How to Whiten Your Yellow and Stained Nails

Aly Walansky
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woman applying nail polish

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If you think about it, your nails are sort of the focal point of your hands. Who wants to have stains on a focal point? We’ve all had yellowed and stained nails from time to time and they can be annoying and difficult to remedy. The following nail hacks may just make it a bit easier — and the solutions come from surprising places!

Lemon Juice
Soaking your nails in lemon juice will get rid of those yellow stains. Soak your nails for 10-15 minutes each day until you are happy with the results, says Shel Pink, SpaRitual founder.

MORE: 13 Weird and Wonderful Nail Hacks You Need to Know About

Light Buffing
The top layer of your nails is where the yellow stains are. By buffing your nails you will get rid of the top layers, removing some of the stains. While this method may work, buffing your nails is not recommended because it can lead to weaker nails, says Pink. If you choose to buff your nails, try using a clear strengthening polish after.

Toothpaste
One way to brighten stained or yellow nails is to use a whitening toothpaste (a whitening toothpaste with baking soda and peroxide is even better), says Adrienne Blanks, founder of eco-friendly D.I.D Nail Paint. It’s also helpful to buff the nails first before you start the whitening process. After buffing, apply the whitening toothpaste on your nails and let it sit for about 10 minutes. Then, you can get either a nail brush or a toothbrush to gently scrub your nail beds and then rinse your hands in the sink. You should notice that your nails are brighter and less stained than before. Repeat these steps again the next day until you notice that your nail beds are back to their normal color.

MORE: Tips and Tricks to Stop Biting Your Nails

Denture Cleaner
Does Grandma have denture cleaner sitting around? This will whiten in very much the same way that the toothpaste does. Dissolve some denture cleaner in a bowl of water and let your nails soak for a few minutes. It’ll remove stains from nails the same way it would from teeth!

Base Coat
To prevent the yellowing and staining of your nails, be sure to use a base coat, says Blanks. Using a base coat protects the nail from stains that can happen, especially from darker polish. It gives the nail color something to adhere to other than your actual nail and it makes nail polish removal easier as well.

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