How To Get Rid Of Yellow Nails? Step-By-Step Guide

There was a time when I was obsessed with dark nail polishes. Deep blues, blacks, and even vibrant reds were my go-to choices. But one day, after removing my favorite navy blue shade, I was greeted with yellow-streaked nails. Yikes!

It wasn’t just about aesthetics; it made me feel self-conscious every time I reached out for something. I began my quest to understand why this happened and how to fix it. If you’ve ever been in a similar boat (or are in one now), this guide is for you!

What are the Causes of Yellow Nails?

Before exploring the solutions, let’s first get acquainted with the culprits behind this. By knowing what causes it, you can effectively prevent and address the issue.

Nail Polishes and Stains

Nail polishes, especially dark shades, can leave a stain on your nails. Without the proper base coat, these pigments can be absorbed, leading to a yellowish discoloration.

It’s not just the color but also certain chemicals present in low-quality polishes that can contribute to this. Consistent use of nail polish without giving your nails a breather can worsen the staining.

To prevent this, ensure that you use a good quality base coat and give your nails a break every now and then. Learn how to whiten stained nails at home with these simple tricks.

Fungal Infections

Fungal Infections

Fungi love warm, moist environments, which is why they’re often found between toes and under fingernails. When these fungi colonize the nail bed, they can turn nails yellow.

Alongside the discoloration, fungal infections can also make them brittle and cause them to lift off the nail bed. It’s vital to address fungal infections promptly. Over-the-counter treatments are available, but in severe cases, consulting a dermatologist or podiatrist is advised.

Natural Remedies

Mother Nature has bestowed us with an array of ingredients that can help with this issue. While these remedies are generally safe, always do a patch test to ensure you don’t have any adverse reactions.

1. Lemon Juice Soak

Lemon juice is not only a potent cleaning agent but also acts as a natural bleach. By soaking your nails in lemon juice, you can gradually lighten the yellow stains. To use this remedy, fill a bowl with fresh lemon juice and immerse your nails for 10-15 minutes.

Afterwards, gently scrub with a nail brush and rinse. Doing this twice a week can yield noticeable results. However, lemon can be drying, so moisturize your hands afterward.

2. Baking Soda Scrub

Baking soda, with its mild abrasive properties, can scrub away those yellow stains. It also possesses whitening properties, making it perfect for treating nail discoloration. Combine baking soda with water to form a thick paste.

Apply this mixture and scrub gently using a toothbrush. After scrubbing for 2-3 minutes, rinse with water.

Repeat this process twice a week for optimal results.

Over-The-Counter Solutions

While natural remedies are excellent, sometimes you might need something stronger. The good news is that you don’t always need a prescription. Here are over-the-counter solutions that can effectively combat yellow nails:

1. Whitening Toothpaste

That’s right—your toothpaste can do more than just keep your pearly whites shining. The mild abrasives and whitening agents in toothpaste can help remove the yellow stains. To utilize this remedy, apply a small amount of whitening toothpaste on each nail.

Using an old toothbrush, scrub your nails gently. Let the toothpaste sit for 5-10 minutes before rinsing off. This method can be repeated once a week.

2. Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen Peroxide - how it helps remove yellow nail color

Hydrogen peroxide, a common antiseptic, can also serve as a nail whitener. Its bleaching properties can help eliminate the yellow tinge on your nails. However, it’s crucial to use a diluted solution (3% or less) to prevent nail damage.

Mix equal parts of water and hydrogen peroxide and soak your nails for several minutes. Once done, rinse thoroughly. It’s a powerful solution, so limit its use to once every few weeks and moisturize afterward.

Preventative Measures

Prevention is always better than cure. By incorporating a few simple habits into your routine, you can keep yellow nails at bay.

Choose Quality Nail Products

Not all nail polishes and removers are created equal. Some contain harsh chemicals that can stain and weaken your nails. Opt for polishes that are labeled “3-Free” or “5-Free,” meaning they are free from the most common harmful chemicals.

Additionally, avoid acetone-based nail polish removers as they can be overly drying. Instead, look for acetone-free alternatives that are gentler on your nails.

Wear Protective Gloves

Wear Protective Gloves

Exposure to harsh cleaning chemicals and prolonged immersion in water can weaken your nails, making them more susceptible to yellowing.

Whenever you’re doing household chores, especially dishwashing or using cleaning agents, wear rubber gloves to shield your nails.

Salon Treatments

If home remedies and over-the-counter solutions don’t do the trick, it might be time to seek professional help. Salons offer treatments specifically designed to restore the natural beauty of your nails.

Nail Bleaching Treatment

Many salons offer nail bleaching treatments that can effectively remove yellow stains. These treatments use safe, nail-friendly bleaching agents to restore your natural color.

However, it’s essential to choose reputable salons to ensure the products used are of high quality.

Buffing and Nail Repair

Professional buffing can remove the superficial layer of your nail, taking away the yellow stain. After buffing, a nail repair treatment can help strengthen your nails, making them less susceptible to discoloration in the future. Learn if buffing your nails is harmful practice or not and make an informed decision before buffing them yourself or by the professionals.

How to Maintain Nail Health?

Restoring your nails to their natural hue is just the first step. Maintaining their health is an ongoing process that requires care and attention.

Moisturize Regularly

Nails, like skin, need moisture to stay healthy. Incorporate a nourishing hand and nail cream into your daily routine, focusing on the cuticles. Healthy cuticles act as a protective barrier, preventing fungi and bacteria from causing infections that lead to yellowing.

Take Nail-Friendly Supplements

Biotin, a B vitamin, is known for promoting healthy nails. If you notice your nails are prone to yellowing or other issues, consider taking a biotin supplement. However, always consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement. D


How long does it typically take to see improvement after treating yellow nails?

The duration to see improvement largely depends on the severity of the yellowing and the treatment method used. With consistent treatment, mild yellowing due to nail polish stains might improve within a couple of weeks.

However, yellowing due to fungal infections might take longer—sometimes several months—with appropriate antifungal treatments.

Can certain foods or dietary habits contribute to nail yellowing?

While diet can play a role in overall nail health, it’s uncommon for foods to directly cause yellowing. However, certain dietary deficiencies, like lack of vitamin E or zinc, can weaken nails and make them more susceptible to damage and discoloration.

Are yellow nails a sign of underlying health issues?

In some cases, yes. It can be a symptom of conditions like lung diseases, severe thyroid diseases, diabetes, or psoriasis. If you observe other symptoms as well or if the yellowing doesn’t improve with treatments, it’s essential to consult a healthcare professional.

Can regular manicures at salons contribute to yellow nails?

Yes, frequent manicures, especially without using a protective base coat, can lead to yellowing due to the pigmentation of nail polishes. Additionally, unsanitized tools or practices can introduce fungal infections.

Can tea tree oil can help with yellow nails?

Can tea tree oil can help with yellow nails

Yes, tea tree oil has antifungal properties and it can be effective in treating yellow nails caused by fungal infections. You can apply diluted tea tree oil directly to the affected nails. However, it’s important to test for any allergic reactions first.


Well, friends, from my navy blue debacle to the countless remedies I’ve tried since, it’s been quite the journey. But it’s taught me that our nails, like every other part of our body, require care, attention, and sometimes a little pampering.

I’ve shared everything I’ve learned in this guide, and I truly hope it helps you as much as it has helped me. Check out our article to learn if nail polish can expire and when to ensure you never harm your nails by using an out-of-date product