What Is Toenail Whitener?

Christina Edwards

Toenail discoloration can have several causes, including fungal infections and dark nail polish. A commercial toenail whitener can be used to lighten discolored toenails. Hydrogen peroxide, lemon juice, baking soda, and even whitening toothpaste can also be used to whiten toenails naturally. To prevent discolored toenails, feet should be washed often, and a base coat should be applied before using dark nail polish.

Healthy toenails.
Healthy toenails.

Discolored toenails are a common problem for many people. These toenails will usually appear to be yellow, but they might also look light brown or even greenish as well. One of the most common causes of discolored toenails is a fungal infection. Dark nail polishes can also stain the nails.

Toenail whitener can eliminate the staining caused by dark nail polish.
Toenail whitener can eliminate the staining caused by dark nail polish.

Yellow nails can be lightened with a toenail whitener. This product typically contains mild bleaching agents, which can help remove any abnormal pigment from the nails. A whitener might need to be rubbed onto the nails, or it might need to be applied like nail polish. The substance is then allowed to dry, and it may take anywhere from several days to several weeks to see results.

Toenail discoloration can be caused by fungal infection.
Toenail discoloration can be caused by fungal infection.

Natural toenail whiteners may not be as effective as commercial products, but they are generally less expensive and not as harsh. Hydrogen peroxide is often used as a whitener, for example, since it is gentle and very effective. The hydrogen peroxide is rubbed into the toenails and allowed to dry.

Some people may also find that lemon juice is an effective toenail whitener. Like hydrogen peroxide, lemon juice is rubbed onto the nails and allowed to dry. Hydrogen peroxide or lemon juice can also be mixed with baking soda to whiten toenails. This paste is usually rubbed into the nails before being rinsed off.

Whitening toothpaste can also be used as an inexpensive whitener. To use toothpaste to whiten toenails, a small amount of it can be squeezed onto a new toothbrush or nail brush. The toenails are then scrubbed with the brush. Any toothbrush that is used to scrub the toenails or fingernails, however, should never be used to brush the teeth.

To prevent the need for a toenail whitener, individuals can take steps to prevent toenail discoloration. For instance, washing the feet frequently can help prevent foot and toenail fungal infections. Applying a base coat to the toenails before applying a dark nail polish can also help prevent yellow nail polish stains.

Whitening toothpaste can be scrubbed over nails with a nail brush.
Whitening toothpaste can be scrubbed over nails with a nail brush.

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Discussion Comments


It doesn't make sense to use toenail whitener when the cause is a fungal infection. If the underlying cause is treated, then the nails will eventually grow back in their natural color.


@SarahGen-- I've never used a toenail whitening treatment so I have no idea if it damages nails or not. But you don't need to pay more for products like that when baking soda and hydrogen peroxide can do the job.

I soak my toenails in a solution made with one spoon of hydrogen peroxide and a couple of spoonfuls of baking soda when my toenails start looking yellow or brown. I keep my toes in it for a few minutes and then wash my feet. It works well.


Does commercial toenail whitener damage nails?

My toenails have started looking yellow lately. Weather is warming up and I want to wear sandals but I can't while my toenails are looking like this. I'm thinking of using a toenail whitener but I'm worried that it will make my nails dry and fragile.

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