The PROPER WAY To CLEAN NAIL FILES | Step by step instructions

how to clean nail files

Here are step by step instructions on how to clean your nail files. Nail files are one tool that should be cleaned often.

There's organic materials on there from filing that can grow little nasty things as well as nail powder from gel polishes and builder gels that need to be removed to keep your files in top shape.

One thing you should never do is keep using a nail file over and over without ever cleaning it.

A file that is used at home on a regular basis should be cleaned after a few uses and files that are used in a home studio or salon need to be cleaned and disinfected after every customer.

Read up on the guidelines for your area for all health codes. Some areas will only allow single use, while others allow multi use as long as the nail tools are disinfected properly.

how to clean nail files

If you run a professional nail salon or at home nail studio, you might need to use a professional autoclave sterilizer which uses heat to disinfect. Read our helpful article about how to choose the best autoclave sterilizing machines.

This nail file cleaning instructional can be followed for high end foam nail files, glass, acrylic and stainless steel nail files.

If you are using a low quality cardboard nail file, the glue can come loose so do be aware of that. The purpose of cleaning your nail files is to disinfect them and to get all of the little bits out of the crevasses.


Supplies Needed To Clean Nail Files:

1. Medium bowl

2. Castile liquid soap Dr. Bronner's on Amazon

3. Toothbrush or bristle scrub brush Natural Brushes on Amazon

4. 70% isopropyl alcohol in a spray bottle Isopropyl Alcohol on Amazon

5. Paper towel or cotton hand towels

how to clean and disinfect nail files

How To Clean Nail Files Instructions

Before cleaning your nail files, check them over to make sure there is no mold or fungus growing on your files. If there is, do not use them or clean them. Invest in a new set.

Step 1

In a medium sized bowl, add 2 cups of warm water. The water should be quite warm so that any little bits will come off the nail file more easily.

Step 2

Add 2tsp. of liquid soap. You can use any kind of liquid soap for this, but if you have antibacterial soap that is even better.

Step 3

Swish the soap around in the water to dissipate evenly.

Step 4

With the dry toothbrush, first go over the nail file on both sides in a circular motion gently buffing out the larger bits.

Step 5

Take your toothbrush or scrub brush and dip it into the soapy water.

Step 6

Gently but firmly scrub the nail file in a circular motion with the soapy water. Dip the toothbrush or scrub brush back into the water and go over the nail file again. If your nail file still isn't quite clean enough, repeat a third time.

Just be careful if you are cleaning a cardboard or foam file so that the glue doesn't start lifting.

Step 7

Take the paper towel and gently pat the nail files dry on both sides.

Step 8

Lay the nail files down onto paper towel or a cotton towel and spray generously with the 70% isopropyl alcohol. Be sure not to drench the files, a mist that covers both sides fully is sufficient.

Step 9

Turn the nail files over and repeat, spraying them with the isopropyl alcohol.

Step 10

Let your nail files air dry.

It is very important to make sure that the files are completely dry before storing them so they do not grow mold & mildew.

how to clean nail files

Cleaning nail files FAQ

Should you wash nail files?

It depends. Some nail files are single use and will not stand up to washing. If you are a professional nail salon, you should always follow your health guidelines about washing or replacing nail files.

Most quality nail file sets can be washed and disinfected.

how to clean nail files

Can you wash a metal nail file?

Yes, you can wash a metal nail file. Make sure any little bits are removed, then use warm soapy water with a bristle brush to wash the file.

Rinse under warm water. Lay onto paper towel and spray with 70% isopropyl alcohol on both sides. Let dry completely before storing. Read up on how to disinfect metal nail tools.

Can you wash a glass nail file?

Yes, you can wash a glass nail file. First, make sure any little bits or nail polish is removed, then use warm soapy water with a bristle brush to wash the file.

Rinse the glass nail file under warm water. Lay onto paper towel and spray with 70% isopropyl alcohol on both sides. Let dry completely before storing.

how to clean nail files

Cleaning nail files regularly is crucial for maintaining proper hygiene and extending their longevity. Here are five essential reasons why you should clean your nail files:

Preventing Bacterial Growth: Over time, nail files can accumulate dead skin cells, nail dust, and product residue.

This debris becomes a breeding ground for harmful bacteria and fungi, which can potentially lead to nail infections.

Regular cleaning helps eliminate these contaminants, reducing the risk of infections.

how to clean nail files

Maintaining Nail Health: Uncleaned nail files may transfer bacteria and debris back onto your nails during use, causing damage, weakening the nail structure, and increasing the likelihood of fungal infections.

Cleaning your nail files ensures that you're not inadvertently harming your nail health.

Enhancing File Effectiveness: Dirty files become less effective at shaping and smoothing nails, requiring more effort and potentially causing uneven results.

Cleaning your nail file removes obstructions, allowing it to work efficiently and deliver the desired results with ease.

Prolonging Durability: The accumulation of debris and product residues on a nail file can make the abrasive surface less effective.

how to clan nail files

Cleaning the file removes this buildup, prolonging its durability and ensuring that it remains in optimal condition for future use.

Creating a Sanitary Routine: Regularly cleaning your nail files is an essential aspect of maintaining a sanitary nail care routine.

It demonstrates a commitment to personal hygiene, which is not only beneficial for your nail health but also essential for providing professional nail care services if you're a nail technician.


Here is one of the top selling nail file sets that are glass so they will last for a very long time and be easy to clean. Having the right nail art tools and supplies is a must in the nail art rooms.

Check Price On Amazon

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