How To Disinfect Metal Nail Tools | Step By Step [2024]

how to clean and disinfect nail tools

Here is the best way to disinfect and sanitize your metal nail tools.

Metal nail tools are a necessity in the nail industry, but many at home nail artists or nail techs know how to disinfect tools like nail clippers or pedicure supplies properly. We will go over what you need to make sure your nail tools are clean.

Alcohol is effective at killing microorganisms that could cause disease or an infection if left on the tool.

how to disinfect nail tools

It is important to note that this method requires drying time before the nail tools are safe again for use so it is best to have 2 sets of tools on hand at all times.

Always have one set available that you are currently using while the other set is being cleaned. 

One of the most important things when it comes to manicures is to start with clean and sterilized nail art tools. If you are not cleaning your nail tools on a regular basis you are setting yourself up for infections.

And if you are a nail technician that is working in a salon, it's of the utmost importance to keep your nail tools sterilized and sanitized always with no exceptions.

how to clean and disinfect nail tools

Today we will discuss how to sanitize nail tools for those who like to DIY your own at home manicure. Also, you will learn what sanitizer is best to use on your nail tools and nail equipment.

Let's explore together how to disinfect nail tools and keep them clean and free of germs and other nasties.

This method of cleaning and disinfecting nail art tools can be applied for metal nail tools. We also have a helpful article on how to clean nail files that tells you step by step how to keep foam, metal and glass nail files clean.

Shop for stainless steel nail tools on Amazon

Do not clean any electrical equipment this way. Also, if you own a nail salon be sure you are following the proper procedures according to your government guidelines by using the proper disinfectant solutions like hospital grade disinfectant.

For a professional nail technician 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.


What is the best sterilizer for cleaning nail tools?

The best sterilizer for cleaning nail tools is Isopropyl alcohol that is 70%.  Resource WebMD & CDC

Here is step by step how to clean your nail tools with 70% Isopropyl Alcohol.

Step 1

The first thing is to lay out all of the tools onto a clean towel or paper towel and have everything ready for cleaning.

Step 2

Examine the tools and remove any visible debris like loose glitter or nail polish with a scrub brush dipped in a bit of hot water with a few drops of soap in it.

clean off visible debris from the nail tool 

Step 3

When you are ready to clean the nail tools, place them into a bowl with warm soapy water. The warm soapy water will get into those hidden places and get all of those little bits out of hard to reach places.

This is especially helpful with little bits of gel polish or nail polish that is stuck onto the tool.

Step 4

Let the nail tools soak for about 5 minutes. Let your nail tools sit in the soapy water even longer, up to 10 minutes if they are especially dirty or have not been cleaned for a long time.

Now is the perfect time to get out a toothbrush and gently & thoroughly clean inside the hard to reach places to make sure there is no nail glue, skin, dirt or nail leftovers.

Step 5

With freshly cleaned hands or using nitrile gloves, remove your nail tools from the soapy water and pat completely dry with paper towel. Pay attention to any bits of skin, nail residue or dirt that might still be on the nail tool, especially inside nail clippers.

Step 6

Place into a bowl and cover completely with 70% Isopropyl alcohol and let them sit for 30 minutes. 

Step 7

Remove the tools from the Isopropyl alcohol with clean hands.

Step 8

Let your tools air dry on paper towel. 

Step 9

Store nail tools in a clean, dry place. It is important to store the disinfected implements away from dust, moisture and insects. So use an airtight container with lid. Having all of your nail tools organized is very important to being productive. Read our article about the best nail art storage ideas.

Use 70% isopropyl alcohol like this brand Jermee here on Amazon


best isopropyl alcohol for cleaning nail tools

Tips for using alcohol for disinfecting nail tools

1. Do not use alcohol on painted, varnished or lacquered nail tools. Alcohol can break down the coating and do major damage to your nail tools. It's best to use stainless steel manicure tools.

2. Never dilute the 70% isopropyl alcohol for disinfecting nail tools. The best % for killing bacteria on nail tools is 70%.

3. Keep your disinfecting solutions up and away from children and pets at all times.

4. Always use alcohol in a ventilated area. Alcohol is a volatile liquid which means it evaporates very quickly. So do keep windows open while cleaning your nail tools.

5. Isopropyl alcohol is not effective against mold and fungus. If your nail tools have mold or fungus, get a new set. Stainless steel is best. There are some professional nail tool sets here on Amazon.

6. When using Isopropyl alcohol on a regular basis, use nitrile gloves to protect your hands.

7. Disposable tools should not be cleaned this way unless you are just using them for at home use.

Thanks for reading! We have a ton of helpful articles on this nail blog. Check out the latest nail art tutorials and nail business guides.

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how to clean and disinfect nail tools 


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