Nail Clipping Tools

How to Soften Toenails for Cutting or Clipping at Home

If you have thick nails, you already know how hard it can be to trim them properly.

Crumbling and jagged edges occur when toenails are too hard to cut. It can lead to cuts to the skin and even infection. You may even find that your clippers can’t cope and break. The good news is that there are proven ways to soften toenails for cutting that work really well.

First, it’s important to determine why your nails are so tough. Our nails do sometimes harden as we age. This can cause the kind of thickness that makes them difficult to clip. There are also health conditions that can cause this problem.

Here are some of the other reasons for thicker toenails:

If you have one or more of these medical conditions, treatment should always be your first priority. If you treat the condition, the nail clipping process will be much easier. Let’s look at some of the ways that tough toenails can be softened.

Best Way to Soften Toenails for Cutting

If you try to cut thick, hard nails without softening them, they will likely crack, chip, or crumble. Thick toenails can be unsightly on their own. But, jagged nails from clipping can look and feel even worse.

A Quick Guide to Softening Toenails at Home

When it comes to how to make your toenails softer, the process is fairly simple.

Follow these steps:

  • Prepare a tub or basin with warm water. It should be deep enough to cover your feet. Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of Epsom salt.
  • Soak your feet in a foot spa machine (for best results) or basin of warm water for about 30 minutes. If your toenails are exceptionally hard, you may need to soak them for longer.
  • After you remove your feet from the water, pat them dry.
  • Apply a medicated toenail softening cream.

What Are the Top Toenail Softening Creams?

Nail softening creams, like Miracle of Aloe Toenail Soft, was created to penetrate into the nail. They typically soften the nails by using hydrating ingredients. After you have soaked your feet, the best toenail softening cream is the final step in making your nails soft enough to clip.

Using a softening cream or ointment is easy. In most cases, you’ll apply the cream directly to your toenails until it sinks in. Most creams recommend that you let them work overnight to soften your nails. That allows you to clip your nails cleanly the next day.

Home Remedies for Softening Hard Nails

If you want to try something different, there are several home remedies:

  • Vicks Vaporub: This commonly-used rub isn’t just for a congested chest. You can use it instead of soaking your feet in a bucket of water. It contains menthol, camphor, and eucalyptus oil. The combination of those ingredients will not only hydrate the toenails, but there’s anecdotal evidence to suggest that it may work to prevent the growth of toenail fungus. To use, apply the rub directly to your nails twice a day. It’s best to develop a morning/night routine for constant penetration into the nails.
  • Tea tree oil: Tea tree oil is an antifungal, antibacterial, and antiseptic agent. It is used to get rid of toenail fungus. These properties can also help with thick nails. Mix a few drops of the oil with a carrier, like olive oil. Then, apply directly to your toenails.
  • White vinegar: White vinegar also has antibacterial properties. Soak a cotton ball with a bit of vinegar and apply directly to your nails. Repeat the process twice a day, until your toenails feel soft enough to clip safely.

Don’t let your toenails become too soft. If they do, they can tear when you clip them. Use a treatment until the nails are soft enough to trim neatly.

What Are the Best Clippers for Thick Nails?

Even if you have hard toenails, there are special nail clippers you can use to work with them. Keeping your nails clean and trimmed isn’t just for looks. If you have a problem like a toenail fungus, it can help to keep the fungus from spreading. It can also keep your nails from cracking and crumbling.

Like softening the nails, though, there is a process to consider in clipping hard nails. It starts with finding the best tools.

How to Soften Toenails for Cutting

Once you have the right tools, use the following process to trim your hard nails:

  • Soften the toenails using one of the methods listed above.
  • Start with the big toenail. You may have to use a toenail grinder to get it to a manageable thickness. Do this while it’s still softened.
  • Work from the top to the sides with each toenail, first clipping at the top, and then trimming around.
  • Repeat the process with the smaller nails.
  • Shorten your nails as much as possible. Keeping them closely trimmed will help to prevent them cracking and splitting if they’re brittle.

Softening Toenails that Are Too Hard to Cut

Thick toenails can be unsightly and inconvenient. If they are overgrown, they can also become painful. Whether you have a health condition or are more susceptible to hard nails, it’s important to get them soft enough to trim.

The softening steps listed here can be helpful in allowing your nails to be clipped properly. Follow the softening procedure to give yourself a head start on softer nails. If necessary, use a medicated softening product, or an at-home solution to complete the process. From there, you should be able to use a pair of clippers designed for thick toenails to clip them safely.

Knowing how to make the toenails softer for cutting is important. It can be a great defense against toenail fungus. It can also keep your nails healthy and they will look much better.