How to Clean Nail Clippers: 3 Easy Ways

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Nail clippers, we all use them all the time. Do they need to be sanitized and disinfected? Proper sanitizing and disinfecting of nail clippers and other manicure tools for home use is often neglected. It’s often thought, as long as they are not being shared with other people, it should be fine, right?


It’s important to clean and sanitize your nail clippers after every use.

In this article, we are going to explain why it’s important to sterilize your nail clippers and how to clean nail clippers at home.


Can Nail Clippers Spread Fungus?

Tweezerman Nail Clippers

Nail clippers can become a breeding ground for fungi and bacteria. It can be introduced, or re-introduced, to your nails and result in nail fungus. Or it can cause a bacterial infection in any cracks or open cuts in and around the nails.

Due to the prevalence of nail fungus, one out of every 10 people reading this will be suffering from nail fungus.

Those who have or have had it know it’s extremely hard to get rid of, and it can spread easily!

If you are among the 10% of the population (and up to 50% of those over 70) currently battling a nail fungal infection, the last thing you want to do is spread it to other nails! Nor do you want to re-infect your nails after you’ve spent months trying to get rid of nail fungus.

Even if you don’t have a nail fungal infection, using unclean nail clippers can cause a fungal infection.

There are always bacteria and fungi on our skin and nails. This is normal.

However, when fungi find a moist, warm environment, they will thrive and flourish. An overpopulation of fungi can develop into a fungal infection, and that’s hard to cover up!

So it’s vitally important to sterilize your nail clippers.

How to Clean Nail Clippers

There are several ways to disinfect nail clippers. There are professional-grade disinfectants you can buy that are often used in salons to sterilize manicure equipment. But you probably don’t need those.

It’s easy enough to disinfect nail clippers with common household products.

We’ve put together a few different ways you can easily clean nail clippers at home.

But before you disinfect and sterilize your nail clippers, you need to clean them first. Wash your hands, then thoroughly wash the nail clippers with soap and water and remove any debris.

It’s easier to get into the small crevices of your nail clipper if you use a cotton swab, scrub brush, or even a toothbrush (one you’ve designated expressly for this use, of course).

Rinse and dry with tissue or paper towel.

Now it’s time to disinfect!

1. Boiling Water

You can boil your metal nail clippers in water for 20 minutes.

2. Isopropyl Alcohol

Soak your nail clippers in 70% – 90% rubbing alcohol for 30 minutes.

3. Bleach

Make a diluted solution of 9:1 water and bleach (90% water and 10% bleach). Soak the clippers for 30 minutes.

Now that you’ve disinfected your clippers, be mindful of how you handle them after they’ve been disinfected.

Wash your hands first.

Dry your clippers with a paper towel.

Place the dry clippers into a clean ziplock bag or a small sealed container.

There’s no sense in disinfecting your nail clippers to just then throw them into a random drawer, cupboard, or medicine cabinet. Especially since most people keep their nail clippers in the bathroom that is often warm and moist and the perfect breeding ground for bacteria and fungus!

How Often Should You Sanitize Your Nail Clippers?

Nail clippers should be sterilized after every use. And if you want to prevent spreading a current fungal infection to other nails, you need to make sure you are clipping the nails infected by fungus last.

Then sterilize the clippers.

You should think of nail clippers as a personal hygiene tool, like your toothbrush or loofa sponge.

You wouldn’t share those with someone else.

Likewise, you should not be sharing nail clippers.

But let’s get real for a minute, if you live in a family home, it’s probably unlikely there will be one nail clipper (although that would be ideal) for each family member.

This is when sterilizing nail clippers after every use becomes even more important.

What Kind of Nail Clippers Should I Use?

Harperton Nail Clippers

Nowadays, there are loads of nail clippers on the market. Nail clippers that advertise their rubber ‘comfort grip’ or plastic ‘ergonomic design’ while they might look cool, the main problem with a lot of the rubber coatings and plastic casings is that they may not be able to withstand 20 minutes of boiling water without melting or deforming.

Alcohol and bleach will also degrade rubber and some plastics and cause them to deteriorate.

It’s generally best to stick with nail clippers that are made entirely of metal so that they are easier to disinfect. Stainless steel nail clippers will last longer.

Upon reviewing nail clippers available, we’ve put together a list of quality products that have been given great ratings by consumers.

1. Harperton Nail Clippers Set 

Nail Clippers Set - 2 Pack Stainless Steel Ingrown Toenail Tool, Professional Fingernail & Toenail Clippers for Thick Nails (Pedicure Nail Clippers)
  • Ergonomic: Comfortable and easy to use,...
  • EFFORTLESS: Built with hand-sharpened...
  • COVENIENT: Packed together in a zippered...
  • PRECISE: Nail clipper set (large and...
  • BEST GIFT: If you’re looking for a...

The Harperton nail Clippers set is ranked as an “Amazon’s Choice” product, with good reason. With over 23,150 ratings, 78% of which 5-star ratings, it’s easy to see why.

PROS: Among reviewer comments, well-aligned, sharp cutting blades that make for precise cuts without bending or tearing as well as its sturdiness, are its most hailed attributes.

CONS: There were some comments as to the narrow gap between the blades, not making them ideal if you have especially thick toenails.

2. SZQHT Wide Jaw Opening Nail Clippers 

SZQHT 15mm Wide Jaw Opening Nail Clippers for Thick Nails,Finger Nail Clippers for Ingrown Toenail Clippers for Men,Tough Nails, Seniors, Adults(Silver)
  • BUY WITH CONFIDENCE: This nail clippers...
  • IDEAL FOR THICK NAILS; Perfect toenail...
  • Ultra WIDE JAW OPENING for thick nails...
  • PERFECT FOR: Built for a variety nail...

The SZQHT Wide Jaw Opening Nail Clippers are also rated as an “Amazon Choice” and address a common complaint about other nail clippers not opening wide enough to clip extra-thick toenails. Nearly 50 people describe these clippers as cutting through your nails “like butter.”

PROS: Reviews were impressed by their sharpness and extra-wide opening to clip the thickest of nails and that it comes with its own storage bag and tin.

CONS: there were some reviewers who complained that they did not receive the nail file shown in the advertising and that its large size makes it harder to handle than smaller clippers.

3. Kohm KP-700 Toenail Clippers for Thick/Ingrown Nails 

KOHM Ingrown Toenail Clippers for Thick Nails - 5" Long KP-700 Heavy Duty Stainless Steel Toe Nail Nippers Tool for Men, Women, Seniors & Adults - Professional Podiatrist Tool
  • "STRONG: The Kohm KP-700 Toenail...
  • WIDE JAW: Designed with a curved blade...
  • EASY GRIP: With a handle that is...
  • VERSATILE: Our professional toenail...
  • EASY TO CLEAN: Our stainless-steel...

The sturdy stainless steel construction of the Kohm KP-700 Toenail Clippers makes this a fan favourite, not only for it’s sharp cutting edges, and angled blade that opens wide, but because the blade design allows it to get into areas that traditional clippers cannot reach.

PROS: Reviewers love the design that has those suffering from ingrown toenails, singing its praises. One reviewer writes: “This so far is the best one I found. Real quality. It is sharper than most and the nibs can really get to the hard-to-reach areas.”

CONS: there were a few reviewers who complained that the spring mechanism broke or became stiff after some use.

4. MUJI nail clipper 

These tiny, but mighty clippers are garnering rave reviews from a lot of people who bought them specifically for their small size as a travel emergency pair, but have ended up using them as their go-to clippers because they are well-built, are sharp, and cut well without tearing, or leaving ragged edges.

PROS: Most of the positive reviews had to do with the fact that the Muji nail clipper is sturdy and  “cuts easily and cleanly”.

CONS: A few reviewers stated that the blade was too curved for their nails “…and sometimes leaves the corners of my nails uncut.” 

Written by Kayla Young

Kayla is the founder of LuxeLuminous. She has worked professionally in the tanning industry for years. She has been interested in esthetics since childhood, and has tried every hair, skin, and makeup product ever produced (more or less).