extract directly onto athlete’s foot to kill off the fungus or take it internally to promote the better immune system.


  1. Apple Cider Vinegar

Taken internally to boost the immune system, apple cider vinegar is a health tonic best taken first thing in the morning before breakfast. For fungal foot infections, soak vinegar undiluted to kill the fungi, as vinegar is acidic. Dilute two tablespoons of apple vinegar into water and use it as a disinfectant in a pinch.


  1. Black Tea

If anyone loves to drink tea at home, reserve the tea bags to treat fungal infections. You can boil the used tea bags in a pot of water, squeeze out all the tannins. Use the tea water as a foot soak, tannins are mild antifungal, so you can use this regularly. A good way to make use of used tea leaves.

black tea, green tea, tea, teabags, fungal

Any kind of black tea should work for this home remedy

  1. Cinnamon

Cinnamon can detox, and it also contains antibacterial and fungistatic properties. Drink cinnamon tea daily, or add cinnamon to foods. You can use cinnamon as foot soak by boiling cinnamon sticks in water. Soak feet for thirty minutes daily to stop fungus growing, but you will need other remedies to kill it totally.


  1. Manuka Honey

Manuka honey contains non-peroxide activity against fungus. Apply manuka onto foot daily and let sit for thirty minutes before washing it off. You can also find manuka honey-based ointments and powder if you are keen on skipping the washing step.


  1. Goldenseal

Goldenseal is a strong immune booster that helps the body fight infections naturally. You can take Goldenseal capsules daily to improve your immune system. This remedy should be used with other remedies against tinea pedis.


  1. Avoid Wet Public Areas

The swimming pool shower floor is a popular spot for dermatophyte spores to hang around. Gym floors are also common hot spots for fungi to hang around. You can easily pick up athlete’s foot by stepping on the floor that someone with tinea pedis had trod on. Bring slippers from home to avoid sharing floor space, particularly if you are suffering from a fungal infection. If you are suffering from athlete’s foot, avoid going barefoot for a month after treatment.


  1. Dry Footwear

Put your shoes out to dry in the sun to kill off any fungal spores before wearing them. If you suffer from sweaty feet, then use drying agents like cornstarch, talcum powder, or baking soda. Add a little turmeric to kill off stubborn fungus, but the sun is the most effective killer of all. Bring spare socks and shoes, so you can change when your gears are wet. During winter months where it is wet, wear proper footwear, or spray waterproof coating on the shoes.


  1. Silver Socks

You can find socks with nano silver particles that can handle washes. The silver socks are marketed to help diabetics prevent foot infections, and are good for chronic athlete’s foot sufferers. Silver is a good antiseptic that can prevent and stop tinea pedis.


  1. Good Hygiene

Wash your hands before and after handling the affected area, because the spores of athlete’s foot can spread and grow on other parts of the body. Wear disposable gloves when you apply medication, if possible. Wear socks after that to prevent more parts of skin from getting infected.

washing hands, athlete's foot

Make sure to use soap and hot water when you wash your hands

  1. No Sharing

Dermatophytes that cause fungal infection is very contagious, avoid sharing towels, socks, and other wearables. If you are drying off, dry your infected areas last, and wash the towels immediately with hot water, and then put it under the sun if possible. Do not share anything until your fungal infection is cured for one month. The fungus not only affects toes and feet, but it can spread to hands and fingers too.


  1. Bleach Soaks

Bleach or chlorine kills bacteria and fungus via oxidative radicals, hence you can use a weak solution to effectively get rid of athlete’s foot. The recommended dilution is 30mL of bleach to 15 liters of water. Soak affected area in the bath for ten to fifteen minutes, repeat twice a week.


  1. Vinegar

You can use one part white vinegar to four parts water as a spray on shoes or hard surfaces. If you do not have white vinegar, apple cider vinegar works well too. The acidic environment kills spores and fungus quickly. Do remember to dry the shoes before wearing. Use the solution on hard surfaces as a disinfectant.


  1. Lemon

Lemon contains citric acid, and it is a natural bleaching agent. High levels of vitamin C can help boost body’s immune system if you drink it. To treat athlete’s foot locally, cut a lemon and rub the juice and contents all over the area. Let dry and leave on for half an hour before rinsing it off.


Fresh-squeezed lemon juice will work the best for this home remedy

  1.  Greek Yogurt

Apply Greek yogurt, which contains no added sugar onto tinea pedis. The acidophilus bacteria can reduce the fungus by taking up space and food. Let the yogurt dry before rinsing off. Repeat daily or use it in combination with other remedies.


  1. Kudzu

Kudzu (Pueraria montana) is a Chinese remedy to reduce sweating. Use 15 grams of Kudzu, ground and add white rice wine. Dilute the paste with water and use it as foot scrub daily. The remedy serves to reduce bacteria and fungal load on the feet to stop fungal infection.


  1.  Alum

Alum is a chemical compound found in Chinese grocery stores for specific recipes. Scrape some alum into hot water and soak feet for fifteen minutes. Alum stops excessive sweating and reduce the likelihood for fungal infections like athlete’s foot.


  1. Calendula

There is weak evidence that calendula or pot marigold has strong antifungal properties, but it may relieve the itchiness associated with athlete’s foot. Apply calendula cream regularly when it itches or when the skin cracks and hurts, any antifungal effect is an added bonus. This is best used with other remedies.

caleunda, flower, oil, balanitis

Calendula flowers and essential oil

  1. Rubbing Alcohol

Alcohol above 70%, like rubbing alcohol, can dry out fungus and bacteria and stop tinea pedis. It is also an effective remedy as it dries off quickly and leaves no residue. Add tea tree oil, rubbing alcohol, and some water and use it as a disinfectant spray.


  1. Coffee

Not for consumption, but caffeine has promising research to show that it has some fungistatic activity. There are coffee exfoliation scrubs available or use ground up coffee beans at home as a scrub. Add some olive oil or coconut oil and rub onto the feet before rinsing off.


  1. Antifungal Diet

Your diet can affect how susceptible you are to a fungal infection. A high sugar or carbohydrate diet can feed the fungus and stimulate growth. While it is not doing to remove athlete’s foot, it may be a good idea to prevent it if you are a chronic sufferer.


  1. Cinnabar

Cinnabar is a mineral related to mercury that has been used in traditional Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine for many topical ailments. This beautiful stone has been proven to have antifungal properties but is used for many other skin ailments. You can still find cinnabar in some Traditional Chinese Medicine shops in oil paste. Apply the paste as directed onto tinea pedis to kill off the fungus.

Cinnabar, crystal, athlete's foot

Cinnabar crystal (Attribution: Rob Lavinsky, iRocks.com – CC-BY-SA-3.0)

Do you know of any other great home remedy tips for athlete’s foot? If so, comment below!



















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