Onychomycosis is defined as a fungal infection of the nail bed and/or nail plate. The prevalence of onychomycosis has increased dramatically as a worldwide condition in the twentieth century due to occlusive footwear, global wars and natural migration. Risk factors generally leading to onychomycosis development include bodily spread of dermatophyte and non-dermatophyte tinea pedis, peripheral vascular disease, damaged nails via sports and trauma, older age, genetics, immunodeficiency and diabetes. Many publications discuss prevalence, symptoms and treatment of the disease in individual cases, hospitals or specific locations, but few strongly link the cause of onychomycosis to living environments. This is a review of the current literature on the prevalence of onychomycosis and its relationship to surrounding living environments of those infected. A Pubmed search was performed with ‘onychomycosis’. Articles were selected based on the relevance to close quarter living environments. All ages can be affected with onychomycosis, ranging from children in boarding schools to elderly in nursing homes. Although not directly linking living environments to transmission and infection in all articles reviewed, onychomycosis was very prevalent in many different close quarter living settings, including within families, boarding schools, military quarters and nursing homes. This review demonstrates that various close quarter living environments are highly associated with increased transmission and infection with onychomycosis.