How to Clip Your Own Nails

Clipping your nails will keep them looking trim and neat, and it's certainly more sanitary than biting them.

You will need

  • A fingernail clipper
  • A toenail clipper
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • A nail file or emery board
  • A trash can
  • Tissues or paper towel (optional)
  • Hand cream (optional)

Step 1 Choose the clippers Choose the right clippers for the job. The blades on fingernail clippers are slightly curved, while toenail clippers are bigger and feature straight blades.

Step 2 Clean the clippers Before you begin, clean the clippers by rinsing them in rubbing alcohol, even if you’re the only one who uses them.

Step 3 Decide a length Look at all your fingernails carefully and decide how short you want to clip them.

Step 4 Position and cut Position the clipper at one side of the fingernail you’re going to cut first, so that the curve of the clipper is in line with the curve of the nail. Squeeze the clipper until it cuts through the nail.

Step 5 Follow the curve It should take two or three separate clips per nail to trim the whole thing. Carefully follow the curve of the nail with each snip.

Step 6 File the edges Gently use a nail file or emery board to smooth any sharp or uneven edges. File straight across and in one direction, not back and forth.

Step 7 Sit for toenails To trim your toenails, sit on a chair or the floor and bend your knee so that you can reach your foot. Using toenail clippers, trim each nail straight across, which prevents ingrown toenails—when the nail grows into the skin of the toe.

Step 8 Use lotion on cuticles Rub a little hand cream onto each cuticle, which is the skin between your nail and your finger. It’s there to protect your nails from infection; when it gets dried out, it can let germs in.