Banish Stained Nails Forever With This Easy Trick

Alle Connell


When it comes to nails, I am more than slightly obsessed. I have literally hundreds of bottles of lacquer. I can give myself a manicure in half an hour that impresses professionals. There is not a product, trend or technique that I haven’t tried (except for nail piercings; I can’t get behind that).

My name is Alle, and I am a nail fanatic.

The problem is that when you’re constantly painting and removing polish—especially if your fingernails are fragile (as mine are), or when you worship at the altar of intense colors (like I do)—you frequently end up with stained nails. Sure, you could hide the problem by painting over it, filing the face of the nail until it’s abraded away or buying expensive nail-whitening kits…OR could you try my simple, effective, amazing (and up until now, secret) stain removal technique.

My secret? Denture tablets. You read that right: first suggested by my dentist back in high school, this gets rid of nail discoloration caused by varnish, as well as natural or nicotine-based yellowing (also don’t smoke, everyone). The best part? It costs three dollars, and a single box is enough to keep your nails looking perfect for well over a year.

So let’s break it down! Here’s how to use denture tablets to remove stains from your nails.

You will need:

  • A medium-sized glass or ceramic bowl.
  • A denture tablet. The generic ones work just fine.
  • A soft toothbrush.
  • Essential oil (optional).
  • A washcloth or very soft towel.

How to do it:

After removing all your nail polish and washing your hands, fill your bowl with warm water and drop in the denture tablet (one is enough). It will fizz up excitingly; you can also add a drop or two of your favorite essential oils to the concoction if you’d like to feel like you’re at a spa.

When the tablet has dissolved, soak your fingers in the warm water for about twenty minutes. Use the soft toothbrush to GENTLY rub the face of the nails and help get rid of especially stubborn stains (the discoloration caused by red nail polish really benefits from this).

When your nails are looking clean and beautiful, dry them gently on the towel or washcloth. Think of this like a finger massage and rub each of your nails with small circles; this stimulates bloodflow and helps them look extra pink and healthy. Do this once a week, or as needed.

You’re done! Now your nails are unstained and gorgeous. Apply some hand cream (L’Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream, $28, is my choice), have a glass of wine and give yourself a truly beautiful manicure. After all, you now have the perfect clean canvas.

Read more: The Do’s and Don’ts of an At-Home Manicure