Three Ways to Use Crushed Garlic to Treat Ingrown Toenails

The medicinal properties of garlic can be of great help in fighting infections caused by ingrown toenails and can speed up the healing process. Find out more here.
Three Ways to Use Crushed Garlic to Treat Ingrown Toenails
Sergio Alonso Castrillejo

Written and verified by the pharmacist Sergio Alonso Castrillejo.

Last update: 09 August, 2022

Garlic is a plant that belongs to the Allium family. It’s closely related to onions, shallots, and leeks. Due to its antiseptic properties, it can help fight the discomfort of ingrown toenails.

Garlic grows in many parts of the world and is a popular ingredient in cooking due to its delicious taste. In fact, throughout history, it’s been used for its medicinal properties and health benefits.

Causes and symptoms of ingrown toenails

An ingrown toenail can cause a great deal of discomfort.

Ingrown toenails occur when the flesh beneath one or both sides of a nail becomes sensitive and inflamed. It usually affects the toenails and is mostly due to the excessive growth of the nail or pressure of the flesh against it.

The most common symptoms are:

  • Pain and tenderness on one or both sides of a toenail.
  • Redness of the skin and swelling of the affected area.
  • Infection of the tissue surrounding the nail.

One cause is wearing shoes that are too small or narrow in the part where the toes go. Ingrown toenails can also be caused by high heels, which throw the weight of the body forward, keeping the toes squeezed in the narrowest part of the shoe.

Sometimes, they can be caused by not cutting the toenails properly. The best way to do this is to square and not round the corners of the nail. Doing so may cause the flesh to grow around the rounded corners and as the nail proceeds to grow, it penetrates the flesh.

Tips for cutting ingrown toenails

A woman cutting her toenails.
Cutting your toenails correctly is the first step to preventing ingrown toenails.

Next, we’ll tell you how to cut an ingrown toenail. Don’t try to cut the ingrown part yourself, as this could make the problem worse.

  • Soak your toenail in warm water to soften it.
  • Use clean and sharp nail clippers.
  • Trim the nail evenly across the top. Don’t cut it too much or round the corners.

Consider wearing wider shoes until the problem is gone. Also, if it causes a lot of pain, you might want to take painkillers.

Next, we’ll talk about the properties of garlic that help relieve ingrown nails. We’ll also suggest three treatments that include garlic.

The properties of garlic

Peeled garlic cloves.
Garlic is a natural remedy for ingrown toenails.

Throughout history, this food has been used for its medicinal properties. Garlic contains a compound called allicin which gives it its benefits.

Allicin is one of the sulfuric compounds that’s released when the garlic is chopped, crushed, or chewed. It’s responsible for the distinctive odor of garlic.

Thanks to this component, garlic has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory actions. In the case of ingrown nails, they would prevent the appearance or spread of the infection and could help soothe the painful skin around the nail.

Garlic treatments for ingrown toenails

As garlic is an antiseptic and a great natural cure, it can be used to treat ingrown toenails.

1. Garlic and Vicks VapoRub treatment

Vicks VapoRub is a mentholated ointment that soothes irritation and pain in the affected nails. Combine it with garlic to boost its effects.


  • 1 tablespoon of Vicks VapoRub (20 g).
  • 1 garlic clove.
  • A bandage.


  • Crush the garlic with the ointment until it forms a thick paste.
  • Apply on your ingrown toenail and cover with a bandage.
  • Leave on overnight and repeat for five consecutive days.

2. Natural home treatment

Garlic is useful due to its antiseptic and anti-inflammatory effects.


  • 4 cups of water (1 liter).
  • 1 garlic clove.
  • Cotton wool.


  • Boil the water and pour it into a container.
  • Carefully soak your ingrown toenail in the hot water several times.
  • Dry with a clean cloth.
  • Crush the garlic. Soak some cotton wool in the garlic paste and place it under the nail to kill the infection.
  • You should repeat this treatment two to three times a day.

We recommend that you read: Benefits of Garlic Eaten Daily

3. Garlic and aloe vera or honey

These last two ingredients are known for their calming and healing properties. To calm the infection and prevent it from spreading, try this remedy. It’s perfect if you have slightly sensitive skin.


  • 2 or 3 cloves of garlic.
  • A little aloe vera or honey.


  • Crush the garlic cloves and mix with some aloe vera gel or honey. Apply to the affected area and cover with a bandage without pressing.
  • Leave on for 30 minutes then remove with a little warm water.

How to prevent ingrown toenails

With proper treatment and these home remedies, the problem will usually heal without further consequences. That said, if you don’t take good care of your feet, the problem may reappear. Taking a few simple measures can help prevent ingrown toenails:

  • Cut the toenails straight across. They should be at finger height, neither too long nor too short.
  • To make it easier to cut your nails, soften them with hot water and use clean and sharp nail clippers.
  • Keep your feet clean and dry.
  • Wear shoes that fit properly and leave a slight gap around the toes.

More information

Ingrown toenails are painful but don’t usually cause any major problems. However, some people should pay special attention when they appear.

People with diabetes, young children, and those suffering from nerve damage (in the legs or feet), poor circulation, or an infection around the nail should all be particularly careful. In fact, if you’re in any of these situations, you should consult with your doctor and not try to treat the problem at home.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.