How To Keep White Nail Polish Clean

White nail polish is one of the most popular neutral colors for manicures. As much as we love the color, we don’t love how easily white can get discolored or dirty.

Unfortunately, white nail polish discolors relatively quickly, especially since we use our hands so often, along with frequent sanitizing and exposing them to harsh conditions. It is very easy for them to turn yellow or get stained by pens or food as well. 

Luckily, there are solutions out there to keep your manicure looking its best. 

In this article, we will be providing you with some nail polish hacks for keeping white manicures clean and will show you ways to try and prevent discoloration so that you can figure out how to make nail polish last longer and keep the white color of your nails sparkling for much longer. 

What This Article Covers:

Hacks For Cleaning White Nail Polish 

Unfortunately, preventing any discoloration from happening isn’t always possible. 

White nail polish is bound to discolor or get stained at some stage, so we are going to give you hacks on how to fix nail polish if it has been stained or is starting to lose its white color. This will restore their white color and allow them to remain white for longer.

Rubbing Alcohol Or Nail Polish Remover

This hack is mostly for gel nail polish

Soak a cotton swab in rubbing alcohol or nail polish remover and try to remove the stain.

Make sure you are rubbing gently, as you don’t want to remove any of the gel nail polish. This method should also be used when the stain is still fairly fresh. 

Lemon Juice And Baking Soda

Baking soda and lemon are naturally both bleaching agents. Together, the baking soda reacts with the acidity of lemon to help lift the stains faster. 

Mix one part lemon to three parts of baking soda to make a paste. Rub the paste on your nails and let it sit for a few minutes. Wash the paste off with soapy water.

Scrub Your Nails With Soapy Water

If the stain or discoloration isn’t too intense, and still quite fresh, you can try lightly scrubbing your nails with soapy water.

Make sure to be gentle with the scrubbing, otherwise, you might be left wondering “Why is my nail polish peeling off?” if you were too aggressive with the scrubbing. 


Hairspray is effective for those tougher stains and is also how to remove hair dye from nail polish.

Spray the hairspray onto your nails and use a cotton pad to gently rub the stains off. Make sure you wash your hands with soap and water afterward.

This method is recommended more for gel than for normal nail polish. Hairspray is quite strong, so if you put too much on, it could start to take off your nail polish.

It is best to be careful and start with only a small amount, and apply more if it is necessary.

Tea Tree Oil  

Tea tree oil is another natural stain remover. Pour the tea tree oil into a small bowl and soak your nails in it for approximately 10 minutes. 

If the stains don’t lift after the first round, then repeat it again.

Use A Sugar Scrub 

This hack is best used for discoloration or stains on your nail polish that has been caused by food or spices.

Create a sugar scrub using brown sugar and coconut oil. Mix one tablespoon of this scrub with one tablespoon of water. Apply the mix onto your nails and scrub off the stains to restore the white color of the polish.

Shaving Cream 

The hydrogen peroxide found in shaving cream acts as a bleaching agent and helps to remove dark stains.

Spray shaving cream onto a cotton pad and rub it over the stained or discolored nails until the stain starts to lighten and the whiteness returns.

Apple Cider Vinegar 

Add one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to one tablespoon of water. Mix the two together and use a cotton pad to soak up the mixture. Rub the cotton pad containing the mixture over your nail polish and try to remove the stains.

 keep white nail polish clean

Why Does White Nail Polish Discolor?

There are various reasons why white nail polish might discolor or get stained. However, answering the question as to why white nail polish turns yellow, is the same as answering “Why does nail polish crack?”

The answer is multifaceted, and there could be multiple reasons for both, of which we’ll discuss below.

Poor Quality Nail Polish 

If the white gel nail polish used is of low quality, it might start to turn yellow a few days after application, or it might stain easier. 

Contact With Chemicals Or Cleaning Agents 

Cleaning agents, sanitizer, and some skincare products contain harsh chemicals that react with the gel and can make it turn yellow quicker. 

Not only can they turn white gel yellow, but if you were ever wondering Does gel nail polish chip?” chemicals can also be the cause for this happening. 

Extreme UV Light Exposure Whilst Drying 

If gel nails are left under a UV light for too long, or for too short of a time, they can cause your white nail polish to turn brown.

Additionally, too long under the UV light can also lead to bubbly nail polish

Sunlight And Self Tanning Lotion 

Spending excessive time in the sun, especially in summer, or using tanning lotions can lead to discoloration of your nails. 

Food Or Spices 

Cooking with different foods and spices, especially Turmeric, can cause your white nail polish to stain.

Tips To Prevent White Nail Polish From Discoloring

Although it might not be able to completely prevent white nail polish from staining or discoloration, there are a few things that can be done to prolong this from happening, and prevent it as best you can.

Use Good Quality Products

Using the best long-lasting nail polish that is high quality will ensure that your white nail polish doesn't discolor so soon, and is harder for it to stain.

You should also know how to tell if nail polish is bad because if it has surpassed its expiry date, and you still use it, it is likely to discolor quicker and stain easier.

Using Gloves

Using gloves when cleaning and cooking will prevent the products from going on your nails and causing discoloration and stains. 

Stay Out Of The Sun

Not spending excessive time in the sun when you have white nail polish on will help the brightness of the white last longer. 

Apply Regular Top Coats 

The topcoat applied at the salon only lasts for a short while before it starts to fade off. Daily, you are exposing your nails to hand sanitizer, soap, and you knock your nails around.

So, without you realizing it, your topcoat fades away little by little each day. This is why it is important to reapply regular topcoats to prevent the white polish from any elements that might be thrown at them throughout the day, and it will help to keep their color longer.  

how to keep white nail polish from turning yellow

Final Thoughts 

So even though white nail polish can be a bit of extra maintenance, there are ways to keep the beautiful white color and prolong the discoloration process for as long as you can.

If you’ve managed to keep your white gel nails clean long enough and are wondering, “Can I cut my nails with gel polish?” or “Can you file nails with gel polish?”, check out our articles on how to do so.

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