Health issues and other factors can cause the unattractive yellowing of your toenails. According to the Mayo Clinic, the most common causes of toenail discoloration include fungal infections and trauma, which require medical treatment. For other types of discoloration, pamper yourself weekly with an at-home pedicure using whitening ingredients safe for toenails to make your nails appear healthy and fresh. Keep your toenails white and attractive through regular cleaning to prevent your toenails from becoming discolored by using these simple steps.
Items you will need
- Basin or bucket
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Nail file
- Nail buffer
- Foot cream
- Peppermint essential oil
- Cotton swabs
- Whitening toothpaste
- Nail brush
Check your toenails thoroughly if they exhibit heavy yellowing, discoloration or irritation; these symptoms indicate toenail fungus, which requires medical treatment by a doctor. Scrubbing and cleaning nails with fungus can worsen the condition, so consult your physician if you suspect any type of infection. Injured toenails may have a white or black spot on the nail, which you give time to grow out, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Black spots not caused by an injury may result from certain forms of skin cancers that need medical attention from a dermatologist.
Get a basin or bucket with enough room to fit both of your feet comfortably. Fill it with enough warm, not hot, water to submerge your feet. Add a few drops of peppermint oil to soothe and pleasantly scent your feet.
Sit and soak your feet in the warm, peppermint solution for 10 minutes to soften your nails. Trim your nails straight across to prevent ingrown toenails from forming. If you have very thick nails, use a file to thin your toenails before you trim them. File the trimmed edges of your nails down to a smooth finish.
Scrub your toenails clean with the nail brush to remove any debris under and around the nails. Apply some whitening toothpaste to the nails and use a toothbrush to gently scrub the nails for each toe for about 20 to 30 seconds. Rinse your toes.
Soak a cotton ball in hydrogen peroxide solution and apply it to each nail. Re-soak the cotton ball as needed and leave it to sit on your toenail for up to 1 minute on each nail, depending on the level of discoloration. Alternately, you can empty the basin and refill it with one-part warm water and one-part hydrogen peroxide. Use this solution to submerge your toenails for 1 to 3 minutes.
Rinse your feet by emptying the basin, filling it with plain warm water, and soaking your feet in the clean water for 10 to 30 seconds. Dry your feet and apply a soothing foot lotion, rubbing the lotion into the nail bed to keep the nails healthy and prevent dryness and cracking. Buff your toenails to a shine with the nail buffer.
Substitute fresh lemon juice for the hydrogen peroxide to naturally bleach nails and keep them smelling good too. Eat a well-balanced diet to keep your toenails, which are made of hardened skin cells, healthy.
Do not use hydrogen peroxide if you have open wounds or cuts on your feet or toes as it will burn.
- foot image by Ingrid Walter from Fotolia.com