How to Clean Under Your Nails: 7 Common Mistakes People Make

Keeping your nails clean is an essential part of good hygiene. Dirt, bacteria, and other debris can accumulate under your nails, which can lead to infections and other health problems. Cleaning under your nails is a simple process that can be done quickly and easily with just a few simple tools. In this article, we’ll go over some easy steps for how to clean under your nails effectively.

How to Clean Under Your Nails

Why Is It Important to Clean Your Nails?

Cleaning your nails is an essential part of personal hygiene that often gets overlooked. Neglecting your nails can lead to the buildup of dirt, bacteria, and germs, which can cause various health issues. Here are some reasons why it is important to clean your nails regularly:

Prevents the spread of germs and bacteria: Our hands come in contact with numerous surfaces throughout the day, and it is easy for germs and bacteria to get trapped under our nails. If these germs are not removed, they can easily spread to other parts of the body, leading to infections.

Promotes healthy nails: Dirt and bacteria can cause the nails to become weak and brittle, making them more prone to breaking or splitting. Regular cleaning helps to remove any buildup of dirt and bacteria, promoting healthy nail growth.

Prevents fungal infections: Fungi thrive in warm and moist environments, and the area under the nails is an ideal breeding ground for them. Failure to clean your nails can lead to the development of fungal infections, which can be difficult to treat.

Improves overall hygiene: Neglecting your nails can lead to unpleasant odors, which can be embarrassing and off-putting to others. Regular cleaning helps to eliminate any odors, leaving your hands feeling fresh and clean.

Enhances appearance: Clean and well-groomed nails enhance your appearance and give a good impression to others. Neglecting your nails, on the other hand, can make you look unkempt and unhygienic.

Steps to Clean Your Nails

Step 1: Gather Your Tools

Before you start cleaning, you’ll need to gather some basic tools. You’ll need a nail brush, which is a small brush with stiff bristles that’s specifically designed for cleaning under your nails. You’ll also need some soap and water, and a towel to dry your hands afterwards.

Step 2: Wet Your Hands

Begin by wetting your hands under running water. Make sure the water is warm, but not too hot, as hot water can dry out your skin.

Step 3: Apply Soap

Apply a small amount of soap to your hands and lather it up. Make sure to create a good amount of lather on your fingertips and under your nails.

Step 4: Use Your Nail Brush

Take your nail brush and gently scrub under each nail, using a back-and-forth motion. Be sure to get all the way to the base of each nail, as this is where the most dirt and bacteria tends to accumulate. Pay special attention to any areas that are particularly dirty or discolored.

Step 5: Rinse

Once you’ve finished scrubbing, rinse your hands under running water to remove all the soap and debris.

Step 6: Dry

Use a clean towel to dry your hands thoroughly. Make sure to dry under your nails as well to avoid any moisture getting trapped there.

Step 7: Repeat as Needed

Depending on your daily activities, you may need to clean under your nails more than once a day. If you work in a job that involves getting your hands dirty, for example, you may need to clean your nails more frequently to prevent infection.

In addition to these steps, there are a few other things you can do to keep your nails clean and healthy. These include:

Trim your nails regularly: Short nails are less likely to accumulate dirt and bacteria.

Avoid biting your nails: This can introduce bacteria and other germs into your mouth.

Wear gloves: If you work in a job that involves getting your hands dirty, consider wearing gloves to protect your nails.

7 Common Mistakes People Make

Nails are an essential part of our body, and taking good care of them is necessary to maintain their health and appearance. However, when it comes to nail cleaning, there are several mistakes that people make that can affect the health of their nails. We will discuss some of the common nail cleaning mistakes that people make and how to avoid them.

Using Harsh Chemicals

One of the most common mistakes people make when cleaning their nails is using harsh chemicals. Nail polish removers, acetone, and other cleaning products contain strong chemicals that can damage the nails and cuticles. Instead of using these products, opt for a mild soap or a gentle nail polish remover.

Cutting the Cuticles

Another common mistake people make when cleaning their nails is cutting the cuticles. The cuticles protect the nails from infections and should not be cut. Instead, gently push them back using a cuticle pusher.

Over-Filing the Nails

Filing the nails is an essential part of nail cleaning, but over-filing can damage the nails. Use a gentle file and file in one direction, avoiding back-and-forth movements. Also, avoid filing the sides of the nails as this can weaken them.

Using Dirty Tools

Using dirty tools to clean your nails is a common mistake that can lead to infections. Make sure to clean your nail tools after each use and store them in a clean, dry place.

Using Too Much Force

When cleaning your nails, using too much force can damage the nail bed and cuticles. Instead, use a gentle touch and avoid applying too much pressure.

Skipping Moisturizer

Moisturizing your nails is an essential step in nail cleaning that people often overlook. Use a good quality hand cream or cuticle oil to keep your nails hydrated and healthy.

Ignoring Nail Health Issues

Nail health issues such as fungal infections, ingrown nails, and nail psoriasis should not be ignored. If you notice any signs of nail health problems, consult a dermatologist for proper diagnosis and treatment.

How Often Should You Clean Your Nails?

The frequency of cleaning your nails depends on your lifestyle, occupation, and personal preferences. However, as a general rule, it is recommended to clean your nails at least once a day. This can be done while taking a shower or washing your hands. Use a nail brush to gently scrub your nails and the skin around them to remove any dirt, bacteria, or dead skin cells. Pay special attention to the areas underneath the nails, as this is where most germs and dirt tend to accumulate.

In addition to daily cleaning, it is also important to give your nails a thorough cleaning once a week. This can be done by soaking your nails in warm soapy water for a few minutes, and then using a cuticle pusher to gently push back the cuticles. You can also use a nail file to shape your nails and remove any rough edges.

If you wear nail polish, it is important to remove it regularly and allow your nails to breathe. Nail polish can trap dirt and bacteria underneath, leading to fungal infections or discoloration. Therefore, it is recommended to remove your nail polish every two weeks and let your nails rest for a few days before reapplying.

Overall, the key is to clean your nails regularly to maintain good hygiene and prevent infections. By cleaning your nails at least once a day and giving them a thorough cleaning once a week, you can ensure that your nails remain healthy and strong.


Cleaning under your nails is an essential part of personal hygiene and can prevent the spread of germs and infections. There are several methods that you can use to clean under your nails, including using a nail brush, toothbrush, or other cleaning tools, and using a combination of soap, water, and other cleaning agents. It’s important to clean under your nails regularly, especially if you work in an environment where your hands are exposed to dirt and germs. By adopting a regular nail cleaning routine, you can keep your nails and hands healthy and free from harmful bacteria and other contaminants. So, make sure to prioritize nail hygiene as a part of your overall health and wellness routine.