10 Natural Remedies for Athletes Foot

by Dr. Edward Group DC, NP, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM Published on , Last Updated on

runner shoes

Athlete’s foot is a fungal infection that usually thrives in warm, damp places. The fungus, Tinea pedis, grows between the toes, on top of the feet, on toenails and between the fingers. White patches, scaly patches, and redness are all indicative of the fungus. Symptoms of athlete’s foot may include itching, burning, and stinging.

Athletes foot fungus frequents public showers and locker rooms, indoor swimming pools and health clubs, and it is very contagious. Contact with shoes or socks containing the fungus, wet floors, or exercise equipment (remember it can live between fingers too) can spread it.

Tips for Preventing Athlete’s Foot

You can deter athlete’s foot fungus from taking hold by wearing flip-flops around public pools or showers and ensuring that your feet, including between your toes, are thoroughly dried after bathing or swimming.

You should keep your toenails the shortest length that is comfortable for you, since the fungus can live under toenails. Toenails that are left long might retain moisture and provide a haven for the fungus. You shouldn’t leave sweaty socks or shoes on any longer than you have to.

If your feet tend to sweat a lot during the day, or if you are particularly active, take a fresh pair of organic cotton socks with you and change them partway through the day (cotton is more absorbent than synthetic materials and better for your feet), and don’t wear the same shoes the following day – give them time to completely dry and air out. If you can sleep barefoot with your feet out of the covers this will also help to keep them dry and make them less hospitable to the fungus.

10 Natural Remedies for Athlete’s Foot

jogger on the beach

While prevention is always the best medicine, it’s certainly not a fail-safe. In case you DO find yourself with itchy feet, here are some natural remedies that can help with Athlete’s Foot.

  1. Add 40 Drops of Organic Tea Tree Oil to a foot bath and soak your feet for 10 minutes. After soaking and thoroughly drying the feet, massage a few drops of the oil directly into the affected area. Tea tree oil has properties that will help destroy the fungus in heavily infested areas and deter it from spreading to unaffected areas.
  2. Soak your feet in 2 tablespoons of Himalayan Crystal salt and ½ cup Organic Apple Cider Vinegar solution mixed with some warm water. This creates a very acidic environment in which the fungus cannot live. You can also spray your feet or wipe them down with a cloth soaked in this solution after you shower, just make sure you get them completely dry afterwards. You can also wipe down the insides of shoes and sandals to help prevent the fungus from clinging there.
  3. Make your feet stinkier by placing slices of fresh garlic, or some crushed garlic, between your toes and leaving them there for the day. You can also add the garlic to foods you eat or take a garlic supplement with the same effect, it just may take a little bit longer.
  4. Using ozonated olive oil can also help with Athlete’s Foot. Use the paste to swab your clean, dry feet each morning and night. This should clear up the fungus within about two to four days and can be used as a preventative measure against future outbreaks. I recommend the olive oil paste such as 02-ZAP.
  5. Sprinkle your toes with a little bit of organic corn starch or baking soda before putting on your socks in the morning. The corn starch/baking soda will help soak up moisture, but it wont stop the itch. Baking soda in the shoes also helps to absorb some of that not-so-pleasant sweaty foot smell.
  6. Make a tea of 4 ounces of oregano leaves and just enough water to cover your feet. Soak your feet 2-3 times daily in this mixture. I’ve read that you can re-use this tea for a week, but I strongly recommend making it fresh each day so that you know you are starting out with fungus-free tea.
  7. Sesame and Raw virgin coconut oil have anti-fungal properties and can be applied directly to the feet. Swab it liberally on clean dry feet with a cotton ball twice daily.
  8. Colloidal Silver is another common remedy for athlete’s foot. Spray or apply to your feet and let it fully dry. Alternatively, you can spray and leave the silver on your feet overnight.
  9. Organic Neem oil, sometimes used as a pesticide, is another all natural oil that is toxic to harmful organisms. Apply to clean dry feet with a cotton ball before going about your business.
  10. You can also use Organic Ginger, just an ounce of fresh chopped ginger added to a cup of boiling water and simmered for 20 minutes. Once cooled, apply twice daily to clean feet. Ginger is a strong anti-fungal, and your feet will have a pleasantly spicy smell.

†Results may vary. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. Global Healing Center does not dispense medical advice, prescribe, or diagnose illness. The views and nutritional advice expressed by Global Healing Center are not intended to be a substitute for conventional medical service. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician.

  • John Sheriff

    Dear Dr. Group,

    I had fungus one of my big toes for a few years. The nail looked awful.

    One day I ingested a few drops of wild mountain oregano oil while at the same time rubbing a few drops onto the nail and toe area.

    After several days the toe fell off and the fungus went away.

    I thought I had lost my nail!

    Then I grew a new big toe nail, looking almost as good as the one that had never been attacked by fungus.


  • shauna

    I found that soaking my feet for just a few minutes each night in cheap old rubbing alcohol, and drying them well has handled the itching and athlete’s foot. It leaves the feet a bit dry so I use tea tree or oregano oil as well to prevent cracking. The alcohol hasn’t improved the toenail fungus but my feet are no longer red, itchy and burning. Works fast. You can also just apply rubbing alcohol with a cloth or sponge at night or as necessary.

  • Lynda

    Use DILUTED 35% Food Grade Hydrogen Peroxide [be sure to dilute it!]….It will kill the nail fungus and any athletes foot. Soak your entire body in about 1/2 cup of 35% FG Hydrogen Peroxide in a bathtub of water for about 20 minutes….You will come out with the softest skin, and it will rid you of any parasites, and fungus. I think it would be really good for those suffering with any skin disease.

  • My Digga

    These are pretty good remedies. I always soaked my feet in warm epsom salt water, which seemed to help, but I bet adding ACV to the water would’ve worked wonders. Good Tips!

  • Stephen

    I love organic coconut oil and tried it on my persistent athletes foot. It works better than anything I have ever tried, and it works
    fast. Try it on your face too.


  • Judy

    Is there any help to put carbon cushioning in the shoe?

  • Rick

    Vinegar sprayed on the feet and rubbed in between the toes clears it in several sessions.

    Vicks spread on the crusty/rough nail will clear it up over a longer period of time.

  • Ruth

    I have been using Patchouli essential oil between my toes for several years to treat athlete’s foot. It doesn’t just mask the odor – it must actually kill the fungus. I used to get cracking skin and unbearable itching, as well as odor – especially in the summer, but the Patchouli made all that go away. Plus, it imparts a spicy scent to my shoes. I have also tried sandalwood oil, and it has the same healing effect.

  • MickeyD

    When I was in the Army many years ago, the preventive measure they taught us in basic was to urinate on your toes before you started a shower. Don’t know if that was the reason I never picked up athletes foot but I’ve always kept up the practice.

  • Charly

    Absorbine Jr, burns like hell but does the job.

  • Seven Hills

    In summer I use crushed & squeezed tomato leaves between toes. Leave all day. Use clean old socks as the juice stains. A two or three day treatment often lasts til the next summer.

  • PrepperMan

    Had it for years tried everything eventually learned the trick, pee in the shower. Sounds gross but really works. Was gone in a few days and never had it since.


    PUT YOUR SHOES IN THE FREEZER. That where the fungus is hiding.

  • dan

    your toe fell off???ouch.

  • Paul Manning

    A word of warning! I’ve suffered with mild AF on and off for years and used various natural oils and treatments; some mentioned above. Unfortunately, the infection spread to my toe nails and then I tried a whole new set of natural remedies to get rid of this.
    In the end, after visiting my doctor and having a long course of treatment with Lamisil (which didn’t work) I went to see a specialist and had my foot condition professionally assessed. I’ve now had laser treatment on my nails and I’m rotating various anti-fungal creams to kill off this problem one and for all.
    Moral of the story: if the natural remedies don’t work quickly seek professional attention before the condition gets out of control!

  • mike young

    i have had this for 15 yrs,, have used every thing on my feet .. its been and costly,,, but i have now killed it,, finally Var-sol,, wiped in on maybe 6 times now ,, and its 99 % gone,,

    give it a try,, a lot better than 15 yrs on chemical

  • Sameena


    i tried everything for my 8 year old daughter,vicks,vinegar,lamisil,coconut oil she had developed infection on her entire feet…
    since 2 weeks it has 95% disappeared and itching is completely gone..
    a combination of neem oil and tea tree oil,lamisil and HH Zole..it has clotimoze..
    This combintion once in a night and befre going to school..
    I strongly recommend..

  • rspeigel

    We are developing a patented “Pedi Glove” to prevent and treat athlete’s foot and would love your help and support. The Pedi Glove is featured on Medstartr.com at

  • LK

    Please do not put fresh sliced or crushed garlic on your skin!!!!! I can personally attest to the fact that it will give you a 2nd degree burn!!! It is horrible purple blisters, that weep and then after a few days the skin falls off and leaves painful red raw skin which then takes a few weeks (and a lot of dressing changes with silvasorb and medicinal honey) for it to finally heal with a nasty scar!!! DO NOT PUT GARLIC DIRECTLY ON YOUR SKIN! I have heard there are ways to do it diluted in coconut oil or something, but I’m too afraid to ever try it again.

  • cindy

    I have a patient that has a very serious disease due to using solvents when he was a painter. The solvent is absorbed into the skin and is basically killing him now. He has a lupus type disease. Your skin is the largest organ. Please don’t use solvent to cure your athlete’s foot.

  • Generalissimo Pantalones

    I understand your specialty is regurgitating old wive’s tales but do your readership a favour and research before you prescribe useless remedies.

    For instance, despite false advertising by the likes of Thursday Island Plantation, Tea Tree Oil has been proven ineffective against Tinea Pedis. In fact, it’s pretty much useless at everything other than giving off a scent.

    Even a cursory Wikipedia check would have told you that.

  • kate

    I used garlic for a month because it was spreading so fast, almost half of my foot. It was gone in 1 and a half months. however, I froze it first and there was no blistering or burns from it. The first 3 days, it got slightly worse, before getting much better. Just freeze it, cut it up and rub the oil directly on the blisters. I have had this fungus before, and the last time I used perfume (alcohol) with garlic and it healed within 2 weeks.

  • nancy


  • tnjazzgal

    This is complete bollocks. I have used various brands of (high quality) tea tree oil for most of my adult life, for everything from cuts & scrapes to mouth sores to removing adhesives and paint (which it does fantastically). It is an awesome product that I would NOT be without. This person has apparently either bought a severely inferior product, or has simply “bought the online koolaid” from anti-natural posters. And Wikipedia is most certainly NOT a validation, since ANYONE can post or edit ANYTHING on that site. Shame on you, “Generalissimo”, for spreading outright lies.

  • algore

    hi LK, only if I read your blog earlier I shouldn’t have done it on my toes (between toes, for the matter). the following morning it was so painful and saw purple swollen skin in between my toes and worst I can hardly walk straight right up. on the third day I tried coconut virgin oil and swab all over my feet and insert cotton in between my toes just to dry out some of it. my lesson learned: DO NOT APPLY OR USE UNADULTERATED GARLIC ON THE SKIN AND IN BETWEEN TOES. the right thing to do is to crushed the pellets of garlic and soak them in a warm water in a spa tub and soak feet for an hour or so. it is on my fourth day and improvement of my burnt skin is imminent.

  • Sal Lucido

    I tried Tea Tree oil for a LONG time and it did NOTHING….the general is correct.

  • Sal Lucido

    The best thing I’ve found for keeping athlete’s foot in check is washing your feet daily with Safeguard Deodorant Soap…it kills Athlete’s feet better than any OTC drugs like Lotrimin or the others…..super cheap and really effective….try it!

  • Generalissimo Pantalones

    Sure, I bought into Thursday Plantation’s guff in the Eighties when they first started spruiking it. Since then, there’s been enough clinical trials to confirm my findings that it’s a poor anti-fungal.

    As for trying to discredit Wikipedia: that’s fine, how about you update it with your own clinical studies? Anecdotal evidence (old wives’ tales) don’t cut it in grown up medicine.

  • Travis

    Yea topical garlic isn’t good for this situation.

    Topical garlic is useful when done on top of warts or other growths.

    Place coconut oil on the skin around the oil to protect the skin, leave the growth uncovered.

    Place a small bit of garlic over the growth and then hold it down with a bandaid or some kind of bandage, check it every 8-12 hours.

    For athletes foot you are better off using lighter remedies.

    Spring water foot soak with one of or a combination of the following: himalayan salt, apple cider vinegar, few drops of oregano oil, few drops of mint oil, lavender oil, iodine, coconut oil, ginger tea, clove tea, few drops of clove oil, activated charcoal and other things of this nature.

    Other things to try are not wearing shoes when at home, this will help get air around your feet.

    Get sun on your feet.

    Exercise to improve blood flow.

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  • J

    Did you have soldiers peeing on one another in the commune showers?

  • karday

    Peeling skin, blisters, etc. – I have none of those symptoms, just the oder. What could be the cause? Deeply skin fungal infection? I’ve tried, vinegar, peroxide, alcohol, replacing shoes every few months, antagonism sprays.

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  • raychil

    Hahaha hope was a typo

  • Dawn Kunkel

    Tea tree oil is awesome! It clears up problem skin, is great for minor cuts and scrapes, keeps mosquitoes away….. And many other things. I figured your comment was going to be complete crap with a name like Generalissimo Pantslones.

  • IB

    what you have to realize is that most of those clinical studies are funded by companies that want to sell commercial products and you have to look at the bottom of a Wikipedia page and see if the info came from a legit source. Both groups have valid points, I have found that one thing does not work for everybody. Also if you have nothing really productive to say (as in you don’t believe it) keep it to your self, it is not helping anybody because as I just mentioned just because it didn’t work for you does not mean it does not work at all.

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  • Jangle

    I wanted to post because I spent HOURS researching this. I had a mild to moderate case of moccasin athletes foot on the bottom of my foot that was worsening and becoming extremely dried out with over the counter creams. I’ve almost completely cleared it in two weeks doing the following: daily foot soak of warm water (as hot as I can stand) with organic apple cider vinegar (with the mother/ unfiltered) and hydrogen peroxide mixed in. I haven’t been measuring, but I use a good pour of both. I’ve then been covering the affected area in Vicks and putting socks on at night. I also put a thin coating of Vicks on before putting my socks on during the day. I use a scrubbing brush in the shower as well. There’s almost no sign of athletes foot left and I will continue treatment for a few weeks just to be safe. This worked for me after months of using drug store remedies.

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  • Charles

    I have a small amount of Atheletes Foot between my 4th and 5th toe on my left foot. I tried Lamisil as instructed using it over a week and then stopping. My infection returned a week later. With my foot itching and no Lamisil with me, I tried using Peroxyl mouthwash, putting a finger under my toes to form a bowl and pouring the liquid into the gap. Peroxyl is a 1% Hydrogen Peroxide solution, H2O2 is used for disinfecting wounds. Works a treat, two days/applications later the angry red area has gone.

    Interestingly, during the second application, the peroxide bubbled less, suggesting something in the fungus was being consumed by it.

    I am not affiliated with Colgate the manufacturers, just glad to have found a way to get shot of it.

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  • beaman

    One study found that tea tree oil worked as well as 5% benzoyl peroxide in controlling the symptoms of acne. It appears to be effective with toenail fungus and possibly athlete’s foot.

  • Ju

    I’ve used every cream over the counter but nothing worked until I was at my wits end one night I put toothpaste all over the fungal infection and let it dry over night by morning it is starting to disappear FINALLY……. Try it u have nothing to lose

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