How To Treat Green Nails? Follow These Methods

When you remove your artificial nails, you expect to see your natural nail color. So, it can be a shock if you discover your nails have turned green.

Many people who wear nail enhancements experience this alarming color change. But your nails won’t stay like that forever, so don’t panic. Here’s how to get them back to normal.  

How To Treat Green Nails?

The most common home remedies for treating green nails caused by bacterial or fungal infections are tea tree oil applied directly to the affected nails or soaking the nails in diluted tea tree oil or vinegar. A doctor must treat serious infections or infections that don’t improve with home remedies.

There’s no overnight fix for green nails. It takes long-term, consistent treatment to get your nails healthy. Doctors can prescribe treatments proven to clear infections that turn nails green.

But if your infection is mild, you could give a home remedy a go before getting your doctor’s help.

green toenails

Home Treatment For Green Nails

Before you treat your nails, you must figure out whether it’s a fungal or bacterial infection that’s turned them green.

You’ve probably got a fungal infection if you have:

  • Nails with green, green-yellow, yellow, black, or white discoloration.
  • Thick, brittle nails or nails that have separated from the nail bed.
  • Painful, itchy, inflamed, or bad-smelling skin around your nails. 

A bacterial infection has likely taken hold if you have:

  • Nails with blue-green, dark green, green-brown, green-yellow, or blue-grey discoloration.
  • Inflamed and tender skin around your nails.

Suppose you’re still unsure which type of infection you’re dealing with. You’re in luck! There are easy-to-find, low-risk home remedies with antibacterial and antifungal properties that treat both: vinegar and tea tree oil. These everyday ingredients aren’t a fail-safe treatment, but many swear they’ve helped fight greening nails.

Here’s how to use vinegar and tea tree oil to tackle your nail infection.


You could try getting rid of your infection by regularly soaking your affected nails in diluted vinegar.

Just follow these steps:

Step 1: Pour 1 part vinegar and 2 parts water into a basin.

Step 2: Soak your affected nails in the vinegar mixture daily. Start with 10 to 15 minutes. If you tolerate the mixture well, gradually increase the time. Soak only a few times a week if your skin becomes dry and cracked.

Step 3: Keep up your daily or weekly vinegar soaks until your symptoms improve. Be patient. This treatment can take weeks to months to show effects.

Tea Tree Oil

You can apply tea tree oil (diluted or undiluted) directly to your affected nails or make a tea tree oil soak.

Choose a 100% pure, ideally organic oil with 10 to 40% terpinen.

Here are the steps for applying the oil directly to your nails:

Step 1: Use the tea tree oil undiluted or mix 1 or 2 parts tea tree oil with 12 parts of carrier oil like sweet almond or coconut. Apply a little diluted oil to your arm and watch the area for 48 hours before you use undiluted oil. If you don’t experience side effects, you can go ahead with the undiluted oil on your affected nails, but never apply more than 3 drops.

Step 2: Using a cotton swab, paint the undiluted or diluted tea tree oil straight onto your affected nails twice a day. Alternatively, soak a cotton ball in diluted tea tree oil and hold it against your affected nails for a few minutes.

And here’s how to prepare a tea tree oil soak:

Step 1: Mix 5 drops of tea tree oil into 1/2 an ounce of carrier oil and stir the mixture into a basin of warm water.

Step 2: Soak your affected nails in the mixture for 20 minutes a few times a week.

You must continue the tea tree oil application or soaks for months to get nail infections under control.

Other Home Remedies

Here’s a glance at more home remedies that might do the trick and rid your nails of dreaded greenness caused by fungus:

RemedyHow To Use It
Vicks VapoRub  Apply a dab to the affected nails daily.
Snakeroot ExtractApply to the affected nails every 3 days (for month 1), twice a week (for month 2), and weekly (for month 3).
Oregano Oil  Apply to the affected nails twice daily.
Ozonized Oils  Apply to the affected nails twice daily.
Olive Leaf Extract  Swallow 1 to 3 olive leaf capsules with meals twice a day.
Listerine Mouthwash  Soak the affected nails in Listerine Original (amber-colored) for 30 minutes a day.
Garlic  Put chopped or crushed garlic on the affected nails for 30 minutes daily.

Warning: A home remedy you shouldn’t try is a bleach soak. Although bleach can zap fungus and bacteria, it might worsen your infection by damaging your skin and nails and making them vulnerable to harmful organisms.

toenails turned green

What To Do If Home Treatment Doesn’t Work

Keep a close eye on your infected nails. Better yet, take photos of them to help you track their progress. You’ll need to see a doctor if your symptoms worsen or don’t improve with home treatment.

Skip the home treatment and go straight to a medical pro if you have a serious infection, diabetes, a weak immune system, or poor circulation.

A doctor will diagnose your infection and prescribe an effective treatment.

The usual treatments are topical or oral antifungal medications or antibiotics. A drastic treatment for super-stubborn infections is temporarily removing the affected nail or permanently removing the nail and its root. However, this treatment is a last resort and rarely used.


You’re most likely to clear green nails by getting treatment from a doctor, like topical or oral medications. However, if your infection is mild, you could try a home remedy like a vinegar soak or applying tea tree oil directly to the nails before going the doctor route. Just know that all treatment methods take time, so stick it out.

In case of servere nail infection, you must see a doctor.