How to Whiten Your Nails

2 Simple Ways To Whiten Your Nails

Woman cleaning polish off nails
Gianni Diliberto/The Image Bank/Getty Images

Dark polishes can look amazing and sexy, but they often leave your nails stained, yellow, or discolored which is extremely frustrating. Yes, you could just paint over your stained nails, but when you want to go polish-free or get a natural looking manicure, stained or yellow nails become a big problem. Dark, stained nails can not only look unprofessional but also unsightly making you want to hide your hands all the time.

These two methods make it a snap to have bright and smooth nails again so you can either go around with bare nails, paint your nails a light color, or have a French manicure. You don't even have to go out and buy special products for these methods. Everything you need is probably at home already.

Ways To Whiten Your Nails

There are two ways to whiten your nails using products you probably already have on hand.

The first easy method involves whitening toothpaste:

  1. Remove your nail polish. Using a nail polish remover, strip your nails of any polish, including clear polish.
  2. Buff your nails. Use a 4-way buffing block or a battery operated nail buffer. File and shape your nails.
  3. Apply a coat of whitening toothpaste. Evenly coat the tops and undersides of your nails. Use a nail brush and gently scrub your nails. For some, scrubbing your nails will do the trick, but if your nails are still stained or yellow, apply another coat of toothpaste and let it sit for at least 5 to 10 minutes.
  1. Rinse your nails. Rinse off the toothpaste and you'll notice instantly whiter-looking nails. Reapply the toothpaste as many times as necessary to get your desired shade.

The second technique uses baking soda, a household product that has countless uses, especially in the beauty department and around the house.

Baking soda has actually been used for thousands of years to clean and neutralize odors. Since it can cut through grease and is slightly abrasive it can certainly give your nails a good buffing that will remove yellow stains left over from dark nail polishes.  

  1. Remove your nail polish.
  2. Buff your nails.
  3. Apply a baking soda paste. Mix two teaspoons of baking soda with warm water. Apply the paste to the tops and undersides of your nails. Let the mixture sit for at least 5 minutes.
  4. Rinse your nails. If they're still stained, apply another coat of the baking soda paste.

It's as easy as that! Your nails will be clean and buffed, and you'll be able to go polish-free or wear a light shade of nail polish without it looking strange.

Here are some more nail tips that might interest you:

  • Common Fingernail Problems Explained: Fingernail ridges, white spots, brittle nails - there are many different types of fingernail problems that we notice on our nails at times, but how can you tell when it's a serious problem? And what can we do to fix them? Nail technician Hillary Fry offers her advice.
  • Help! Peeling Nails: Peeling fingernails can prevent you from growing out your nails. This article shares tips on how to give weak nails a little TLC.
  • FAQ and Tips on Shellac Nails: Shellac is thin and strong enough to be applied similarly to nail polish, but it is cured in a way that gives it great flexibility and durability. It also has an incredible shine associated only with gel nails. Once you try it, it will be hard to go back to normal nail polish. We liked it so much we bought the stuff needed to do our own Shellac at home.

Updated by Hanah Tetro