How To Whiten Yellow Nails From Nail Polish Stains

whiten yellow nailsOne of the most common causes of discolored yellow nails is failing to wear a clear base coat under dark colored nail polish. The nail bed absorbs the color from the polish so that when you decide to remove it a few days later, your nails look like you have a 20 a day smoking habit. Eek!

All is not lost though, you can restore your nails to a healthy color so that you can face the world with bare or clear nails again! Just save yourself the trouble next time and remember your base coat. It not only protects your nails from discoloration but helps prevent nail polish chipping.

How To Whiten Yellow Nails From Nail Polish

Although there are nail whitener products you can buy (see the whole range of nail whiteners here on Amazon US or Amazon UK), you can quite easily tackle the problem at home using natural remedies so it’s worth starting with an easier and cheaper solution to correct the problem. Here are the various remedies to try

IMPORTANT: After Treating Your Nails
Even though a number of these home remedies may seem gentle, they all have a bleaching effect which can be dehydrating for your nails and skin.

After treatment, be sure to carefully rinse off the substance you choose, wash your hands, dry them thoroughly and apply hand cream to treat your cuticles and moisturize your hands and nails.


Lemon juice has natural bleaching properties. Remove the pulp and then rub the inside of the fresh lemon skin firmly against your nails to remove the yellow tinge. Alternatively, you can soak your nails for a few minutes in lemon juice to bleach the nails, though this is a little harsher on your skin.


Lemon and Baking Powder

Make a paste from one tablespoon of lemon juice and one tablespoon of baking powder. Dot each nail with a little of the paste and rub firmly into the nail. Leave for a couple of minutes before rinsing.



Pour a little vinegar into a bowl and soak your fingernails for a minute or two. Scrub with a nail brush and then rinse.


Whitening Toothpaste

The kind of toothpaste that whitens teeth can also be used to whiten your nails. Use as a paste in the same way as the lemon juice and baking powder paste.

Let Your Nails Breathe
Remember that your nails can also take on an unhealthy yellow look simply by being constantly covered in layers of polish (even if the coating is clear) and from false nails covering the nail surface.

To prevent this, make sure you leave your nails bare now and again and let them “breathe”.

Salt and Oil Scrub

Create a scrub for your nails with one tablespoon ordinary table salt and two tablespoons of vegetable oil. Rub this into the surface of your nails to remove the stains.


Denture Cleaner

Dissolve a denture tablet in water and use it to soak your nails for a few minutes.


Hydrogen Peroxide

Either soak a Q-tip in a 3% solution of hydrogen peroxide and rub this into your nail surface or soak your nails in one part hydrogen peroxide solution and one part water for a minute or two and then scrub with a toothbrush you keep for this purpose.

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Baking Soda and Hydrogen Peroxide

You can also create a bleaching paste with three tablespoons of baking soda and one tablespoon of 3% hydrogen peroxide. Use a Q-tip to apply the paste to the nail surface and underneath the tips. Leave the paste on for five minutes, then rinse off.


Buff Your Nails

Use a buffer to gently buff your nails. You should not buff your nails too often as it can weaken nails if you over-buff them but it can be useful to get rid of light stains occasionally.


Nail Whitening Pencil

If only the tips of your nails are stained, you can use a nail whitening pencil to lighten them. Slide your white pencil underneath the nail tip so that the white color transfers to the underside of the nail to brighten it. The effect of the pencil will not be lasting however – just as long as you next wash your hands – so it is only a temporary solution you have to repeat frequently.

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