How to Whiten Nails With Vinegar, Lemon Juice, and Baking Soda

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Need to whiten your nails, but don’t want to blow a bunch of money at the spa? Good news! You can safely whiten your nails, in the comfort of your own home, using natural products!

Keep reading to learn how to whiten nails with vinegar, lemon juice, and baking Soda. Also, learn what causes yellow nails and how to prevent them. You’ll also learn about what you can find around your house to help you achieve those whiter, brighter, sexier nails. Get ready to sink your nails into this highly useful guide. 

How To Whiten Nails With Vinegar, Lemon Juice, and Baking Soda

Yellow Nail Causes

Our nails can be a significant indicator of our health. Different ridges, colors, and skin surrounding the nail can all serving as a warning, possibly indicating underlying health issues. Many different things can cause yellow nails, including but not limited to: 

  • Nail polish. This is the number one cause for yellow nails, which is good news because it’s not a serious indicator of a malignant disorder. It’s easily fixable. If you are a fan of darker nail polish colors, the stain leftover after removal may be causing this pesky color. Observe your nails before and after applying nail color to see if this is causing your yellow nails. If so, opt for the light stuff. French nails never go out of style, anyway! 
  • Self-tanners. Yes, our beloved self-tanners can cause yellowish nails when you don’t use gloves or other barriers between your hands and the coloring agent.  
  • Food prep. If you spend a lot of time in a kitchen, certain foods can discolor your nails. 
  • Infection. Fungal infections could certainly be causing those yellow nails. You can pick up a fungal infection from places like nail salons or other communal areas. Some minor infections don’t require any treatment, but more severe infections are easily controlled with medications. 
  • Smoking. There are so many reasons not to smoke, and yellow nails are certainly one of them! How does tobacco turn nails yellow? Both the tar and nicotine found in cigarettes are responsible for the change in color in the nail and the skin around the nail—gross! Cigarettes also block oxygen from reaching your nailbed, resulting in a yellowish color. Smoking also increases your risk of nail fungus infection by reducing the nail’s natural defenses like oxygen and nutrient deprivation.  
  • Vitamin deficiency. Diet is almost always the answer when it comes to a problem in the body. When the body is seriously deficient in zinc, B12, or other micronutrients, yellowing can occur. In these cases, a blood test is paramount to identify nutritional deficiencies.  
  • Allergic reaction. Nail cosmetics can cause allergic reactions in some people who are sensitive to substances found in these products, causing the yellow color.  
  • Trauma. If you recently injured your nail via bumping, stubbing, crushing or breaking, it could turn yellow as it heals. Give it time, but seek help if its extremely painful to touch or infection develops.  
  • Disease.  Ok, we’ve saved the scariest for last. There is a rare chance that an illness could be causing your yellow nails. If you notice your nails changing color and haven’t been using beauty products that could have caused this, you should visit your healthcare provider as soon as possible, especially if you have any other symptoms such as fatigue or dizziness. Thyroid diseases, diabetes, and a particular disease called yellow nails syndrome could all be culprits. Yellow nails syndrome is a rare disease but particularly serious, as it is often accompanied by respiratory and lymphatic system issues. It is characterized by thickening, yellow nails, and swollen tissues around the nail beds and other parts of the body. While there is no way to prevent yellow nails syndrome and causes are unknown, it can be effectively managed with proper medication.  

Step By Step Home Remedies For Yellow Nails

Now that we’ve covered all the possible causes let’s explore some tried and true solutions! Below are the safest ways to get your whitest nails at home. If one doesn’t work, feel free to try another tactic. Remember, everyone is different! Patience is vital when it comes to whiter, brighter nails. 

Before utilizing any of these methods, remove any nail polish, wash your hands and give your nails a quick buff.  

How To Whiten Nails With Vinegar

  1. Apply a small amount of white vinegar to a cotton ball.
  2. Rub the cotton ball over your nails and let them dry.  
  3. Rinse your nails after 10 minutes if you don’t like the smell.
  4. You can also dip your nails in a bowl of white vinegar for up to 5-minute intervals.  

*Only use white vinegar, otherwise you can worsen stains

How To Whiten Nails With Lemon Juice

  1. Cut a lemon in half and squeeze the juice into a small bowl.
  2. Dip a cotton ball into the bowl, then rub lemon juice onto nails.
  3. Let dry. Leave on for a minimum of 10 minutes before washing hands.
  4. Short on time? You can just rub lemon wedges on your nails for equally beneficial results.  

*Use this treatment before bed for max effect.  

How To Whiten Nails With Baking Soda

  1.  Add a few tablespoons of baking soda and equal parts water in a bowl.  
  2. Stir gently to make a thick paste.
  3. Using a toothbrush, scrub some of the concoction onto your fingernails.
  4. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes while you Netflix and chill.
  5. Rinse off.  

*You can also squeeze some lemon into the paste for an extra boost. 

How To Whiten Nails With Toothpaste

  1. Be sure to choose a whitening toothpaste, with ingredients like baking soda or hydrogen peroxide. 
  2. Apply a small amount of toothpaste to a toothbrush and then brush onto your nails.
  3. Let it sit for 10 minutes.  
  4. Scrub nails for another 2-3 minutes. 
  5. Rinse off.  

*You can use this twice a week until you see the results you want.

Other Amazing Ways To Get Rid Of Yellow Nails

Besides the above methods, there are less popular but other creative ways to turn yellow to white fast and easy! 

  • Denture tablets–add a couple of denture cleaner tablets to a bowl of warm water and soak your nails for 5 minutes, then rinse. 
  • Tea tree oil or oregano oil—add a few drops to a carrier oil like coconut oil and swab a small amount onto the nail. Leave on for 30 minutes, then rinse. Both are a treat because they smell great! 
  • Hydrogen peroxide—this stuff can whiten and lighten just about anything. Mixing 3-4 tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide in a bowl of warm water, and dipping your nails for 3-5 minutes should do the trick.
  • Strawberries—cut a strawberry in half and rub the juice against your nails. Leave this on for 10 minutes. Strawberries are high in vitamin C and great for your smile, skin and nails.  
  • Vitamin E hand cream—if your hand cream is infused with vitamin E you’re in luck! This vitamin helps to stimulate nail growth, and your skin adores it too! Use day and night to help healthy nails grow. 
  • Nail Whitening Pencil—one of the best inventions since sliced bread! You can pick up a nail whitening pencil in the beauty section of your local drugstore. If you need instant white nails (like before leaving for work), this is your new best friend. This is the same tool many manicurists use to give that beautiful white look to french nails. Some of these pencils even come with nail nourishing ingredients. Simply apply the pencil underneath the nail for whiter nails. You’ll love the results!  

Yellow Nails Prevention

Red nail polish on natural nails

  • Ditch your smoking habit. Your body will thank you in endless ways! 
  • Use a base coat when applying nail polish. This will help keep the color from absorbing into your nails. Opt for lighter-colored polishes too that are water permeable. This will allow your nail to “breathe” and risk less of a chance of turning yellow.  
  • Eat a healthy diet and try supplementing with a multi-vitamin for nutrient “insurance.”
  • Wear gloves when applying self-tanner or prepping food with dyes. 
  • If you suspect the onset of an infection, an allergic reaction or even disease, contact your healthcare provider and get checked out. Better safe than sorry! 
  • Treat yourself to regular manicures/pedicures. But make sure the nail equipment has been sterilized before use to prevent infection!
  • Try your best to prevent trauma to your nails, and they will stay healthy!


While there are many causes for nail yellowing, there are many ways to prevent them, and many effective ways to treat and whiten nails. It’s essential to identify exactly what is causing your yellow nails as it may be an indicator of your health. Show your nails and your body a little love for all the hard work they do for you. 

Thanks for stopping by. We hope you enjoyed this article about how to whiten your nails with vinegar, lemon juice, and baking soda.

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