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Will Bleach or Vicks Vapor Rub Kill Nail Fungus?

Nail fungus infection is the infection of the nail bed. It is a chronic infection which is very difficult to treat. It happens due to the development of fungus in the cracks or cuts in the nails. Self-hygiene is not the real cause. It may develop due to a moist environment, minor injury or trauma to nails, low immunity, skin condition such as psoriasis and diabetes. It causes discoloration and thickening of the nails. It is painful and may lead to the falling of the nail.

Will Bleach or Vicks Vapor Rub Kill Nail Fungus?

Will Bleach or Vicks Vapor Rub Kill Nail Fungus?

Toenail fungus is an infectious disease characterized by discoloration and thickening of the toenail. It is also known as onychomycosis. It goes deep in the toenail and disrupts the integrity of the nail. The infected nail becomes discolored, thickened, and crumbled at the edge. It can be painful. It can develop in any person at any age. Its incidence is commonly marked in the old people who are above 60 years. It is more common in people who have weak immunity or have an immune compromised disease such as AIDS, diabetes, etc.(1)

Bleach is used as a disinfectantin many household activities. It is a chemical that is used with caution. It kills most of the parasites. Some people use it as a home remedy to manage toenail fungus. Its action is best noted when used in dilution. However, it is observed that it would cause serious side effects like redness in the applied nails.

Sometimes, it may cause itching and rash. These rashes can be noticed and disrupt our normal life. Bleach can only be applied in the diluted form if you do not want harsh effects. In non-diluted form, it may result in the building of toxins in the infected areas that would complicate the condition.(5)

Vicks Vapor Rub is a product which is designed to cure symptoms of common cold and cough. It contains ingredients like menthol, eucalyptus oil, and camphor. It also contains nutmeg oil, thymol, turpentine oil, cedar leaf oil, and petrolatum. These ingredients are studied and are found to kill two species of fungi that is Candida parapsilosis and Trichophyton mentagrophytes. It also possesses antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. It is ineffective to treat another fungus. Not many studies are present that can support the theory of curative action of Vicks Vapor rub on nail fungus.(2)

In 2014, a study was published in the journal Biological Research that showed that camphor has antifungal activity. In a study published in the Journal of Foot and Ankle Research in 2015, Eucalyptus oil is found to be effective in treating toenail fungus in 86% of participants. It also showed that eucalyptus oil has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Menthol has soothing properties. It acts against fungus and restricts the growth of fungus. This information is established in the journal De Mycole Medicale.(3) The ingredients of Vicks cease the growth of fungus. Thus, the fungus cannot grow or spreads. This weakens the infection resulting in the slow disappearance of the infection. But as soon as the use of Vicks is stopped, there are chances that the fungal infection can reappear again.(4)

  1. FDA has not approved the effectiveness of Vicks vapor rub for the treatment of nail fungus.(2) There is less research about the role of Vicks vapor rub. These research studies have shown its slight effectiveness and slight positive effects on fungal infection. It has no promising effect in the treatment of the toenail fungal infection.(3)


Nail fungus is a common infectious disease. Bleach can improve any fungal infection only when used in dilution. Vicks vapor rub can be used for the treatment of toenail fungal infection. But it is effective for only two species of fungus only when it is applied for a long time.


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Sheetal DeCaria, M.D.
Sheetal DeCaria, M.D.
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Sheetal DeCaria, M.D. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:July 1, 2019

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