How to Whiten Stained Nails

Updated 04/08/19
Oleg Ivanov/Unsplash

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.

Whitening Toothpaste

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 to 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 5-10 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.

Baking Soda

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 - See above.
  2. Buff your nails - See above.
  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.

Updated by Hanah Tetro

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