How to Get Stains From Under Your Fingertips

by Mary Ylisela ; Updated September 28, 2017

Fingernail hygiene is vital to preventing germs and illness. Images

Stains from substances such as grease, dirt and dye transfer become easily embedded under fingernails. The area between the fingernail tip and nail bed is the perfect location for particles to collect. Left unattended, stains underneath fingernails invite germs and bacteria to grow, leading to the possibility of sickness or the spread of germs to others. Regular washing helps prevent stains under your nails, but techniques and supplies safe and effective for use on skin remove the stain-causing particles altogether.

Scrape accumulated debris from beneath fingernails with the pointed tip of a nail file to remove dirt and other materials.

Mix 1 tbsp. olive oil and 1 tsp. table salt in a bowl to make a solution to remove grease. Rub the oil and salt mixture over hands, between fingers and under nails to loosen grease. The table salt acts as a mild abrasive to help lift the grease as it's broken down by the olive oil.

Wet a nail brush with warm water and add two or three drops of liquid soap to the nail brush. Gently scrub underneath your nails to remove remaining stains. Rinse your hands with warm water.

Fill a bowl with undiluted lemon juice. Soak fingernails for three to four minutes to remove color stains from berries or other foods. Wash your hands with soap and water, then dry with a clean hand towel.


  • Before working on the car or tackling any other greasy jobs, dig your fingernails into a bar of soap. The soap beneath the nail tips prevents stains from forming.

    Substitute baby oil or cooking spray to remove grease stains from beneath your nails.

    Stir together equal parts of white vinegar and water and soak your nails in the solution to remove berry and fruit stains.

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About the Author

Mary Ylisela is a former teacher with a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education and mathematics. She has been a writer since 1996, specializing in business, fitness and education. Prior to teaching, Ylisela worked as a certified fitness instructor and a small-business owner.