BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images

A fungal infection is one of the most common nail problems. Signs of fungus are discoloration, increased thickness and weakness of the toenail. Toenail fungus is often picked up in damp public places where people go barefoot, such as locker rooms, pools and spas. The infection can be difficult to treat and it can take up to 12 months for the healthy toenail to replace the fungus-infected nail. Tea tree oil is a natural antibiotic used by many people to treat their toenail fungus. The success of this remedy depends on the severity of the infection.

Check that your product is 100% pure tea tree oil.

Trim your infected nail back with sterile nail scissors.

Apply DMSO, a solvent that acts as a carrier and will increase the effectiveness of the tea tree oil. Dip a cotton bud into the tea tree oil and rub gently on the affected area.

Apply the oil two or three times per day until the new nail has grown out.


If you don't have cotton buds, a clean, soft toothbrush will work just as well.


Fungal toenail infections are highly contagious. Do not share socks, shoes, towels, nail scissors or anything else your toenail has come into contact with. Do not go barefoot in public gyms or showers; wear flip-flops or shower shoes.

Fungal toenail infections can be painful, may cause permanent damage to your nails and lead to other infections. Those with suppressed immune systems because of medication, diabetes or another pre-existing health condition are most at risk of their fungal toenail infection developing into something more serious. See your doctor immediately if you have a suppressed immune system and suspect toenail fungus.

About the Author

C. Giles

C. Giles is a writer with an MA (Hons) in English literature and a post-graduate diploma in law. Her work has been published in several publications, both online and offline, including "The Herald," "The Big Issue" and "Daily Record."