How To Disinfect Nail Tools At Home: A Complete Guide

Are you guilty of not cleaning your nail tools properly after use?

If you’ve only been rinsing your nail clippers with hot water after each use, you’re not cleaning them the right way.

We carry bacteria on our skin that when exposed to a cut can cause severe infections.

You need to follow specific procedures to disinfect and sanitize your nail tools to avoid spreading harmful bacteria.

Unclean nail tools can cause onychomycosis, which is a fungal infection you get on your fingernails and toenails.

In this blog post, you’ll learn how to clean, disinfect, and sterilize your nail equipment properly and reduce your chances of getting an unwanted infection.

1. Use A Disinfectant

how to disinfect nail tools at home

You can use a strong disinfectant to sanitize your nail tools. Here’s a step-by-step guide that you can follow.

What You’ll Need

  • Distilled water
  • A clean cloth or paper towel
  • Hospital-grade disinfectant
  • Container (for disinfectant)


  • Look for a ‘hospital-grade’ disinfectant in the cleaning of your local supermarket. If it’s in a concentrated form, you’ll need to dilute it before using it. Hospital-grade disinfectant will be a lot more effective against bacteria than other disinfectants. If it’s not available, you can prepare a solution using 80% ethanol, 15% distilled water, and 5% isopropanol.
  • Add distilled water to your disinfectant if it’s concentrated. How you’ll need to dilute the product may vary so it’s advisable to consult the directions.
  • Pour the diluted disinfecting solution in a container. Plastic containers may not be suitable so it’s recommended to use a simple glass container.
  • Make sure the amount of solution in the container is just enough so that the used parts of your nail tools are completely submerged.
  • Let the tools soak in for as much time as indicated on the label.
  • Once they’re done soaking, use a clean and dry cloth or a paper towel to wipe off excess moisture or let them air dry.

Note: You need to be extremely careful when you’re handling chemicals. Make sure you’re storing them in a safe place where children can’t reach them.

2. Sterilize Using Heat

how to disinfect nail tools at home

This method isn’t recommended for made out of plastic or other material that can’t hold up to extreme temperatures.

What You’ll Need

  • Bead sterilizer or oven
  • Clean cloth or paper towel


  • Sterilization involves getting your nails tools to a hot enough temperature in order to kill bacteria and other living micro-organisms. You can use bead sterilizers for this purpose and make sure to follow the setup instructions to get the best results. If you don’t have a bead sterilizer at hand, you can use your oven as well.
  • To sterilize your nail clippers and other tools, spread them on an oven-safe tray and place it inside the oven for around an hour at 340 degrees Fahrenheit. Use gloves to remove the equipment from the tray as they’ll be extremely hot.
  • To sterilize your nail tools in a bead sterilizer, the first thing you need to do is wipe them clean with a piece of cloth or paper towel. You can use water or some cleaning agent as well. This should help remove loose bits of buildup.
  • Be extremely thorough while cleaning and pay special attention to the contours and ridges of your tools as gunk can be hidden in those places. Throw away the dirty piece of cloth or paper towel to avoid spreading bacteria.
  • Make sure the nail tools are completely dry before putting them in the bead sterilizer to as the beads can get stuck to them if they’re wet.
  • Most bead sterilizers take about 15 to 20 minutes to get warm. When your bead sterilizer has warmed up, carefully place the tools inside.
  • Once they’re sterilized, use gloves or oven mitts to remove them as extreme temperatures will cause burns.

3. Remove Buildup Manually

how to disinfect nail tools at home

If the buildup is stuck in the crevices of your nail tools, and sterilization and disinfecting aren’t effective in getting rid of it, you’ll need to remove it manually.

What You’ll Need

  • Container (used to soak clippers)
  • Toothbrush or a scrub brush
  • Toothpicks


  • Use a toothpick to get into the crevices of your clippers and manicure tools and scrape off the gunk or buildup. Once you’ve removed the buildup, wipe off the area with a dry piece of cloth to get rid of loose remnants. You can also use a paperclip or tweezers to get rid of extremely stubborn gunk.
  • One way to loosen up or dissolve the buildup would be to soak your tools in a disinfectant or cleaning solution. Leave them in longer for better results.
  • Another effective way to remove the gunk is to try dry scrubbing. Use a stiff brush to get into the crevices of your clippers and scrape the stubborn buildup. Change the angle and direction of your brush while scrubbing to make sure every last bit of dirt is removed effectively.

Note: You should consider using a brush with tiny bristles as they can easily get into the nooks and crevices and loosen up the buildup.

Storing Clean Nail Tools

how to disinfect nail tools at home

After you’ve cleaned all your nail tools using the methods mentioned above, you need to store them properly in order to avoid contamination.

Clean out a drawer and reserve it for your sterilized nail tools.

If you don’t have enough space, you can wrap your clean tools with paper towels and place them inside a clean makeup bag.

Make sure you’re not storing them in a plastic bag or tightly sealed containers as they can help promote the growth of bacteria.

Final Words

how to disinfect nail tools at home

Knowing how to disinfect your nail tools properly is extremely important.

Make sure you’re cleaning all your nail tools regularly to avoid spreading harmful bacteria and getting a nasty fungal infection on your fingernails or your toenails.

Don’t forget to store your sterilized nail tools in a clean drawer or makeup bag to prevent bacterial growth and contamination.