Whether you have thick toenails because of a skin condition such as eczema or psoriasis, fungus or even injury, simple alternatives to prescription medications can treat this condition. Save money and avoid the side effects that can result from costly prescription medications with readily available household products. Determine the cause of your thick toenails before treating. Raised reddish spots and flaking skin could mean Psoriasis, whereas itchy, dry skin with no flaking indicates eczema. If psoriasis or eczema could be behind your thick toenails, seek treatment for these conditions first. White patches, yellow or brownish discoloration and separation between the toenail and nail bed are all signs of fungus.

Things You'll Need

Vapor Rub Treatment

Use toenail clippers to cut your nails as short and close to the skin as possible.

Use an emery board or nail file to file your toenails down as much as is comfortable. This improves the nails’ appearance and if your nails are thick because of fungus, filing your nails thinner will help the treatment reach the fungus.

Apply vapor rub to toenails twice a day. The MayoClinic cites anecdotal reports that this treatment works for some individuals but recommends you talk to your doctor before using this remedy.

Epsom Salts Treatment

Clip your toenails as short and close to the skin as possible.

File your toenails down as much as is comfortable.

Soak your feet in epsom salts, also known as magnesium sulfate, two to three times a day for a half an hour at a time. Dr. Ray Sahelian recommends using very hot water and putting epsom salt directly on the affected nails and surrounding area.

White Vinegar Treatment

Trim your nails short and close to the skin.

File your nails down with an emery board or file so that the nail is thinner and absorbs treatment better.

Apply white vinegar directly to your affected toenails or soak your feet in one part vinegar to two parts warm water mixture two to three times a day. Vinegar can reduce the growth of certain bacteria.

Reduce the amount of vinegar in your soak if you experience any skin irritation or treat less frequently until the irritation clears up.

Tea Tree Oil Treatment

Clip affected toenails as close to the skin as possible.

File the affected toenails down as thin as you can.

Apply tea tree oil on your toenail, the skin around it and under the tip of the nail twice a day. Tea tree oil has natural antifungal properties.


  • Keep your nails short.

  • Try one home remedy at a time, and keep track of your results and any reactions.

  • Be consistent in your treatment habits and give new remedies time to work before moving on to a new remedy.

  • Change your shoes and socks often and don’t wear restrictive shoes or socks.

  • Treat athlete’s foot, it can spread to the nails.

  • Fungus doesn’t like light, so go barefoot or wear sandals as often as possible.

  • Don’t paint your nails, nail polish can encourage the growth of toenail fungus.

  • Wear shoes or sandals in public places; never go barefoot.

  • Fungus likes moisture so dry your feet, toes and toenails carefully after getting them wet.

  • Wash your hands after touching infected nails to prevent spreading fungus to fingernails.