Athlete’s foot can be super painful and horribly ugly.
And it has a horrible tendency to keep coming back.
So we need effective athlete’s foot treatments both to kill athlete’s foot fast and to get rid of athlete’s foot permanently.
This is where natural athlete’s foot treatments can really come into their own because they do have the power to kill severe athlete’s foot fast but also seem to do a better job in creating a little micro climate around our tootsies that keeps the athlete’s foot fungi at bay long term.
And luckily the natural athlete’s foot treatments I have for you here don’t need a zillion different essential oils or fancy priced lotions and potions. We can whip them up quickly and easily from basic ingredients we have in our kitchen cupboards that are also great for all sorts of other natural remedies and cleaning recipes.
Do give them a go.
They really can help whether you have just spotted the first signs of athlete’s foot or it has been hanging around for ages and seems to have become resistant to anti-fungal drugs.
I do hope these natural treatments help. I would love to hear how you get on.
PLEASE NOTE: I am not a doctor and this post does not provide qualified medical advice. You should always seek medical advice for persistent symptoms of ill health.
Athletes Foot Symptoms
If you are reading this, you are probably pretty clear on the main symptoms of athlete’s foot. Typically it grows between and behind our toes but it can spread all over and on top of our feet.
The appearance of athlete’s foot infections can vary but it commonly includes
- Itchy, scratchy white patches – they look a bit like mould!
- Thick red scaly skin
- Cracked skin
- Discoloured toe nails.
It is usually pretty distinctive but it can be confused be with eczema and psoriasis so do seek medical advice if you are not certain. Once the skin cracks it can become infected with bacteria so it is essential to keep feet clean and again do seek medical advice if there are any signs of spreading infection.
What Causes Athlete’s Foot?
Athlete’s foot is basically a fungal infection.
It’s caused by the dermatophyte family of fungi that also cause other common fungal infections like ringworm and jock itch. Fungal infections sound disgusting but some fungi like candida – and lots of bacteria – actually play helpful roles all over our body as long as they don’t get out of control.
One of the problems with OTC anti-fungal treatments is that they take a bit of a scorched earth approach. This seems to be contributing to anti-fungal resistance. At their best natural athlete’s foot treatments can kill the problem fungus without undermining all our body’s natural defences.
Natural Athlete’s Foot Remedies
The best way to kill athlete’s foot fast is – obviously – to act quickly.
Don’t dither about waiting to get to a pharmacy or ordering stuff online just hit the kitchen and make any of these natural athlete’s foot remedies you can with any of the ingredients you already have.
If we act fast we have a better chance of getting rid of athlete’s foot so it doesn’t return.
Too often we are on the hunt for one silver bullet remedy that will solve our health problems. But often we get the maximum impact from combining different remedies so do try a range of the remedies below.
If you have been struggling with severe athlete’s foot that keeps coming back you may actually have more success with 3 or 4 gentler natural treatments applied consistently than with one super strength one.
Remember natural remedies can still have side effects and may not be tolerated by everyone so test cautiously and if any of these remedies cause pain or discomfort stop using them.
Baking Soda Poultice
Baking soda – aka bicarb – is very alkaline and applied as a poultice creates an environment in which the fungus can’t survive. It’s also great at seeing off bathroom mould.
To make a simple baking soda poultice as an overnight natural athlete’s foot treatment just :
- Mix a few teaspoons of baking soda with water
- Stir into a fairly thick paste
- Apply over the athlete’s foot
- Cover with a dressing
- Leave on over night
- Wash away thoroughly in the morning.
If you have cracked skin as part of your athlete’s foot it is better to use the baking soda in a soak. Just add half a cup / 125 ml of baking soda to a litre / 4 cups or so of warm water and soak for 15 minutes or before bed.
If you don’t have baking soda (bicarb) in your home do get some – it is a brilliant quick remedy for everything from stomach pain and heartburn to mosquito bites and it gets rid of blood stains and ants!!
One of the recurrent triggers for athlete’s foot that causes it to flare up is sweaty, damp feet. In the past we used talcum powder to help with this but that now has its own issues.
An alternative natural remedy in our kitchen cupboards is good old corn starch or corn flour.
Lightly dusting feet with it before you put your socks on can help see off flare ups.
Coconut oil is a super handy anti-fungal treatment to have in our homes as it is also a natural antibiotic and can help protect our feet from a secondary bacterial infection. As a natural athlete’s foot remedy simply :
- Apply a small amount under a dressing in the morning
- And at night cover athlete’s foot generously with the oil and cover with an old sock.
It is also helpful DIY treatment for dandruff which is also – surprisingly – a fungal infection.
Turmeric is another useful natural athlete’s foot treatment that is also a natural antibiotic. Research suggests it can’t match OTC fungal treatments on its own but can be helpful combined with other natural treatments.
The easiest way to use turmeric for athlete’s foot is to mix a scant half teaspoon or so into coconut oil and apply as above.
Green Tea Soak
Green tea is great for our overall health and as a natural remedy for digestive infections like cystitis and gastritis, so it really is worth getting into it and keeping some in your kitchen cupboard.
It is also a super simple natural remedy for athlete’s foot that has been shown to kill the fungi Trichophyton that contributes to athlete’s foot. Again it may not be powerful enough on its own to see off an infection but it can be a useful part of natural protocol of several different remedies and helps prevent spread and infection.
To make your own green tea soak:
- Lightly heat a litre of water until warm.
- Add with a green tea bag to a basin.
- Infuse for 5 minutes.
- Then pop your feet in & soak for 15 minutes.
Green tea is also helpful in Natural Dandruff Treatments.
Garlic Tea Foot Soak
Garlic has long been used as a natural anti-fungal treatment against athletes foot and there is now research to back up its powers. The only down side of course is the smell.
But if you can stand it, a nightly soak for a week can see off your athlete’s foot infection and a weekly soak can prevent athlete’s foot taking hold if you are vulnerable to infection.
To make your own garlic tea foot soak simply :
- Crush 3 or 4 garlic cloves.
- Add to a pan of roughly a litre / 4 cups of water.
- Boil it up for 15 minutes or so.
- Leave to cool until warm.
- Pour into a foot bath or basin.
- Soak your feet for 30 minutes.
- Dry your feet well after the foot soak.
- You could then apply some coconut oil or aloe vera.
Garlic is actually super easy to grow and makes a great anti-fungal in your garden as well.
Herbal Foot Soak
A whole bunch of common herbs in your kitchen – or herb garden – have natural anti-fungal and natural antibiotic powers so they can help to tackle the fungus and prevent bacterial infection in cracked skin :
To make your own quick herbal foot soak as a natural athlete’s foot treatment :
- Simply boil a litre / 4 cups or so of water
- Pour into a foot bath or basin
- Add a few teaspoons of any of the dried herbs above
- Or three or four healthy sprigs of fresh herbs
- Leave the herbs to infuse in the water
- Until cool enough to put your feet in
- Soak your feet for 15 minutes or so.
- Dry your feet well.
- You could then apply some coconut oil or aloe vera.
Apple Cider Vinegar Foot Soak
Apple cider vinegar also has natural anti-fungal powers and can super quickly be chucked into a DIY foot soak as a natural athlete’s foot treatment.
Simply combine in a foot bath or bowl:
- 500 ml / 2 cups of water.
- 125 ml / 1/2 cup of live apple cider vinegar.
- Soak your feet for 30 minutes.
- Dry your feet well.
- Then apply some coconut oil or aloe vera.
Hydrogen peroxide is a really useful ingredient to have in your house for all sorts natural cleaning hacks from removing blood stains to disinfecting toothbrushes. And it can help to kill athlete’s foot fast.
Hydrogen peroxide comes in various strengths. The national poison centre recommends 3% for safe use.
Some people do have success killing athlete’s foot fast just by dabbing with hydrogen peroxide twice daily.
But there are concerns about whether it should be applied directly especially if you have cracked skin. An alternative is to dilute 1 part of hydrogen peroxide in 3 parts of water and bathe with that instead.
But again it is strong so be very careful if you have cracked skin. Test a small area first.
Alternatively you can use it in a foot soak with 70% alcohol to 30% water.
Use the smallest basin you can for your feet and just add enough water & alcohol for the bottom of your feet to be in contact with it. It is typically suggested to soak your feet for 30 minutes but be cautious and do a very short soak initially to test your reaction.
Rubbing Alcohol & Aspirin
Rubbing alcohol and aspirin sounds like one of those crazy internet remedies that can’t possibly work but there is some sense to it. Salicin in willow bark was traditionally used for athlete’s foot treatments and shares a similar chemical structure to aspirin. Most of us these days don’t have willow bark to hand but we do have aspirin.
To use as a quick natural treatment :
- Wash your feet.
- Dissolve 5 aspirin in half a cup of rubbing alcohol.
- Wipe the solution over your feet.
But remember rubbing alcohol can be strong. Apply a tiny amount first to test your reaction.
A little tub of aloe vera is a super handy natural remedy to have in your bathroom or first aid kit for everything from sunburn and mosquito bites to cold sores and dandruff. It can also help to get rid of athlete’s foot and prevent it coming back. It won’t do it on its own but combined with other natural remedies it can help.
Apply a small amount first as not everyone tolerates it well.
More Athlete’s Foot Remedies
If you really don’t have any of the kitchen cupboard ingredients needed for the natural athlete’s foot treatments above and you do want to buy some natural remedies, I have found the following very simple products the most effective for a range of fungal and viral skin infections.
Tea Tree Essential Oil
I am not a massive fan of essential oils. I hate the dodgy business models behind some of the big brands and think most essential oils just become clutter we never use.
But tea tree oil is genuinely useful for treating topical fungal and viral infections such as athlete’s foot, dandruff and verrucas and there is research to support that. It is about the only essential oil I ever buy.
If you want to add it to your mix of remedies :
- Carefully read the instructions on your bottle.
- Dilute the oil in a carrier oil as instructed.
- Dab the athlete’s foot with the diluted oil twice daily.
Again I buy very few lotions & potions. Almost all my natural remedies are made from kitchen ingredients.
If you are struggling with repeated fungal infections including athlete’s foot a simple anti-fungal soap can help.
Don’t go for a super medicated one full of chemicals but look out for natural soaps containing for example :
- Neem oil
- Tea tree
Preventing Recurring Athlete’s Foot
Athlete’s foot is most commonly picked up at pools and gyms and flourishes in damp skin so to prevent catching it:
- Don’t go bare foot at public pools or changing rooms.
- But go bare foot at home to give your feet a good airing.
- Wear sandals when you can.
- Change socks daily & make sure teenage boys do!!
- Wash your feet when you get in & dry well if you have been out all day & they have got sweaty.
- Alternate shoes as much as possible.
- Dry your feet with a hair dryer to make sure they really are dry.
- Sprinkle baking soda / bicarb in shoes to help kill off fungi – can also help with smelly feet.
Once someone in the family has caught athlete’s foot :
- Pop training shoes or sneakers in the freezer for 24 hours to kill the fungi
- Quickly wash flip flops and sandals every night
- Get them to dry feet on a fresh face cloth daily which then goes straight in the laundry basket – it’s much easier to wash 7 small extra cloths than it is 7 towels!!
And there you go a big guide to natural athlete’s foot treatments you already have in your kitchen that can kill athlete’s foot fast and prevent it from coming back over and over again. Please do let me know what works best for you and if you found the guide helpful please do share.
For more simple natural treatments you can make yourself from store cupboard ingredients do check out my other natural remedies :
- DIY Natural Dandruff Treatments
- Gentle Blackhead Removal Treatments
- The Best Quick Natural Sunburn Remedies
- How To Treat Mosquito Bites Naturally
- Natural Headache Relief
- Natural Remedies For Skin Problems
- Natural Remedies For Coughs & Colds
- Natural Remedies For Gut Health