How To Whiten Nails – 6 DIY Nail Whitening Methods

Bid farewell to those unsightly dark nails with easy DIY options to brighten them.

Medically reviewed by Dr. CP Thajudheen, MD Dr. CP Thajudheen Dr. CP ThajudheenMD facebook_icontwitter_iconyoutube_iconinsta_icon
Written by , MA (Mass Communication & Media Studies) Esha Saxena MA (Mass Communication & Media Studies) Experience: 3 years
Edited by , BTech Anjali Sayee BTech Experience: 7 years
Fact-checked by , MA (English Literature) Swathi E MA (English Literature) Experience: 3 years

The problem with nails is that they can easily get stained or discolored. Excessive usage of nail paint or vitamin and mineral deficiencies could cause this discoloration. You must be wondering how to whiten your nails. After all, unsightly nails can be off-putting and embarrassing. Clean and well-groomed nails are also a sign of sophistication and good hygiene. It is not a surprise that many people invest in expensive manicures and pedicures to achieve polished nails. Fortunately, there are a variety of low-cost and basic at-home procedures that can help you whiten your nails in a pinch. Keep reading this article if you are looking for cheap and easy DIY options as well as some cool nail tips!

Note: Your overall health is often reflected in your nail health. Nail changes, such as discoloration, can indicate severe underlying medical conditions. So, if you are finding it difficult to figure out why your nails are changing color, you should have them examined by a medical specialist immediately. Given below are five effective techniques to whiten your nails. Most of these ingredients may probably be lying around your house already!

A common reason for nail discoloration is a fungal infection called onychomycosis. According to a clinical overview and analysis, it is the most common nail infection seen in clinical practice. It has a worldwide prevalence of 5.5% and an estimated prevalence of 2% to 14% in the United States and 0.5% to 24% in Europe.

Note: Consult your doctor before opting for these home remedies.

protip_icon Quick Tip
Fake nails and specific nail art and treatments can stain your nails. Take a month-long break between treatments to maintain their health and look.

How To Whiten Nails At Home – 6 Easy Ways

Nail discoloration is both common and unavoidable with regular nail polish use. It is especially common when you use dark hues like reds, purples, blues, and black. If you can’t break up with your polish, we recommend you get into the habit of practicing mindful nail care. Always start your nail beauty process by prepping your nails with a base coat every time you paint them. A good base coat creates a stain-proof barrier between your nails and the polish.

But, if the deed’s done and you skipped the prep in a rush, don’t worry because we’ve got you covered. Given below are five effective techniques to whiten your nails. Most of these ingredients may probably be lying around your house already!

1. Lemon Juice And Baking Soda

Lemon juice and baking soda to whiten nails
Image: Shutterstock

According to nail experts, mixing lemon juice and baking soda creates a powerful cleansing paste for your nails. It works instantly to whiten and brighten dull, discolored nails.

What You Need

  • Half a lemon
  • 2 tablespoons baking soda
  • A plastic bowl
  • An old toothbrush


Step 1: Squeeze half of a lemon into a plastic bowl.
Step 2: Mix in the baking soda until you get an abrasive, paste-like texture.
Step 3: Apply the paste to your nails and let it sit for 10 minutes.
Step 4: Use an old toothbrush to scrub your nails with the paste.
Step 5: Rinse your hands with mild soap and water.

Tip: If you don’t have baking soda, combine salt and lemon juice as an alternative nail whitening solution. Salt acts as a gentle buffer, and when you mix it with lemon juice, you can get rid of practically any stains.

2. Whitening Tooth Paste

Whitening tooth paste to whiten nails
Image: Shutterstock

Whitening toothpaste is the easiest way to get your nails ramp-ready. Some toothpastes contain baking soda and peroxide that work together brilliantly to fix that yellow tinge on your nails.

What You Need

  • Whitening toothpaste
  • Toothbrush
  • Nail buffer


Step 1: Start by buffing your nails until they look shiny.
Step 2: Apply a thin layer of the toothpaste to your nails and let it sit for 10 minutes.
Step 3: Use an old toothbrush to scrub your nails gently.
Step 4: Remove the toothpaste with the help of cotton balls soaked in water.

3. Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide to whiten nails
Image: Shutterstock

A diluted solution of hydrogen peroxide works like magic to lighten and whiten nails. All you need to do is create a soak. We assure you that it is the most effective stain remover in existence.

What You Need

  • 1 teaspoon hydrogen peroxide (5 ml)
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • Plastic bowl
  • 125 ml of water


Step 1: Mix one teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide and one tablespoon of baking soda in a plastic bowl.
Step 2: Add half a cup of water and mix the ingredients until the powder dissolves.
Step 3: Soak your nails in the solution for about 10 minutes or until the stains disappear.
Step 4: Rinse your hands with lukewarm water.
Step 5: Slather on some lotion. Voila! Your nails should be clean now.

Jessica, a YouTuber who tests DIY remedies, tried a mixture of hot water, peroxide, and baking soda to treat her toenails. She used the remedy for 60 seconds but saw no visible results. She says, “I did not get my nails whiter. They are still stained (i).” She suggests that if you want the method to work, you may have to try it for longer.

4. Denture Cleaner

Denture cleanser to whiten nails
Image: Shutterstock

Soaking your nails in a denture cleaner also works efficiently to get rid of stains. Denture cleaners contain dilute sodium hypochlorite that works as a mild bleaching agent.

What You Need

  • Denture cleaner tablet
  • ½ cup warm water
  • Bowl


Step 1: Add one denture cleaner tablet to a dish of warm water.
Step 2: Once the tablet dissolves in the water, soak your hands in the solution for about 10 minutes.
Step 3: Rinse your hands with warm water and pat them dry with a clean towel.
Step 4: Follow up with a moisturizer, and you’re good to go!

5. White Vinegar

White vinegar to whiten nails
Image: Shutterstock

Vinegar is another mild acid that can strip stains from hard surfaces. However, you should only use white vinegar as other kinds of vinegar can stain your nails.

What You Need

  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
  • Bowl


Step 1: Pour one cup of warm water into a bowl.
Step 2: Add one tablespoon (5-10 ml) of white vinegar to the water.
Step 3: Soak your nails in the solution for 10 minutes.
Step 4: Rinse your nails with lukewarm water and pat them dry with a towel.
Step 5: Apply lotion to your hands to prevent your skin from drying out.

6. Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil for whitening the nails
Image: Shutterstock

Tea tree oil is not typically used for whitening nails, but it is popular for its antifungal and antimicrobial properties (1). It may help treat nail discoloration caused by fungal infections, thus restoring the natural color of your nails.

What You Need

  • 2-3 drops of tea tree essential oil
  • 2 tablespoons of a carrier oil of your choice
  • 1 cotton swab


Step 1: Mix the tea tree oil with a carrier oil, such as coconut oil or olive oil, to minimize its potency.
Step 2: Gently apply the diluted tea tree oil to the discolored nails using a cotton swab.
Step 3: Allow the oil to get absorbed by your nails for at least 10-15 minutes or leave it on overnight.
Step 4: Apply it twice a day over several weeks to reduce nail discoloration.

protip_icon Quick Tip
Vitamin E is a trusted solution to keep your nails from getting stained. Topical application, as well as oral medication, can help.

Infographic: 5 Easy Remedies To Whiten Nails At Home

We know how annoying it is to deal with yellow or stained nails. Cleaning them can be quite tiresome and may also require salon visits. No worries! We’ve got your back. Check out the infographic below and take a look at the effective DIY ways to brighten your nails at home.

5 easy remedies to whiten nails at home (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

Appropriate nail care is crucial since your nails are a window into your overall health. If you are looking for professional nail treatment alternatives, we have you covered in this article. These DIY solutions can whiten the nails and help minimize the yellow tinge, and you can show off your nails with confidence. And we are sure that the results you will get after following the remedies will make all your friends envious. So, what are you waiting for? Try the remedies and whiten your fingernails. However, if these remedies do not work, it is best to consult a doctor to determine the exact reason for yellow nails.

Key Takeaways

  • Your nails may become yellow if you apply dark nail paints like blues, blacks, purples, and reds.
  • You can whiten your nails right at home using remedies like lemon juice with baking soda or white vinegar.
  • Other remedies are whitening toothpaste, hydrogen peroxide, and denture cleansers.
  • However, you should consult a doctor if nothing works, as discoloration may be due to an underlying medical condition.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do yellow nails mean healthy nails?

No, yellow nails do not mean healthy nails. Yellow nails can be caused by a fungal infection or trauma to the nail plates.

What color should fingernails be?

Healthy fingernails and toenails should be pink. Generally, the nail plates are pink, and the nail that grows off from it is white.

Does coconut oil whiten nails?

Coconut oil nourishes and strengthens nails but does not affect discoloration or help whiten nails.

Is vaseline whiten nails?

Vaseline does not whiten nails, but it can help to moisturize and protect the skin around the nails.

How long does it take to see results from nail whitening treatments?

The amount of time it takes to see results from nail whitening treatments depends on the method used and the severity of the discoloration. Results may be visible for mild discoloration within a few days or weeks, while more severe cases may take several weeks or months to show improvement.

Have your nails looking healthy and beautiful in no time! Click on this video to learn how to whiten yellow nails with this easy tutorial and get ready to flaunt your hands!

Personal Experience: Source


Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. Melaleuca alternifolia (Tea Tree) Oil: a Review of Antimicrobial and Other Medicinal Properties
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Dr. CP Thajudheen has over 20 years of experience in various lasers, light-based devices, and other advanced equipment. He was one of the beginners who introduced cutaneous lasers in India. He carries out dermato surgeries regularly, including hair grafting and vitiligo surgeries. He runs multiple laser centers in Kerala and Tamil Nadu and has trained many doctors in lasers full bio

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