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17 Home Remedies for Athlete’s Foot

17 Home Remedies for Athlete’s Foot

Athlete’s foot, the common fungal infection of the skin of the foot, is caused by the tinea fungus just like ringworm. It is a contagious infection and you can get it just by touching someone already suffering from athlete’s foot. Other chances of infecting are when you walk barefoot on damp floors in some public place like public showers, locker rooms etc. You may also catch it from your pets or those of your friends and neighbors as also from farm animals. If your immune system is weak then you are in higher risk group of people prone to athlete’s foot. If you are already infected with the fungus and want to get rid of those itching, burning, small blisters as well as inflammation and cracked, scaly skin between your toes, take help of these home remedies for athlete’s foot.

Remedies for Athlete’s Foot

1. Tea Tree Oil for Athlete’s Foot

Tea tree (melaleuca) oil has excellent anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, and anti-septic properties. Originally belonging to Australia, this herb’s oil is now found all over the world. Traditionally, tea tree leaves were soaked and its infusion was prepared to treat skin diseases as well as many other ailments. Now it is easily available in stronger product, the tea tree oil which sometimes work better than the commercially available ant-fungal creams and lotions. Not only Athlete’s foot, this oil can also cure toenail fungus and that of fingernails too that are sometimes not even cured by strong systemic antifungals.

Get this:

  • Tea tree oil

Do this:

  • Wash and dry your feet properly.
  • Apply a thin layer of tea tree oil over your fungal infection.
  • Repeat this 3-4 times a day.

2. Grapefruit Seed Extract for Athlete’s Foot

Grapefruit seed extract is derived from seed, pulp and peel of the grapefruit. It has strong antimicrobial properties that can cure a wide variety of infectious diseases and viruses. It is a powerful disinfectant that sometimes acts better than other herbal remedies like the one with tea tree oil. It has been traditionally used for treating various skin conditions including cold sores and warts and even dandruff and acne along with athlete’s foot. While you can take grapefruit seed extract orally too, its topical application will speed up the healing process of your Athlete’s foot.

Do this:

  • Take full strength grapefruit seed extract
  • Apply this to the affected area.
  • Repeat two to three times a day.

3. Garlic for Athlete’s Foot
This is a good remedy for those who suffer from recurring fungal infection of foot. Sometimes when your symptoms of Athlete’s foot subside then also the fungus lingers on but because you stop the treatment, it returns within a few days. Garlic has a compound called ‘ajoene’ which effectively eliminates the fungus. Garlic has been historically used for its strong anti-fungal and anti-microbial properties so why not use it to treat your fungal infection now!

Ways to Use Garlic for Athlete’s Foot

  • Crush some garlic cloves. Add this to your foot bath water. Soak your feet for half an hour in this water.
  • Mince or grind some garlic cloves. Mix it with some olive oil. Apply this to your fungul infection affected area. Repeat 2-3 times a day.
  • Add raw garlic to your foods like in salad dressings, soups and gravies.

4. Lavender Oil for Athlete’s Foot

Lavender oil has strong anti-septic and anti-fungal properties even when used at low concentrations. The compound, alpha-pinene, which is also found in rosemary and turpentine, seems to help cure the infection. When you combine this oil with other essential oils like tea tree oil or myrrh oil, the effectiveness of the remedy increases manifolds. Here are some ways to use lavender oil with or without other oils.

Ways to Use Lavender Oil for Athlete’s Foot

  1. Add 2-3 drops of lavender oil to 1-2 tbsp of a carrier oil like jojoba or olive oil. Apply this to the affected area 2-3 times a day.
  2. Take 10 drops of lavender oil and 10 drops of either tea tree oil or myrrh oil. Mix the two oils with a carrier such as aloe vera gel or witch hazel. Apply this to the affected area thrice a day.
  3. Add 10 drops of lavender oil and 7 drops of tea tree oil to hot water in a foot bath basin. Soak your feet in this for about 20 minutes. Do this 2-3 times a week initially and then once a week.

5. Myrrh Oil for Athlete’s Foot

Myrrh oil has many properties including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, anti-infectious, antiviral, antiseptic, astringent among many others. Ancient Egyptians used this oil as an antiseptic and also for skin care. You can not only use it for curing Athlete’s foot but also other fungal infections such as Candida, eczema, ringworm, vaginal thrush etc.

How to Use Myrrh Oil for Athlete’s Foot?

  • Simply apply and rub few drops of this oil on to the affected area.
  • Repeat this 2-3 times a day.
  • It will relieve the painful itching and eventually heal athlete’s foot.
  • You may also use myrrh oil to soak feet. Mix few drops of this oil in hot water and soak your feet in this for about 20 minutes. You may also add few drops of tea tree oil with myrrh oil in this water.

6. Baking Soda Paste for Athlete’s Foot
Baking soda has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties that make it difficult for the fungus to thrive between your toes. This may be due to its alkaline nature also that makes a hostile environment for bacteria and all.

Get this:

  • Baking soda- 3 tbsp
  • Water- 1 tbsp

Do this:

  • Wash and dry your feet properly.
  • Mix baking soda and water to make a paste.
  • Apply this paste to your foot.
  • Rub it gently in between your toes too.
  • Leave it to dry off by itself.
  • Now wash your feet with cool water and dry them properly.

7. Salt Soak for Athlete’s Foot

When you use salt to prepare your foot soak, you ensure soothing remedy to heal sores due to athlete’s foot. While you can use plain salt for making this soak, Epsom salt will add some more benefits. The magnesium and sulfate in Epsom salt are easily absorbed by your skin and help reduce inflammation as well as flush the toxins out of the body.

Get this:

  • Salt (or Epsom salt)- 2-3 tsp
  • Warm water to soak feet

Do this:

  • Add salt to the warm water in a basin.
  • Soak your feet in this for 5-10 minutes.
  • Dry them properly after soaking.
  • Repeat 3-4 times a day.

8. Mustard for Athlete’s Foot

Mustard seeds have excellent ant-fungal and anti-bacterial properties. Among many other contents, mustard seeds have these two compounds called sinigrin and myrosin. Sinigrin is a glycoside and myrosin is an enzyme. When they come in contact of water, myrosin acts upon sinigrin. This action sets allyl isothiocyanate (mustard oil) free. This mustard oil has many properties including anti-inflammatory and germicidal properties.

Get this:

  • Mustard powder- 1 tsp Or Mustard oil- ½ – 1 tsp
  • Warm water to soak feet

Do this:

  • Fill a foot basin with warm water.
  • Add mustard powder to this water.
  • Soak your feet in this for half an hour.
  • Repeat this twice, in the morning and at night.

9. Yogurt for Athlete’s Foot

The healthy yogurt can also come to your rescue when you suffer from this fungal infection of feet. Acidophilus bacteria found in plain unsweetened yogurt eliminates fungus as well as prevent them from developing too.

Do this:

  • Take some yogurt (unflavored and unsweetened).
  • With the help of a cotton swab or your palms and fingers, apply this yogurt to the affected areas.
  • Leave it to dry off.
  • Once dried, yogurt will leave crusted patches on your skin.
  • Wash off your feet with warm water and dry them completely.
  • Repeat 3-4 times a day.

10. Apple Cider Vinegar for Athlete’s Foot

Apple cider vinegar possesses anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral qualities. Folk medicine uses this vinegar almost as a panacea that can cure almost all the ailments. However, limiting its effects on skin and its infection, it is said that it can cure allergies, acne, dandruff, Candida, and many other fungal and bacterial infections including athlete’s foot. This may be also due to its alkaline effect which creates a hostile environment for fungus.

Get this:

  • Apple cider vinegar- 1 part
  • Water- 1 part

Do this:

  • Mix apple cider vinegar and water in a foot basin.
  • Soak your foot in this solution for about 10 minutes.
  • If you want to use undiluted vinegar, just soak a cotton ball in it and apply this to the affected areas.

11. Calendula for Athlete’s Foot

Calendula or Marigold has fine anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and astringent properties that help reduce inflammation, itching and infection. In some laboratory studies, calendula has been found to be better anti-fungal than some conventional anti-fungal medications. You can eliminate fungus as well as reduce any swelling accompanied with your athlete’s foot just by soaking your feet in a calendula foot soak.

Get this:

  • Dried calendula flowers- ¾ cup
  • Boiling water

Do this:

  • Place the calendula flowers in a quart jar or a pot.
  • Pour boiling water over them to fill the jar or pot.
  • Leave it to infuse for about an hour.
  • Now strain and pour the liquid in a foot basin.
  • If needed, add some more warm water, enough to soak your feet.
  • Now place your feet in this calendula infused water and soak them for about 20 minutes.
  • Repeat daily.

12. Onion Juice for Athlete’s Foot

Onion has many compounds that are beneficial to human health. Two of them – sulfur and quercetin – are strong antioxidants that help neutralize free radicals and protect membranes of body cells from damage. Onion also improves immunity. Such phytochemicals in onions as disulfides, trisulfides, cepaene, and vinyl dithiins have antimicrobial properties which makes it a suitable cure for fungal infections.
Get this:

  • Onions- 2
  • Cheesecloth

Do this:

  • Grind the onions.
  • Extract the juice of onion with the help of cheesecloth.
  • Wash and dry your feet.
  • Now apply the onion juice to the affected areas.
  • Leave for about half an hour.
  • Repeat daily, 2-3 times a day.

13. Make Black Walnut Salve for Athlete’s Foot

Black Walnut hulls have anti-fungal, antiseptic, astringent, and antiviral properties, especially when the walnuts are green. This salve also uses olive oil and coco butter. Olive oil too has antibacterial properties. Cocoa butter is also good for skin and is sometimes used to cure such skin conditions as eczema and dermatitis.

Get this:

  • Unripe black walnuts- 2
  • Olive oil- 2 tbsp
  • Cocoa butter- 2 tbsp
  • Softened beeswax- 2 tbsp
  • Sauce pan- 1 (don’t use aluminum pot)

Do this:

  • Separate the green husks of the walnuts.
  • Crush them in a mortar and pestle until they become mushy.
  • Place this crushed black walnut hull in the pan.
  • Add olive oil and cocoa butter.
  • Place the pot on stove top on low heat.
  • Let it simmer for 1 hour. Stir frequently.
  • Use a cheesecloth or a coffee filter to strain the oil and remove the husks.
  • Squeeze properly to as much as possible.
  • Now place the extracted material back into the pan on low heat.
  • Add beeswax.
  • Stir it continuously till the beeswax melts completely.
  • Take out some of it in a spoon and let it cool down. If you see, it hasn’t taken the consistency of salve, add some more beeswax. If it has toughened a lot, add some olive oil.
  • Pour the salve in a glass jar.
  • Let it cool down and then store in a dark cool place away from sunlight.
  • Apply this salve not only on your athlete’s foot affected area but also for any other infection.

14. Green Tea for Athlete’s Foot

As green tea is not fermented while manufacturing, it maintains the beneficial molecules called polyphenols. Polyphenols are considered to be able to prevent inflammation and cure infections such as those due to human papilloma virus (HPV). Green tea extracts have catechins and caffeine that possess strong anti-microbial properties to fight off various micro organisms. Foot soak with green tea has been an effective home remedy for athlete’s foot.

Get this:

  • Green tea bags- 5-6 Or Green tea leaves – 1 cup
  • Boiling water

Do this:

  • Place the green tea bags or loose leaves in a foot bath basin.
  • Pour boiling water over it.
  • Let the tea steep till the water becomes tolerably warm to soak feet.
  • Now soak your feet for 10-15 minutes in this water.
  • Do not rinse off, just dry the feet.
  • Repeat daily till you get rid of the infection.

15. Essential Oils Foot Spray To Prevent Athlete’s Foot

We have seen how some essential oils excellently cure athlete’s foot. This recipe for foot spray uses some of such oils that we have already discussed. These essential oils have one or multiple properties like anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory etc. that can help combat your infection of the foot. If you are prone to get athlete’s foot, this spray will also prevent its recurrence.

Get this:

  • Lavender oil- 10 drops
  • Tea tree oil- 10 drops
  • Myrrh oil- 10 drops
  • Distilled water- 1 cup
  • Spray bottle

Do this:

  • Pour water into the spray bottle.
  • Add all the essential oils to this water.
  • Shake well.
  • Now use this preventive spray before you wear your socks everyday.
  • Just spray a little amount and that’s it.
  • You can also carry this spray bottle with you and spray some of it after you leave a public shower or gym.

16. Homemade Anti Fungal Solution for Athlete’s Foot

This is yet another very effective remedy using essential oils and some other anti-fungal ingredients like apple cider vinegar. Along with tea tree oil and myrrh oil this remedy uses geranium oil, thyme oil and tincture of benzoin. Geranium oil is a natural astringent and is widely used for treatment of acne, bruises, burns, cuts, dermatitis, eczema, ringworm. Thyme oil is known for its antiseptic properties. It also has antifungal, antiviral, antiparasitic, and antimicrobial properties and thus is used for such conditions as dermatitis, psoriasis, and other infectious diseases. When alcohol is added to the benzoin essential oil, it is known as tincture of benzoin. It has natural anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties. So make this powerful anti fungal solution at home to cure and prevent athlete’s foot.

Get this:

  • Tea tree oil- 12 drops
  • Geranium oil- 8 drops
  • Thyme oil- 3 drops
  • Myrrh oil – 2 drops
  • Tincture of benzoin- 1 tablespoons
  • Apple cider vinegar- 4 tablespoons
  • Storage bottle, spray bottle can also be used

Do this:

  • Combine all the ingredients and store in the bottle.
  • Before you use the solution, shake well every time.
  • You may directly apply this solution to the affected area.
  • Repeat 2-3 times a day.

17. Homemade Anti-fungal Powder for Athlete’s Foot

If you don’t like the wetness of sprays and solutions, you can even make an anti-fungal powder to be used on your athlete’s foot affected areas. You’ll have to again use such strong anti-fungal oils as tea tree oil and geranium oil. Along with these, you also need to get sage oil, peppermint oil and cornstarch. Sage essential oil has astringent properties and thus is soothing to skin but it also has antibacterial, antiseptic, antifungal, antiviral, and disinfectant properties that makes it suitable for many skin conditions including athlete’s foot. As far as peppermint oil is concerned, many researches have shown that when it is topically applied, it cures many fungal infections. In this recipe for anti-fungal powder, you can use also use lemon eucalyptus oil in place of tea tree oil. This oil has excellent antiseptic, antiviral, bactericidal, and fungicidal properties. Cornstarch is used in this recipe as a base because it absorbs moisture very well. As we know that fungus thrive in moist environment, cornstarch seems to be just the right ingredient to check them.

Get this:

  • Tea tree oil or lemon eucalyptus oil – 15 drops
  • Geranium oil- 8 drops
  • Sage oil- 5 drops
  • Peppermint oil- 1 drop
  • Cornstarch- 1/4 cup
  • Resealable plastic bag or a glass jar with a lid having holes

Do this:

  • Place cornstarch in the container of your choice- plastic bag or glass jar.
  • Pour all the oils over it distributing it all over.
  • Shake well to let the cornstarch absorb all the oils.
  • If some lumps form, break them up.
  • You may use this powder to sprinkle on your athlete’s foot before wearing your socks and shoes or after washing and drying your feet at night. You may use it both the times as well.

Apart from taking all the measures to cure and prevent athlete’s foot using home remedies, you should also take care of your shoes and feet whenever you go to moist public places. Keep your shoes clean and infection free with the use of antifungal or antibacterial spray. Always wash out your shower or bathtub with antiseptic solution after every use otherwise you yourself will catch the fungus again. In public showers and locker room, try to wear flip-flops so that you do not bring your feet in contact with the publicly used floors. Always ensure to make your feet dry before wearing those socks and shoes so that you do not get athlete’s foot again.

About Sara

Sara is a Boston-based registered dietitian who works with clients to improve their health by optimizing nutrition. You can find her running, sweating in hot yoga, cooking in the kitchen, dining out, or exploring. Eating Food-Mostly Plants, and improving our relationship with food, is the secret to lifelong health in her eyes.


  1. covering it with clay daily helps very much

  2. Jojo Saguilong Jacobson

    This is great.Thank you for sharing.

  3. This is additional knowledge for me.

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