By Kimbry Parker

Dirty nails can ruin your look, and sometimes just washing your hands frequently isn't enough to get them clean. Bacteria can also get trapped beneath your fingernails, which can pose a health hazard. When your nails are in need of a deep cleaning – maybe after a day of gardening or painting the kitchen walls -- take some extra time to clean them effectively.

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Wash under your fingernails each time you wash your hands to help keep your nails clean.

Down and Dirty Nail Cleaning

Depending how dirty your nails are, soaking them first may be necessary, especially if they are stained with paint, ink or other discolorations. Give your nails a soak in hydrogen peroxide for about five minutes to help lighten the stains and dirt. After soaking, scrub your nails one at a time with a nail brush, warm water and hand soap. Scrub underneath the nails first, scrubbing vigorously back and forth, then clean the front of each nail by moving the brush in a circular motion. Rinse the brush under warm water frequently while scrubbing, and apply more hand soap to the brush as the suds begin to dissipate. Pay special attention to the areas of the nails around the cuticles, as dirt and grime often become trapped here. If the dirt is embedded into the cuticle, use a cuticle pusher to gently push down the cuticles to loosen the dirt, and then scrub again with the nail brush. Rinse your nails under warm water after scrubbing to remove any loose dirt and soap residue. Dry your hands and apply a moisturizing hand lotion while the skin is still damp.