How to Get Nail Polish Stains Off Nails

Updated April 17, 2017

Continuous application of dark-coloured nail polish can eventually cause nails to develop a dull, yellowish stain. This jaundiced stain can give nails an unhealthy and unattractive appearance. Although the stain on the nails will fade over time, there is a very simple and effective method of removing it.

Squeeze the juice out of a fresh lemon into a plastic bowl. Add half a cup of water and stir to blend. Keep the spent lemon for use later on.

Soak your stained nails in the lemon/water mixture for about 5 minutes. Lemon is a natural acidic lightener also used to lighten hair.

Pat hands dry with a towel. Rub the spent lemon wedge from step 1 on each stained nail.

Wash nails to remove lemon residue and pat dry. Apply hand lotion to moisturise your skin. Wait at least 24 hours before applying new nail polish.

Repeat this stain removal process a few times until the yellowish colour is completely gone.


Prevent nail polish stains by always using a clear nail polish as a base coat before applying darker colours.

Things You'll Need

  • Plastic bowl
  • Fresh lemon
  • Towel
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About the Author

Maggie Hira has been writing professionally since 2006. She has written for numerous websites and print publications, including "LA.Direct Magazine" and The Budget Fashionista. Hira holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of California, Los Angeles.