Every few days someone will ask in our essential oil safety group about remedies for athlete's foot or nail fungus. I figure it is about time I have this information all in one spot so it is easily linked to 🙂

Note: This recipe was written to answer the questions we get about athlete's foot and nail fungus, but is also my best recipe for other topical bacterial and fungal issues such as poison ivy, poison oak, and impetigo. This can also be used to help staph issues, although other protocols might also be necessary.

Tea Tree is one of my favorite essential oils and the first one I ever used. It is anti-fungal, anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and has many uses. It is also the best choice for fighting off athlete's foot and nail fungus.

Because athlete's foot is exacerbated by moist conditions, we want to be sure to not use an oil, which is heavy and can trap fungus. Aloe vera gel, which is water based, allows the skin to breathe as it clears up. I recommend this aloe vera gel (also linked to in the amazon ad below). If the aloe vera gel you get is too thick to spray, you can thin it out with this aloe vera juice.

This recipe is a 2% dilution. I would not use a higher dilution due to the skin already being in a “damaged” state. If the skin is pretty sore or missing more than a couple of layers, feel free to begin with a 1% dilution. This can be achieved by reducing the 24 drops of Tea Tree in the recipe to 12 drops.

I recommend using a spray bottle for this recipe so the area can be sprayed and not touched. This will help prevent the spread of bacteria or fungus. I recommend these 2 ounce spray bottles (also linked to in the amazon ad below).

Keep scrolling to find out more detailed information about this recipe, which should answer any questions you may have about this recipe.

Anti-Fungal Spray recipe


  • 24 drops Tea Tree essential oil Melaleuca alternifolia, Melaleuca linariifolia var. alternifolia
  • 2 ounces aloe vera gel (I recommend this aloe vera)


  1. Add the above to a 2 ounce spray bottle.
  2. Shake to combine, or use a glass stirring rod to mix well.
  3. Apply 1-3 times per day for best results.

Although athlete's foot and poison ivy can clear within days, nails take much longer (months), as they take so long to grow out. Be patient! Keep applying faithfully – it will pay off 🙂

More Anti-Fungal Remedies

In addition, you may also wish to apply some anti-fungal hydrosols. The best ones for bacterial and fungal issues are:

  • Neroli
  • Chamomile (Roman)
  • Tea Tree
  • Witch Hazel

Other hydrosols which can be useful for clearing up the skin:

  • Cedarwood
  • Frankincense
  • Helichrysum
  • Lavender
  • Rose Geranium
  • Sandalwood
  • Yarrow

Learn more about hydrosols here: Hydrosols ebook and Hydrosols app.


Athlete's foot and nail fungus can be embarrassing (believe me, I know!). You want to hide your feet in closed shoes and not show them off. This only makes problems worse, as the heat and moisture of sneakers and closed shoes are prime conditions for fungus.

Oxygen is enemy to fungus. As your skin heals and your nail grows out, wear flip-flops around the house and go barefoot outside. Wearing socks right after applying the Tea Tree and aloe vera is okay, as it will help keep the recipe from evaporating as quickly.

You also might consider using nail polish on your nails until it grows out. I had avoided using nail polish for over a decade now due to their chemical content, but I recently discovered some companies now make nail polish without cancer-causing chemicals. There are several options out there, but the one I prefer is Essie. Essie brand nail polish is DBP, toluene and formaldehyde free. You can find it locally or find Essie on amazon.

Questions you may have about this recipe

Q: Is there something other than Tea Tree that I can use?

A: Tea Tree is the most effective essential oil for this job. I really don't recommend trying anything else.

Q: Can I use something other than aloe vera as a carrier in this recipe?

A: Aloe vera gel is the most effective carrier for this recipe, although you could also use a lotion, which is also water-based. I recommend the unscented lotion from Tropical Traditions.

Q: Can I make a stronger dilution?

A: You can use a 5% dilution temporarily (if the skin is not damaged) for the first several days to a week, and then cut back to 2% if you wish.

Q: Is this recipe safe for use during pregnancy?

A: Yes. For more information on essential oil safety during pregnancy read: Essential Oils and Pregnancy.

Q: Is this recipe safe for use if I breastfeed?

A: Yes. For more information on essential oil safety during pregnancy read: Essential Oils and Breastfeeding.

Q: Is this recipe safe for use on children?

A: All of the essential oils are safe for use on children, but I would probably knock the dilution down to 1% (half this recipe, or add twice as much carrier oil). For more information on essential oil safety with children read: Essential Oils and Children.

Q: What essential oil brands do you recommend for this recipe?

A: I personally use several different brands of essential oils with great results (you can find my opinion here). You can use whatever brand you have on hand, as long as the Latin names match 🙂

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