While just about everybody knows how to trim their nails with clippers, proper nail care involves much more than that. Having clean, nicely manicured fingernails is an important part of your overall presentation. Poorly maintained nails can be dirty, brittle and yellowed, which looks unprofessional and can severely detract from an otherwise attractive appearance. Taking some time to periodically manicure your nails will help them to stay healthy and strong. Fortunately, cleaning and whitening them is a quick and easy process.
Trim each nail with a nail clipper and then smooth the edges with an emery board. Avoid metal emery boards, which are highly abrasive and can damage your nails. Round off any sharp or jagged edges to prevent accidental snagging and tearing of the nail later. If you choose, you can also use a nail buffer to smooth the nails' surface and eliminate unsightly ridges.
Soak your fingertips in warm, soapy water for a few minutes to soften the nails and skin. This will loosen any dirt that has settled into the crevices around and underneath the nails and make it easy to remove.
Scrub your nails gently with a soft-bristled nail brush to remove any dirt. Be sure to clean both the surface and the undersides of the nails with the brush. If you have any particularly stubborn dirt under your nails that the brush can’t reach, remove it gently with a small tool such as an orangewood stick or a toothpick. Some nail clippers also come with an attached tool to clean underneath the nails.
Mix together 2 1/2 tablespoons of baking soda with one tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide. When the solution has achieved a paste-like consistency, use a clean cotton swab to spread the paste over the surface and underneath the tip of each nail. Leave the mixture in place for approximately three minutes.
Rinse off the paste with warm water and pat dry with a clean towel. Repeat the cleaning process once a week and the baking soda and peroxide treatment every six to eight weeks to keep your nails looking their best.