Nails » How to Whiten Nails at Home Naturally: 15 Best Ways to Get Rid of Yellow Nails

How to Whiten Nails at Home Naturally: 15 Best Ways to Get Rid of Yellow Nails

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If you are one to paint your nails often without giving it time to breathe, you will notice the stains left behind, and certainly feel the need to whiten your nails, ridding yourself of unsightly yellowing. There are many ways you can whiten nails easily at home, without needing salon care. So stop hiding your hands and stop repainting your nails as soon as you have removed the last batch, and try to enjoy your natural look that is stain-free and with a pinky glow.

In this article:

Causes of Yellow Nails

What you use to whiten nails depends on how you got it stained and yellow in the first place. Smoking can be a major cause of this, as well as fungal infections that cause the yellowing to take a brown tinge and have an unpleasant smell.

Vitamin and mineral deficiencies are also a common cause of yellowing. If you are nice and healthy, however, it would be a lack of oxygen to the nails that causes this problem. Normally, that comes from using nail polish for an extended period of time, multi-layered and without breathing space.

In order to prevent this from happening, make sure that you allow for a 2-day rest before reapplying that nail polish again. You will want to pick up nail polishes with formulas not containing formaldehyde, the very ingredient leading to yellowing nails.

The best route to whiter nails is preventing its staining in the first place. This means ensuring you use a proper base coat, particularly under darker lacquers with a higher tendency to stain, as well as using a buff to smooth out the ridges and get rid of any surface yellowing that has newly begun to form. This won’t help if the discoloration is too severe, however.

Natural Solutions to Whiten Nails at Home

Generally you have a whole lot of ingredients around the house that can help with the nail whitening process. The best part? It is all natural and should not cause any sort of damage to your nails. So what should you be using to get the clean, bright and beautiful natural nails you always wanted?

Whiten Your Stained Nails with Lemon Juice

Lemon is effective not only for bleaching arm hair at home, but also it is one of the best ways of getting rid of yellow nails instantly.

After soaking your nails in a small bowl of squeezed lemon juice for about 10-15 minutes, use a soft toothbrush to gently scrub the yellowing areas away. Rinse and moisturize. If done at least once a day, there should be no more discoloration problems on your pretty hands.

Lemon Salt Scrub Can Work Wonders

Salt is great, acting like a buffer, when the lemon starts to scrape away the stain. Combine equal parts of the salt and juice in a small glass, and make a grainy scrub that you apply on, let it sit for about 5 minutes and rinse off with lukewarm water before moisturizing.

Lemon Juice with Soapy Water

Lemon juice combined with soapy water is another amazing way of bleaching your yellow nails. Just dissolve 1-2 tbsp. of liquid soap in a cup of warm water, add ¼ cup of lemon juice, and soak your nails in it for some 5 minutes. As you rinse your nails, don’t forget to apply a moisturizing cream.

Whitening Nails with Baking Soda

This one is as great for whitening your teeth as it is for whitening nails. Mixing a tablespoon of baking soda with half a teaspoon of olive oil or lemon juice creates a nicely thick paste that you can then rub on with a toothbrush, and scrub away the yellow. Doing this once every two weeks should be enough to get whiter nails.

Treating Yellow Nails with Tea Tree Oil

Pure tea tree oil is a great natural remedy to yellowing nails. Drop the oil onto the nail beds, leave it on a few minutes, and rinse it off. You can do this twice a day for a few months, and will soon see dramatic results. You can also combine the tea tree oil with olive oil for added hydration.

Use Apple Cider Vinegar to Get Rid of Yellow Nails

If your discoloration is caused by an infection, the antifungal properties of apple cider vinegar should be perfect to treat it and whiten nails. Just mix half a cup each of the vinegar and water, soak nails in for 20 minutes, and pat it dry with a towel at the end. Do this thrice daily for a month, and it will reduce the yellowing of the nails majorly.

White Vinegar to Whiten Your Nails

Like the apple cider, white vinegar has great whitening effects, stripping away the stained particles from the nails. It might actually be better in the process. Up to 15 ml of white vinegar can be mixed with the water, where your nails will soak for a few minutes before rinsing and applying moisturizer once dry.

Whitening Nails with Acidic Fruits

Just like the lemons, oranges and particularly juniper berries can come in very handy to whiten nails. Save the orange peels and rub your nails with it a few times a day (just make sure it is fresh each day).

You can also use dried orange peel powder in water to make a paste that you leave on for 10 minutes and scrub off with a toothbrush. Twice daily for two weeks and you are good to go.

The high amount of vitamin C is what helps remove the stains irrevocably. A teaspoon of crushed juniper berries in a bowl of water will also have the same effect. Just soak your nails for 15 minutes, rinse off and apply moisturizer. Once daily is enough as you go through this for a few months.

How to Get Rid of Yellow Nails: Natural Ways to Whiten Nails

Additional Ways to Whiten Your Nails

We know about the more natural ways to whiten nails at home, but there are some solutions that are a little more on the man-made side. They range from hydrogen peroxide to nail pencils, but you have a myriad of things to choose from.

Nail Polish Remover

Milder stains easily come off with nail polish remover applied with a cotton ball. The acetone is nice and strong, and should easily remove most of the damage within a few seconds.

Using acetone-free removers, however, will not always work, if you want to get rid of yellow nails.

Hydrogen Peroxide

You will need to pick up a solution that is only 3% hydrogen for this to work well. Pour three tablespoons into half a cup of water and mix it well. Soak your nails in for two minutes before using a soft brush to scrub the stains off.

Once a week of this is more than enough, done for a few months, to get the desired results.

Whitening Toothpaste

Milder stains react well to whitening toothpaste on your nails, particularly since it contains hydrogen peroxide. Just add a small coat on each nail, leave on for about 10 minutes, and using a nail brush, scrub lightly. Lukewarm water can be used to clean it off.

Doing this for a month, about twice a week, should do the trick and whiten your nails.

Denture Cleaning Tablets

The sodium bicarbonate and citric acid found in denture cleaning tablets help dissolve the stains off your nails, no matter how deep it goes. Just dissolve up to three of them in a bowl of water, and soak your nails in for about 15 minutes. Pat them dry and moisturize.

Thrice a week for two months will get you looking good as new.


We certainly never thought of this, but if toothpaste makes sense, so does the Listerine. The menthol, eucalyptus, methyl salicylate and thymol all benefit the whitening of nails.

Just soak your nails in the Listerine (pure) for half an hour every day for a week, every other week, and you have a nice white finish. Just don’t worry about the greenish tint to the skin. This should go away quickly enough.

You can also mix Listerine with equal parts of vinegar to create another amazing soak for getting rid of yellow nails.

Teeth Whitening Strips

If you cut up the strips used for whitening your teeth into your nail bed sizes, these work very well with whitening you nails as well. It might just be a bit of a tedious process that consumes too much of your time.

Nail Whitening Pencil

Nail whitening pencil is the quick fix that you can get at most drugstores and pharmacies. It works wonders without much thought. It might just cost you a little more. The quick results might be worth it though, if you are not sticking to natural ingredients to whiten nails.

Now, go and enjoy a great French manicure without the additional ugliness of a yellow stain on those precious nails of yours! It’s good to show off your natural look with such ease.

Photos via @thatsotee