How to Get Rid of Stained Nails from Nail Polish?

Often when you remove a nail paint dark in color, your nails are left colored with a shade lighter. Sometimes even acetone containing nail polish remover that can rip off even the paint from the wall, doesn’t work.  Dark nail polish have the capacity to turn your nails yellow. And so no matter what shade or style of nail polish you are going for. From metallic to sparkle or full goth, nail polish, especially the darker shades can be harmful to your nails. And so this article is for those nail polish addicts who want to get rid of stained nails from nail polish.

There are a few tricks that will help you convert your poor, unhealthy nails into shiny and bright again. And so with this article on how to get rid of stained nail from nail polish you can go from DRAB to FAB.

Get Rid of Stained Nails from Nail Polish

What are Nails Made Up Of?

Nails are usually clear with a tinge of pink color. It basically consists of keratin, a hardened protein which occurs in other parts like hair and skin as well. Nails is made up of following parts-

  • Nail plate – The outer shell which is the hard part
  • Nail bed- It is the flesh present underneath the nail plate
  • Folds – The skin which surrounds the nail plate
  • Cuticle – The skin tissue that covers the base of the nail and also protects the newly formed keratin
  • Lunula – The light-colored semicircle which appears at the base of the nail

Why Do Nail Polish Turn Nails Yellow?

There are chances that presence of yellow stains make you apply more nail polish to cover it up. But as these nail polishes are one of the reasons behind yellow stains, it is better to avoid the frequent application of color, especially dark color on your nails. Also here are some possible explanations as to why our nails turn yellow due to nail polish.

  • Color reaction is one of the most likely reason behind discoloration of nails. The dark colored nail polish participates in a chemical reaction that takes place between the nail plate and the colorant. Nail stains from nail polish and the reaction is difficult to predict as it is not right for every nail polish and every time. Also the reaction takes a few days to weeks.
  • Another causative agent can be formaldehyde, which is a common polish ingredient. This chemical might be reacting with the keratin protein present in your nails making them brittle and stained.
  • Lastly, the reason behind stained and yellow color nails can be a nail infection. This cause is rare, but is possible.

Obsession with Dark Nail Paints?

We all feel that nails are the hardest part of our body, but actually these firm looking nails are a porous entity. And so when we apply dark color nail polish, the pigment gets absorbed. As a result the iron oxide present in the nail paint is oxidized and a yellow color rust is seen on the nails. But as the stain is not permanent, you can remove it using a clear base coat before applying that dark shade nail polish. Also for all you dark nail polish obsession queens, we would suggest you to go bare and clear every once in a while.

How to Get Rid of Yellow Nails from Nail Polish?

Discoloration of fingernails and toenails can be due to a variety of reasons. Dark color nail polish, infections like bacterial or fungal attack, unhealthy nail care routine, all can lead to stained nails. If you also have yellow stains on your nails, then try out these simple tricks and home remedies.

Baking Soda and Hydrogen Peroxide Mixture

One of the most popular household ingredient known for its cleansing and bleaching property is baking soda. It can pull off the top most yellow layer from the nails when mixed with its partner in crime, hydrogen peroxide. The latter is also a known bleaching agent that also disinfects the nails and makes them healthy and shiny.

Mix about 3 tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide and 4 tablespoons of baking soda in a bowl. Then add half cup of warm water and mix it well. After making a uniform slurry, soak your nails in this mixture for about 5 minutes and then wash it off with water. Lastly apply moisturizer to both your nails and hands for proper nourishment.

Note- do not repeat this remedy for more than one time, as the two constituents can make your nails brittle.

Whitening Toothpaste

Toothpaste not only whitens your white pearls but can also be used to whiten the yellow stains of your nails. Scrubbing of toothpaste over the nails makes the teeth white and shiny, all thanks to mild abrasives present in them. But remember that you do not use the colored gel-like toothpaste, just use the normal white toothpaste.

Squeeze a pea sized amount of toothpaste on an old brush or nail brush. Then using this soft brush scrub the toothpaste over your nails in a circular motion. Continue the scrubbing process for one to two minutes and then let it sit for 10 minutes. Use lukewarm water to rinse off the applied toothpaste. Later moisturize your hands and nails with a cream or oil.

Note- you can repeat this remedy two to three times in a week. Within a month you will be able to see changes in the color.

Combine Lemon Juice and Baking Soda

Lemon juice is known for removing stains of all kinds. This bleaching agent is packed with minerals and vitamins, of which some are essential for healthy nails.

Squeeze a lemon in a bowl and then add one tablespoon of baking soda and half teaspoon of olive oil. Stir well to make a mixture with uniform and ideal consistency. Slightly rub the paste over your nails and then leave it for about 5 minutes. Then just wash it off with warm water and further moisturize it with some regular cream or oil.

Note- In order to keep the nails white you can repeat the routine twice or thrice a month.

Use Denture Tablets

False teeth can be whitened using denture tablets and so does the yellow stained nails. The components of these tablets are citric acid and sodium bicarbonate which cut through the stains dwelling on hard surfaces like teeth and nails. You just need to dunk your nails in the warm water containing the denture tablets.

Take one cup of warm water and dissolve two denture tablets in it.  Stir till the tablet dissolves completely. Keep your nails dipped in this solution for 15-20 minutes straight so that the active components work. Then wash your hands with cold water and moisturize it.

Note- You can try this remedy two to three times in a week. For better results make this as your nail care routine for at least 2 months.

Mixture of Tea Tree Oil and Lavender/Olive Oil

A combination of tea tree oil and lavender oil, or olive oil is an excellent combination for yellow nails as home remedy. You can use it for a few weeks to get rid of this problem.

Mixture of Olive Oil and Oregano Essential Oil

Another yellow toenails home remedy using essential oils uses olive oil and oregano oil. You can regularly apply the mixture of one teaspoon of olive oil and two drops of oregano essential oil. But do not follow this therapy for more than three weeks.


Corn contains a form of fungus that is harmless to the body. Cornmeal can be used to treat the infectious fungus. In a foot bath, mix one cup of cornmeal and about two quarts of water. Submerge your nails into it for about one hour. This home based remedy can be used once a week to observe positive results.

Juniper Berries

Soaking the stained nails in a bucket of warm water mixed with a teaspoon of crushed juniper berries also serves as a good natural cure for yellow nails.


It is a natural anti-fungal ingredient that has potent effects especially on hard-to-reach areas like your nail bed. Before using garlic, apply moist heat to your stained nails to open the pores bringing the bad stuff to the surface.

Keep them dry

This is paramount for beating fungus. Candida and other species of fungus thrive in moisture and warmth, therefore it is important to dry your hands to avoid their growth.

Diet for Yellow nails

While dealing with yellow nails it is recommended that you include probiotics like yogurt in the diet. The well-balanced diet with a mix of fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains containing essential vitamins and nutrients help in improving immunity against infections.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar mainly works against fungal nail infection but you can try this remedy to lighten the stains from nail polish as well. Apart from nails ACV is a part of the beauty routine of many girls as it works wonders for hair as well. The malic and acetic acid present in Apple Cider Vinegar helps in reducing discoloration.

To warm water add a little amount of apple cider vinegar. This is important as it helps to dilute the ACV which can be harmful in high concentration. Now soak your nails in this mixture for 20 minutes. Lightly scrub over the stains using a nail brush. After you complete scrubbing, just pat dry it with a towel or air dry and use cream or oil for moisturizing.

Note- You can repeat this process daily.

Tea Tree Oil

Another essential oil that has antibacterial and antiseptic properties that can treat the yellow nails. But before using it, dilute the tea tree oil with olive oil. This will help you in aster healing process and proper nourishment.

Add two to three drops of tea tree oil with one tablespoon of olive oil. Mix it well. Now using a cotton ball soaked in this oil, apply it over your nails. You can use it over your healthy nails as well. But don’t forget to change the cotton balls the fungus can spread from the unhealthy nails to the healthy ones.

Note- You can use this scrub two times in a day. Observe the changes if you apply it for 2-3 months.

Prevention Tips

Apart from following the above mentioned methods that are quite time consuming one can always find an easy way. As it is said prevention is better than cure so here mentioning some prevention tips that will help you in maintaining proper growth of nails and make them look gorgeous with or without nail polish.

  • Avoid scraping off the nail polish or the yellow stained area. This will damage them and make the nail brittle.
  • Always opt for the light color shade of nail polish. Dark colors are known to cause discoloration.
  • Always wear a base coat. It helps to protect your nails from nail polish staining.
  • Go for formaldehyde free nail polish check out the ingredient of the shade you are buying. Though there are less chances that this tip is going to work, but it will definitely decrease the chances, especially discoloration from light color nail polish.
  • Wait till your nail grows so that you can remove the yellow color nail. Avoid wearing nail paint till then. This will take some time.
  • Try to remove dark color nail paint in short time period. Nail paints left for excessive time can worsen he stain.

Non-Conventional Ways to Treat Stained Nails

  • Nail Whitening Pencils – You can also fake or non-permanent white nails with the help of a white pencil. Use this pencil to color the underneath of nail tip.
  • Household Cleaners or Bleach – Bleach and cleaning products used in the household are corrosive, and so they will be harmful to the nails, attacking the nail bead and thus weakening them.
  • Buffing – Buffing of nails leads to thinning of nail bed, weakening them.

Wrapping Up

It is important that you take care of your nails. Even if they consist of dead cells, they are an indication of your overall health. You can use any of the above mentioned methods to get rid of stained nails from nail polish. These methods will help you get whiter and stronger looking nails in no time at all. So girls get going and start taking care of yourself from now.

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