12 May 2014

Yellow Nails and Denture Cleaner

There have been times--and a lot of lacquer addicts know these feels--when I've kept my nails painted just to cover that awful yellow. I would double up on base coat to no effect, try to avoid polishes I thought might stain more than others, but that yellow refused to go away. I'd give this remedy a go and get...eh, some not really great results; another product would make a little difference but not seem worth it for the money. Then I finally realized what was missing from my whitening approach... Patience is a virtue I'm not exactly rolling in, but nails don't get as yellow as mine were overnight. It was going to take more than a dunk or two in something to get rid of those stains, but I determined to give it a shot with one more product, some simple denture cleaner.

Caution: super-yellow nails, water-pruned fingers, and un-moisturized cuticles ahead! (>_<)

yellow nails and denture cleaner

I started this experiment by picking up a box of Polident and checking out the basic instructions, but before I dunked my nails, I made sure to get a "Before" shot of them in all their yellow-stained glory.

yellow nails before

Totally gorgeous, right? I am so proud. Time to dive in and get rid of some of this ick!

First I let the tap run until the water was nice and warm--pretty hot, really, about as warm as I could comfortably rest my hand in. Then I filled a bowl about halfway, plopped in a couple of denture cleaner tablets, and soaked my fingers in the fizz for about 25 minutes. It made a bit of a difference, and I decided a few hours later to hit 'em again, same way as before.

Not even close to "white" again, but these were some results I could definitely build on! After a few manicures I would give my nails another soak, wash, photograph, and enjoy the signs of improvement.

After the 6th treatment I decided to buff them too, which I hadn't done since I started this experiment, and not surprisingly, it also made a difference. You don't want to rely too heavily on buffing to get rid of the yellow, though, because over-buffing will weaken your nails. But every now and then, a good buff is a good idea...

So. A little time and a (very!) little effort, and while they were still on the road to recovery, it was obvious at this point that periodic soaking in denture cleaner makes a huge difference in getting rid of those dark, yellow stains. I highly recommend it.

One more thing I recommend? Scrubbing those nails. Not just after a denture bath but after taking off your nail polish too. I am convinced now that my horrible "before" stains were mostly due to the amount of acetone polish remover I use on my nails, so I've been washing them well with soap and a nail brush after each manicure comes off...and then every so often, I give them a little denture cleaner bath.

It's amazing what a difference these simple steps have made in helping my nails stay whiter!


  1. Have you tried whitening toothpaste? I swear it works better than anything else I've tried and pretty fast. I just put a dab on each nail, kind massage it in for a minute or two, let it sit for about 5 minutes then scrub them with a nail brush, most of the stains are gone with the first treatment!

  2. Excellent post! I've always wondered whether denture cleaner would help yellowed nails and I love seeing the progress in your photos!

    I agree with you about polish remover as a possible source of yellowing and made it a habit to give my nails a nice soapy scrub each time I remove polish rather than begin a new manicure over whatever residues may be left behind. Follow the scrub with an application of jojoba/squalane/carrot seed oil mix to wet skin and nails, rub it in and let it absorb for a few minutes, wipe the surface of my nails with diluted alcohol and then they're ready for another manicure.

  3. I hear great things about denture tablets for treating stains. Your post really makes me want to try it! I had a similar epiphany to yours. I would try a stain removal method once or twice before deciding it didn't work, until I adopted the mindset that my nails didn't get stained overnight, so nothing was going to instantly whiten them either. I absolutely agree that I've found scrubbing helps my nails! I got a nail scrubbing brush for the first time a few months ago and I love it! Great post!

  4. Buffing used to be pretty much the only thing that helped me against the yellow staining... but I find that after I started to use Essie First Base as my base coat, the color of my nails has improved significantly. Before that I tried several base coats and I'd always have yellow-ish nails anyway, but First Base seems to work really well on my nails and it has become my HG base coat. Might be worth a try? :)

  5. I bought Nail Aid Power Paste Nails White 'n Brite and saw great results after one use!! http://www.walmart.com/ip/Nail-Aid-Power-Paste-Nails-White-n-Brite-Nail-Stain-Removing-Paste-2.5-fl-oz/24273807

  6. I use them once a month just because I'm lucky and my nails don't get stained like yours do. On a weekly basis I just use baking soda and lemon juice, and toothpaste when I feel like it. Your nails will get better in time ;)


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