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3 Tricks to Prevent Toenail Fungus and Keep Your Feet Summer-Ready

If your toenails are brittle, discolored, or warped, all you want to do is hide them. But that can be tough in warmer weather, when wearing sandals is a must! Luckily, these home cures nix the fungal overgrowth that’s the underlying cause of toenail troubles in 50 percent of people. This summer, slip on those toe-bearing shoes without fear.

To kill fungus, dab with Vicks

As fungus worms its way under toenails, it creates ridges and waves that are hard to disguise even under layers of nail polish. Luckily, US Air Force research finds that dabbing bare nails with Vicks VapoRub (Buy from Amazon, $14.20) once daily starts killing fungus for 83 percent of folks within 12 weeks. The salve is packed with natural antifungals thymol, menthol, and camphor that smother troublemaking spores. Bonus: It’s up to 97 percent cheaper than drug treatments, say study authors.

To prevent fungus from coming back, try olive oil

Dry, flaking nails are easier for fungus to penetrate. To keep nails healthy and armored against fungus, rub olive oil on your toenails after you shower. Brazilian scientists say that compounds in the oil block fungal spores from replicating, allowing nails to grow back smoother and stronger. Coating your feet in a hydrating substance like olive oil is also a great (and natural!) way to eliminate flakiness.

To eliminate yellowing, go for Clorox

It turns out that the same diluted bleach that whitens your bedding works just as well at brightening fungus-yellowed toenails! Bleach’s antibacterial hypochlorous acid wipes out fungal spores while also gently lightening dark keratin proteins within nails. To do: Add no more than 1 tablespoon of bleach to 8 cups of warm water (a higher concentration will irritate the skin). Soak your feet for 10 minutes, rinse, and dry well. Repeat daily until yellowing is gone.

A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.

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