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Your nails are mostly composed of the same stuff that makes up animal horns and talons -- keratin -- and if you don't want your nails to look like the claws of a wild beast, you need to give them a regular scrubbing and trimming. Cleaning your fingernails not only makes them more attractive, it also helps prevent the spread of germs and bacteria -- a 2007 study reported by BBC News found that it's not uncommon to find vomit- and diarrhea-inducing bacteria lurking under nails. Combine a few easily found items with some daily resolve and your nails will soon sparkle.
Scrub the tops and undersides of your nails with warm water, antibacterial soap and a nail brush or toothbrush for at least 20 seconds, then rinse well with water.
Combine 3 tablespoons of baking soda with 1 tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide in a small bowl and apply the mixture to the tops and bottoms of nails with a cotton swab. Allow the mixture to soak in for up to five minutes and then rinse with warm water. The peroxide kills germs while the baking soda freshens nails and eliminates odors.
Use nail clippers to trim the tops of your nails straight across, then cut or file the sides of your nails into a curve. Trim nails regularly to prevent dirt and germs from building up underneath them.
- Mayo Clinic: Fingernails: Do's and Don'ts for Healthy Nails
- Health: How to Clean Everything Better
- BeautyHeaven: How-to: Clean Nails Properly
- Philly.com: Health Tip: Keep Your Nails Clean
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Wash Your Hands
- BBC News: Harmful Germs Found Under Nails
- Cornell Center for Materials Research: Archives of Ask a Scientist
- Medioimages/Photodisc/Digital Vision/Getty Images