10 Foolproof Ways to Get Rid of Yellow Nails

Kristen Bousquet
How to Get Rid of Yellow Nails


Obviously, none of us are perfect. Sometimes our bodies react to the things we put in (or on) them, and things can get ugly. This is definitely the case when it comes to our nails. Too much polish equals discolored fingernails if you don’t give them time to breath occasionally. Plus, too much bacteria can also result in some, well, pretty disturbing colored nails.

Since this is nothing to be ashamed of and can actually be a pretty quick fix, we’ve rounded up some of the most quick, easy, and convenient ways to get rid of yellow nails! Check them out below!

1. The most common suggestion? Stop using so much dark nail polish.

Of course we all love a little black or dark navy polish from time to time, but constantly using dark colors like this may cause your nails to become discolored. Try to switch your color choices from something dark to something nice and light (or no polish at all, if you can stand it) so you can give your nails time to recuperate.

MORE: Why You Should Use Non-Toxic Nail Polish

2. Always, always, always use a base coat.

It sounds crazy and everything, but base coats actually were made for a reason! Of course, it’s the perfect way for nail companies to add on one more product to your order, but we actually believe that this step is pretty necessary. By using a base coat, you’re adding in a protective layer between your nails and the polish. This will help to prevent staining and can actually help keep your nails healthier. They even make base coats (like this Deborah Lippmann All About That Base CC Coat) that are meant to color correct and strengthen your nails before you apply your color.

3. Use a buffing board to remove the exposed top layer that may be stained.

If you’ve just recently realized that your nails are starting to get discolored, try as a first step to remove some of the top layer of the nail with a buffing board. Make sure not to scrub away too much, as you want your nails to stay as strong as possible. However, this may help to fade the discoloration when it’s not too severe.

4. Rub your nails in lemon juice or a whole lemon.

Like anything else that’s super acidic, you don’t want to soak your nails or skin in it too long, but lemon juice is a great option to rub onto your nails to help remove any yellowing. You have a couple option: you can either use an actual lemon, slice it in half, and work each nail into it for 30 to 60 seconds each, or you can go ahead and use lemon juice with a cotton ball and rub each nail thoroughly. Afterwards, let your nails sit for 10 to 30 minutes before rinsing them in water.

5. Mix water with 3 percent hydrogen peroxide and scrub with a toothbrush.

You also have a couple options here. First, you can create a hydrogen peroxide and water mixture, dip the toothbrush into the mixture, and rub each nail. You can always use that same mixture as a soak and dip your nails into the solution for 1 to 10 minutes or just until the discoloration is gone.

6. Dissolve denture cleaning tablets in water and soak it up.

Since denture cleaning tablets are meant to clean and whiten teeth, they can also do this for your nails. It’s easy! Just dissolve your desired amount of tablets (usually 2 to 4) in water and soak your fingernails in it for about 10 to 15 minutes. Pat your nails dry and make sure to follow up with some type of hand moisturizer. For best results, repeat the process three times per week for one to two months.

7. For a quick fix, use a nail whitening pencil or scrub.

If you’re trying to skip polishing your nails but can’t bare to go out with yellow nails, you can opt for a nail whitening pencil (like this Flowery Nail White Pencil) or scrub (like Develop 10’s Nail Whitening scrub) that you can pick up at your local Ulta to get instant results.

MORE: The Top-Selling Nail Polish Colors

8. Apply tea tree oil to your nails.

If it’s not the polish that’s doing the damage, you may have a nail fungus (ew, we know, but it happens) that is causing the discoloration. To try to solve the problem with a home remedy, you can put a drop of tea tree oil onto your nail beds, leave it to settle for a couple minutes, and then rinse with warm water. To see the best results, you’ll want to do this twice daily for a few months until you notice improvement.

9. Cut teeth whitening strips into the shape of your nails and let them do their job.

Since the objective here is to whiten your nails, using a gentle whitener like a tooth whitening strip would get the job done. While the process of cutting the strips to fit your nails may be tedious and the price of the whitening strips to begin with can get expensive, it’ll do the trick.

10. Use fruit!

If you’re the type of person that believes food can fix anything, you’ll love this one. Aside from lemons, you can also use fruits like oranges or juniper berries to whiten your nails. If you’ll be eating an orange every day, you can save your orange peel and rub your nails with it two to three times daily (make sure it’s fresh each day). Within a few weeks, you’ll start to see results. Like we said, you can also use juniper berries. Add one teaspoon of these berries all crushed up into a bowl of warm water. Repeat this once daily before you head to bed. Bonus, you’ll smell great!