How Do You Cut Toenails Properly?

Cut toenails by soaking feet in warm water, choosing good clippers, clipping straight across and shaping nails with a file. Avoid clipping the sides of the nails, which often leads to ingrown toenails.

  1. Soak the feet in warm water

    Cut toenails after a bath or soaking them in water. Soaking helps to soften the nails so they are easier to trim.

  2. Choose the right clippers

    Select good quality toenail clippers. Avoid using fingernail clippers that are not shaped correctly to cut larger toenails or cheap clippers that tear the nail instead of cutting it. Make sure clippers are clean before using them. Avoid sharing clippers with others to prevent the spread of toenail fungus.

  3. Clip the nail straight across

    Cutting the nail straight, just over the skin, encourages even growth in the proper direction. Cutting the nail too short or rounding the edges causes it to grow down, instead of straight, causing an ingrown toenail. Make sure the nail does not extend over the end of the toe and does not press against the end of the shoe.

  4. Shape with a nail file

    Shape the nails using a nail file. Use the coarse side of the board to shorten and shape the nails. The fine side is for smoothing the edge of the nail. Round the corners of the nail slightly to soften the square shape. Avoid using a metal file that can rip the nail.