White Spots on Nails – Causes and Remedies

Updated on March 12th, 2020
White spots on nails

You might have seen white spots on nails quite often. Most of us have had them before and we were taught by our elders that it is a good sign and this means we will soon get new clothes or new things.

If you were also told so by your elders you might have waited eagerly for new clothes to wear, didn’t you? However, this is not true. This is a serious problem but if you are unable to get rid of them then you must think about it. Here are simple home remedies that can help you get rid of them; however if it seems little stubborn and doesn’t leave you, it’s better to see your doctor.

What Are White Spots on Nails?

The white lines or spots you see on your nail beds are also known as leukonychia(1) which is a very common issue and harmless. Many adults and children see them and they disappear slowly all by themselves. This is not a symptom of any health condition. For some people these appear to be larger in size spreading across the nail bed of or more fingers.

One of the common causes of this condition is nail injury, frequent manicures or pedicures, excess use of nail paints and acrylic nails, etc.


There are many reasons behind these spots; however, the most common causes are as listed below.

  1. Nail injury
  2. Allergic reaction
  3. Fungal infection
  4. Mineral deficiency

1. Nail Injury

If you have injured your nail at the base then it may result in white spots. With the growing nails, the white spots also slowly disappear.

2. Allergic Reaction

An allergy can occur due to nail polish, gloss, nail polish remover, etc. Using acrylic nails can also affect nails very badly.

3. Fungal Infection

White superficial onychomycosis(2) is a common nail fungus that appears on the toenails. If you see a few dots on the nails then this might be an early symptom of fungal infection. This slowly spreads through the nail bed and the nails may become flaky, thick and brittle.

4. Mineral Deficiency

If you go deficient of any vitamins or mineral then you may get white spots on the nails symbolizing the deficiency. Usually these spots indicate calcium and zinc deficiency.

Other than these 4 common causes there are other causes behind white spots which are rare. These include heart disease, renal or kidney failure, pneumonia, bad health, psoriasis or eczema, arsenic poisoning, etc. Here are few well known home remedies to treat them.

Remedies To Treat White Spots on Nails

1. Tea Tree Oil

Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil is well known as an effective antiseptic and that works really well on white spots. You just need to mix few drops of olive oil or thyme oil with this essential oil and apply it on the affected nail. Leave it for about 10 – 15 minutes and then rinse if you want. It prevents all kinds of infection.

[Also Read: Benefits of Tea Tree Oil]

2. Orange Oil

This is one of the most effective remedies to get rid of white spots on the nails. You can directly apply orange oil to your nails using a cotton ball or dropper and leave it for an hour. You can also mix this oil with some other oil in equal ratio. But before that don’t forget to do a patch test since it can affect negatively on sensitive skin.

[ Read: Tips To Cure White Spots on Skin  ]

3. Garlic Oil

Mix some garlic oil in equal quantity of vinegar to treat your nails. Apply this mixture to your nails and then wrap them with cloth or bandage. Since this oil is anti-fungal in nature, it will kill the fungus and cure this problem. You can also use olive oil in place of garlic oil. In fact, eating a garlic clove everyday can also cure this problem.

4. Lavender Oil

Lavender Oil Benefits

This is a multi-purpose oil which works effectively on such problems. Lavender oil has antifungal properties and many fluid composites. It also treats discolouration. You need to apply this oil to your nails and wrap them with a bandage or cloth.

[Also Read: Benefits of Lavender Oil]

5. Oregano Oil

This is also filled with antifungal properties and so can treat white spots on nails. Just blend this oil in some olive oil and apply it to your nails using a cotton ball. Do this regularly for better and quick results.

6. Vitamin E Oil

Gently rub some vitamin E oil using a cotton ball. You can also soak them in this oil and then apply it to the affected areas.

7. Coconut Oil

Ever thought that coconut oil has antifungal properties due to which it can treat white spots on nails? It can be directly applied to the nail beds massaging them using a cotton ball thrice a day. Do this everyday for faster results. In addition to its antifungal properties, coconut oil also locks the moisture in your nails beds and prevents contact of the outside moisture with the nails and thus prevents further fungal growth.

[Read: Natural Remedies for Removing White Fingernail Spots]

8. Baking Soda

baking soda

Mix ½ cup of baking soda in ¼ cup of peroxide, 4 cups of water and ½ cup of epsom salt. Once you prepare the mixture, add 1/4th cup vinegar to this. Now dip your fingernail in it and wait for a minute. Then apply this mixture to your nail followed by wrapping it with a bandage or some cloth. Repeat this process for about four weeks. The white spot will disappear if you do it regularly.

[Also Read: Benefits of Baking Soda]

9. Onion

Take an onion and peel it; then slice it in half and rub a slice on the nails gently. This is also one of the effective ways to treat white spots on nails.

10. Yogurt

You know that yogurt is rich in probiotics that help in treating the white spots. Just apply it directly to your affected nail and leave it for some time before rinsing.

In addition to these tips you also remember and follow few other tips to get rid of these spots. Make sure you take good amount of protein everyday. Foods rich in protein include chicken, chickpeas, milk, baked beans, fish, cottage cheese, peanuts, eggs, etc. Sometimes dehydration also cause white spots on nails; so, make sure you stay hydrated always. Here are few dos and don’ts you must follow to treat these spots.

11. White Vinegar

White Vinegar

Mix white vinegar with lukewarm water in 1:2 ratio and then soak your nails in it for 10 minutes. Once it is done, let your nails dry to avoid fungus. If you feel irritation then add more water to it.

12. Apple Cider Vinegar

Mix water and apple cider vinegar in equal parts and apply it to your nails using a cotton ball. Do this everyday for quick results. You can also prepare antifungal scrub by mixing rice flour and some apple cider vinegar. Apply this to your nails and gently massage or scrub your nails. This will remove the dead skin cells.

[Also Read: Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar]

13. Lemon Juice

We all know that lemon juice has citric acid in it which is antibacterial and can cure nail infections. Apply this juice directly to your nail and leave it for 10 minutes; then rinse it well and repeat it everyday for a month. You can mix it with some olive oil and massage your nails with it using a cotton ball.

14. Vicks Vaporub

First you need to wash your hands well and then cut the nails. Now let them dry well and then apply some vicks vaporub to your nail beds. Using a cloth or bandage wrap your nails; repeat it everyday till the spots are gone.

15. Listerine

This mouthwash has antibacterial properties which can cure white spots on the fingernails. Mix vinegar, listerine and lemon juice and prepare a mixture with them. Now apply it to your nails and leave it for 10 minutes.


  1. Always keep your nails clean. Cut them from time to time.
  2. Drink sufficient water to stay hydrated.
  3. Drink cranberry juice which is known to  remove toxins from the body.
  4. Take diet rich in green vegetables and fruits to boost your immunity.
  5. If white spots on fingernails usually spread over time, it’s better to consult your doctor.


  1. Avoid excessive use of nail paints.
  2. Do not touch water or moisture so often. If you do, then dry your nails immediately.
  3. Reduce sugar intake since it promotes fungal growth.
  4. Small white spots on fingernails are harmless and usually disappear themselves. So, there’s no need to use these remedies.

These are very easy to use remedies yet very effective.

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