How to Clean a Baby’s Fingernails

It’s amazing how much dirt a baby can get underneath those tiny fingernails, and it’s even more surprising how difficult it can be to get them clean. If you have a little one, then you know the importance of taking care of their fingernails — no matter fussy or fidgety the baby attached to them may be. You may be pleased, however, to discover that the process doesn’t have to be long or painful.

Trimming Your Baby’s Fingernails

The first step in keeping baby fingernails clean is to keep them trimmed. Their nails grow quickly, so plan to trim them every 3-7 days as needed.

You Will Need:

  • A Baby Manicure Set (baby scissors, nail clippers, and emery boards)
  • A content or sleeping baby

The Cleaning Process:

  1. Gently hold one of your baby’s hands and grasp one finger at a time.
  2. Press down lightly on the nail. The growth of the nail will be a different color than the attached part so you’ll have a better idea of where to cut.
  3. Using the scissors or nail clippers (whichever is more comfortable for you), carefully trim off the excess nail, one finger at a time.
  4. Once the nail has been trimmed, soften any sharp edges on baby’s nails with an emery board. (You can do this when she is awake).
  5. Easily remove nail pieces off of the clippers without losing your momentum by blowing against the cutting surface.
  6. If your baby fusses or pulls back, try to distract him with a song or funny noises. If he continues to resist, stop and try again later. You don’t want to create a negative association with the nail clippers, as you’ll need them often!
  7. Pick up nail clippings so they don’t find their way into baby’s mouth.

Cleaning Your Baby’s Fingernails

Trimming the nail will remove most of the dirt, but sometimes a little remains. If you are sure you have trimmed the nail closely enough, follow these steps to get rid of any remaining dirt.

You Will Need:

  • Soft toothbrush
  • Warm water

The Cleaning Process:

  1. Gently grasp your baby’s finger.
  2. Wet the toothbrush in warm water and gently work the bristles against the dirt.
  3. Rinse the toothbrush and repeat as necessary.

Additional Tips and Advice

  • Trim your baby’s fingernails right after she has had a bath when they are soft.
  • Try to trim his fingernails while he’s asleep to make it easier on both of you.
  • While adult nail clippers will work on babies, the large handles and smaller cutting surface of baby clippers make them much easier to use on little fingers and toes.
  • Make sure the toothbrush that you use on baby’s nails isn’t the same one that you use in her mouth.
  • Do not use a dirty toothbrush to clean his nails. You may force germs into tiny, invisible breaks in the skin’s surface.

Comments

  1. Terry says:

    I like to use my embroidery scissors. The ones shaped like a bird.
    The thin blades make it easy to get under those little baby nails.

  2. Ted says:

    Finger nail cleaning, I chew the ends of a toothpick till soft and brush like, these work wonders for that job… If you think they may be dirty, dip them in hydrogen peroxide…

  3. Suzan says:

    Hydrogen peroxide is safe to clean a baby’s nails – it is used in toothpaste!

  4. Sally says:

    It is helpful while trimming baby’s nails to hold her hand in the same direction like your own hands.

  5. Joe says:

    This may sound really bad, but at first glance, the image shocked me when it was a thumbnail on the right hand side.

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