Home Remedies for Ingrown Nails

Anyone can get an ingrown toenail–where the nail grows into the soft tissue of a toe.  

Woman wearing a white sundress walking barefoot

It can happen from cutting your nails wrong or from distorted nails that grow in a convex fashion, sometimes naturally but often from fungal infections.  Here are some things you can do at home:

  • If the toenail is ingrown, soak it and then lift the nail enough to put a small, small bit of cotton or thick, plain floss beneath the offending edge so that the nail can grow past the tissue.  Or you can buy a “toe brace” commercially. Change that daily and keep it clean.
  • Use a toe protector if needed.
  • Bread and milk poultice
  • A piece of lemon on the toe will tackle infection.
  • Potassium Permanganate as a foot soak for disinfecting
  • Epsom salt as a foot soak
  • Water and hydrogen peroxide for a foot soak
  • Apple Cider Vinegar applied topically


Mix essential oils with a carrier oil and apply to the affected area.

  • Eucalyptus
  • Lavender
  • Make your own ointment with coconut oil and aloe vera gel.
  • Oregano
  • Oregano oil
  • Tea tree oil
  • White flower oil (a mixture of eucalyptus, lavender and peppermint oils), applied topically


Make a poultice and apply to the affected area


  • Wear shoes that fit properly and don’t pinch your toes.
  • Don’t cut nails too short. Soften them in warm water and then cut straight across with a sharp, straight-edged clipper. Leave them long enough to protect your toes; that’s what they are there for.
  • Wear sandals when you can or go barefoot.
  • Wear clean socks.
  • Practice good foot hygiene.


If you have ingrown nails frequently, check with a doctor to determine the underlying cause, which could be one of many conditions, including diabetes or vascular problems.

If the toe is infected, red and swollen with pus, go to a doctor. You can reduce inflammation with some home remedies:

  • Soak in an Epsom salts bath.
  •  Apply some hydrogen peroxide and cover with a bandaid.
  • Apply Apple Cider Vinegar or add it to the foot bath.
  • Tape a small piece of lemon to the toe and leave on overnight.