Athlete’s foot, also known as tinea pedis or ringworm of the feet, is a common fungal infection caused by trichophyton fungus.
Symptoms of Athlete’s Foot
It results in redness, itching, cracking, flaking, dry skin, discoloration of toenails, peeling, and scaling and a burning sensation on the soles and between the toes. It can also affect the scalp which leads to hair loss, scaly patches and jock itch.
What Causes Athlete’s Foot?
Excessive sweating weakened immune system, minor injuries to the nails or skin, wearing closed shoes and keeping your feet wet will increase the risk of getting athlete’s foot. It can spread through direct contact with contaminated surfaces or from one part of the body to other part.
It usually affects men as they regularly wear heavy, airtight shoes, the perfect condition for fungus to live and grow.
How to Get Rid of Athletes Foot Naturally?
The following home remedies can help you soothe and heal the athlete’s foot and also prevent it in the future.
Home Remedies for Athletes Foot
1. Baking Soda
Baking soda helps to kill the bacteria with its anti-fungal properties. It prevents moisture in the feet and also neutralizes the skin’s pH level to control fungal activities.
Method – 1: (Baking Soda)
- Sprinkle baking soda in your shoes directly after wearing them to absorb the moisture.
- Or rub the baking soda on your feet.
- Then wear socks and shoes to keep your feet dry.
- Repeat this regularly.
Method – 2: (Baking Soda with Cool Water)
- Wash and dry your feet.
- Mix 3 parts baking soda with 1 part cool water to make a thick paste.
- Apply to your feet in circular motions, covering all the feet (between toes).
- Allow to dry for a few minutes.
- Run your feet under cool water and dry.
Cornstarch is a great remedy to treat athlete’s foot as it absorbs moisture.
- Rub a small amount of cornstarch on the feet.
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
- Pour 1/2 cup of cornstarch onto a plate and put in preheated oven.
- Bake for a few minutes or until it turns to brownish.
- You could also use a stove to heat it.
- Rub the cornstarch onto the feet and toes and leave for 5 – 10 minutes.
- Brush with a clean towel.
- Make sure to wash your hands afterwards.
- Dry the feet properly and repeat the process regularly.
3. PVPI – Soak
Povidone – iodine (PVPI) or Betadine (a popular brand) is a chemical complex that used to treat and prevent the infection in wounds. It treats your athlete’s foot effectively because it kills the fungus that causes it.
- Fill a bowl with a quart of warm water and add 2 capfuls of PVPI.
- Stir well.
- Soak your feet in the water for 20 minutes each.
- Dry thoroughly.
- Repeat this soaking twice a day for few days.
4. Hydrogen Peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide effectively kills the bacteria and fungus that causes athlete’s foot. It also helps with any fungus that may be clinging around or under your nail. However, it can string a little sometimes.
- Add 1 pint of 3% hydrogen peroxide to a gallon of clean, lukewarm water.
- Stir it well and soak your feet for 20 – 30 minutes it before drying.
- Repeat twice a day.
- Make sure that you should use only 3% hydrogen peroxide to avoid harm to your skin.
Lemon Juice rinsing will help to minimize any odor or unpleasant smell that your feet may emit as a result of athlete’s foot.
- Add 1/2 cup of lemon juice to 10 cups of tepid water.
- Stir it well and soak your feet for at least 10 – 15 minutes.
- Regularize the process once or twice a day to get rid of the athlete’s foot.
Garlic contains ajoene, a natural antifungal and antibacterial agent which helps to treat the athlete’s foot effectively.
- Crush a garlic clove finely.
- Add 2 – 3 drops of olive oil and mix to make a paste.
- Apply this paste on the affected areas.
- Leave for about 30 minutes and then wash off with water and antifungal soap
- Pat dry the feet.
- Repeat everyday for a few weeks to prevent the infection.
- It also helps to consume garlic and swab the juice over the affected area.
Vinegar has acidic property which helps to kill the fungus and lowers the level of alkaline found on the skin to stop the infection from spreading rapidly. It also draws out the extra moisture from your feet to speed up the healing process.
Method – 1: (Vinegar with Warm Water)
- Mix a cup of vinegar in 2 quarts of water.
- Soak your feet in this solution for 15 – 30 minutes.
- Pat dry your feet.
- Repeat the same process once a day at night time.
Method – 2: (Vinegar with Water)
- Mix 1 cup each of vinegar and water.
- Dip in a cotton ball.
- Wash the feet with antiseptic soap and dab the ball on the affected area.
- Leave for 20 minutes before cleaning with a wet cloth and patting dry.
- Make sure to wear socks or slippers for a while afterwards.
Method – 3: (Apple Cider Vinegar with Ethyl Alcohol)
- Mix equal parts apple cider vinegar and ethyl alcohol.
- Dab on the affected area with a cotton ball.
- Let it dry completely (there may be a stinging sensation).
- Wash it off properly and repeat regularly.
Yogurt contains live acidophilus and active bacteria that fight against the fungus causing athlete’s foot.
- Apply a small amount of plain yogurt on the affected feet.
- Let it dry for few minutes.
- Rinse with lukewarm water thoroughly and pat the area dry.
- Follow this process twice a day for few weeks.
- Eating plain yoghurt twice daily also helps to cure the problem.
9. Olive Leaf
Olive leaf has antifungal and antimicrobial properties that help to kill the fungus causing athlete’s foot.
- Grind a few fresh olive leaves to make a paste.
- Apply to the affected area using a cotton ball.
- Wrap the area with tape and leave it for about 30 minutes.
- Wash it with lukewarm water and then pat dry.
- Repeat once or twice a day.
- Olive leaf extract also works well.
Onions have antifungal, antibiotic andante-inflammatory properties that help to treat the athlete’s foot. It stops spreading to other parts or to others.
- Grind 2 onions to a paste.
- Strain the juice using strainer and wash the affected foot with an antifungal soap.
- Apply the onion juice and leave for half an hour.
- Wash the area with lukewarm water
- Pat dry the area and apply baking soda or talcum powder to keep the feet dry.
- Continue once a day for a month to get rid of the problem.
Salt helps to kill the fungus which causes the skin infection.
- Do not follow this process if you have open sores or wounds on the foot.
- Add 6 teaspoons of salt to a quart of lukewarm water in a tub.
- Stir it well and soak your feet for 10 – 15 minutes.
- Dry your feet thoroughly and dab with baking soda.
- Repeat the process 2 – 3 times a day until you notice any improvement.
Tannic acid in tea has natural astringent property that helps to kill the fungus and its activities. It also has a soothing effect and helps to dry your foot.
- Steep 6 tea bags (preferably black)in a quart of warm water for at least 5 minutes.
- Let the water cool slightly, then soak your feet for 30 – 40 minutes.
- Dry well.
- Repeat twice a day for at least 4 – 5 weeks.
13. Himalayan Crystal Salt & Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar creates an acidic environment where fungus cannot live, while Himalayan crystal salt has anti-fungal properties.
- Mix 2 tablespoons of Himalayan crystal salt with 1/2 cup of raw, organic apple cider vinegar in warm water.
- Soak your feet in this solution for about 10 – 15 minutes.
- Dry your feet thoroughly.
- Repeat several times a day.
14. Sesame Oil and Coconut Oil
Both coconut and sesame oils contain natural and powerful anti-fungal properties.
- Mix equal quantities of organic coconut oil and sesame oil.
- Apply on your feet with a cotton ball.
- Repeat twice a day for quick results.
15. Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil has anti-fungal, antiseptic properties that help to kill the fungus and prevent spreading.
Method – 1: (Tea Tree Oil with Olive Oil)
- Mix equal quantities of pure tea tree oil and olive oil.
- Apply this on the affected part of the feet.
- Rub it gently for few minutes until it absorbs.
- Follow this process for several weeks to cure athlete’s foot and its recurrence.
Method – 2: (Tea Tree Oil with Aloe Vera)
- Mix 3 parts tea tree oil and one part aloe vera gel.
- Mix it well and rub this on the affected feet twice daily.
- Follow for 4 – 6 weeks.
16. Neem Oil
Neem oil contains powerful anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and antiseptic properties that help to treat the athlete’s foot very effectively.
- Wash the affected feet with antiseptic soap and pat dry completely.
- Apply a small amount of organic neem oil on the affected feet with a cotton ball before going to bed.
- Repeat this application regularly.
Note: For effective results, apply the oil before going to bed.
Ginger contains anti-fungal properties which efficiently kills the fungus that causes athlete’s foot.
- Chop an ounce of fresh organic ginger finely.
- Add to a cup of boiling water and stir it well.
- Simmer it for about 20 minutes and then allow it to cool.
- Apply this directly on the feet.
- Repeat 2 – 3 times a day.
Cinnamon has anti-fungal and antiperspirant properties that help to slow down the fungus activates and also prevent it if taken regularly.
- Break up 7 – 10 pieces of cinnamon sticks.
- Add to 4 cups of boiling water.
- Simmer this solution for 5 minutes and allow it to steep for another 45 minutes
- Soak your feet for about 20 – 30 minutes, then dry completely.
- Repeat this daily.
19. Lavender Oil
Lavender oil contains anti-fungal property that helps to kill the fungus.
- Mix 3 drops of lavender oil with a teaspoon of carrier oil like olive oil or vegetable oil etc.
- Apply to the infected area and massage for a few minutes.
- Repeat regularly.
- Peppermint oil can be used in replacement of lavender oil.
20. Ozonated Olive Oil Paste
Ozonated olive oil helps to clear fungus and prevents future outbreaks.
- Apply the paste directly on the affected part of the foot with a cotton ball.
- Repeat twice a day, morning and evening.
- Results will be seen in 3-5 days.
Tips to Reduce Athlete’s Foot:
Athlete’s foot is an irritating, painful problem but these simple tips will helps to keep your feet dry and healthy.
- Always wash your hands with soap and water after contact with the infected area to prevent the spread of the athlete’s foot. Also wash your feet twice a day.
- Wash the tub after taking bath with an antiseptic cleaner like Lysol, and use a separate bath soap to prevent the infection to others.
- Use your own towel to prevent the spread to others.
- Avoid wearing the same pair of socks more than once without washing them. Wash socks with extra hot water as it kills the fungal spores.
- Remember to wear thongs or shower shoes in public showers to avoid the exposure to fungus.
- Dry your foot completely after getting it wet.
- Use over the counter medications to clear the infection quickly.
- Eat immune boosting foods like broccoli, scallions, omega-3 fatty acid food, red meat, etc.
- Go barefoot or wear sandals or open – toed shoes to avoid moist environments.
- Continue to use the treatments for a while even after the fungus has cleared to completely clear the infection.
- Mix 2 capfuls of Betadine in a quart of warm water and soak your feet in that solution for 20 minutes at least once a day. Then dry your feet completely to apply the antifungal medication.
- Stop using strong chemicals and solvents like bleach, alcohol, floor cleaners, etc. as home remedies in treating athlete’s foot.
- Always treat your shoes with Lysol spray, anti-fungal spray or powder every time you take off your shoes and dry in the sun.
- Never use shoes that are made of plastic, rubber or water-tight shoes. If you have to wear closed toe, then always wear natural, breathable material like leather.
- Try to use socks which made of natural fibers like cotton or wool.
Severe or stubborn cases of athlete’s foot may require doctor’s care and treatment. Be sure to stop any remedy if it causes an allergic reaction.