How to Remove Stains From Your Nails. Neat, clean nails may not always be noticed, but dirty, ragged and stained nails most definitely make an impression on people. Removing stains from your nails can be tricky, depending on the stain, but there are some tried-and-true methods that work.

  • Terry washcloth
  • Whitening toothpaste
  • Fine-grit emery board or nail file
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Soft toothbrush or nailbrush
  • Lemon
  • Dishwashing liquid
  • Bleach
  • Cotton swab

The Five-Step Method for Removing Almost any Stain

Soak your nails in warm water with dishwashing liquid added for 10 minutes.

Scrub the surface of the nails lightly with a terry washcloth.

Scrub the surface of the nails lightly with a soft nailbrush or toothbrush.

Dip a cotton swab in hydrogen peroxide and swab the nails to lighten any remaining stains.

Buff your nails lightly with a very fine-grit emery board or nail file.

Still Got Stains?

Wash your nails with a soft toothbrush and whitening toothpaste.

Cut a lemon in half. Loosen up the pulp. Stick your fingertips into the cut lemon halves and swirl them around for about 5 minutes. The lemon juice acts like a mild bleach on your nails.

Dilute 1 part bleach with 10 parts water and soak your nails in the solution. Gently scrub under the nails with the bleach solution to remove any remaining stains from under your nails.

  • Avoid stains from nail polish by always using a base coat beneath any colored nail polish or enamel.