How to Clean Newborn Nails

It is important to clean newborn nails for a variety of reasons. Not only can long or sharp baby nails cause scratches and skin injuries, but also dirt and debris can get trapped under the fingernails if not properly cleaned. This can increase the risk of bacterial infections and create an unhygienic environment.

How to Clean Newborn Nails

Additionally, it helps keep the baby comfortable and prevents them from scratching their face or body. One of the main advantages of cleaning your newborn’s nails is that it can help prevent them from scratching their delicate skin and even getting infections.

It’s important to remember not to cut or bite into the nail, as this could cause further damage or infection. Keeping baby’s nails trimmed and clean is also vital for good hand hygiene, as their little hands can easily become infected if they’re not kept clean. In this blog post, You will learn in detail how to clean newborn nails.

Step-by-Step Processes for How to Clean Newborn Nails

Step 1: Inspect Your Baby’s Nails

Examine the nails to identify any dirt, oil, or other substances that may be present.  If you find any dirt or oil, use a warm, damp cloth to remove it. When cleaning newborn nails, you’ll need a few tools. This can include cotton balls, baby nail clippers or scissors, and a nail file. You may also want to have a bowl of warm water and a soft cloth nearby.

Step 2: Trim Your Baby’s Nails with Clippers or Scissors

Using clippers or scissors, carefully trim your baby’s nails. Be sure to cut them short enough to see the nail beds clearly. Trimming slightly below the edge of your baby’s fingertips is best. Gently use the nail file to smooth out any rough edges that the clippers or scissors may have left. This will help keep your baby’s nails looking tidy. 

Carefully Trim Your Baby’s Nails

Step 3: Clean Your Baby’s Nails With Cotton Balls and Warm Water

Soak a cotton ball in warm water and gently rub it over your baby’s nails to remove any dirt or oil. You can also use a soft cloth if you don’t have cotton balls on hand. Make sure to occasionally rinse the cloth or cotton ball in warm water to help remove any dirt or oil.

Step 4: Moisturize Your Baby’s Nails

Once you’ve finished cleaning and trimming your baby’s nails, it’s important to keep them moisturized. Use a small amount of gentle baby lotion or petroleum jelly and massage it into the nails to help keep them soft. This will help prevent any cracking or splitting of the nail bed.

By following these simple steps, you can easily learn to Clean Newborn Nails and keep your baby’s delicate skin looking healthy and beautiful. As always, be sure to consult your pediatrician before attempting any nail care on your baby.

Tips for How to Clean Newborn Nails

  1. Ensure your hands, the baby’s nails and any tools used are clean. Wash your hands with soap and water if you have handled anything potentially contaminated before cleaning your newborn’s nails.
  2. Trim your baby’s nails when they are asleep, as it is easier to get them in a comfortable position.
  3. Use round-tipped scissors instead of clippers for a smooth, gentle cut.
  4. Be sure to cut the nails straight across and not curved, as it can cause ingrown nails or cuts on your baby’s skin.
  5. If you accidentally nick the skin, use a cotton ball dipped in a bit of sterile saline solution to stop the bleeding quickly.
  6. Always file the edges of your baby’s nails after cutting them, as this will help keep sharp edges from scratching their skin.
  7. Clean under and around the nail bed using a damp cloth or finger brush, as dirt and bacteria can accumulate there.
  8. Avoid cutting a baby’s nails too short, as this can cause discomfort. Instead, leave a tiny bit of the white part visible at the end of each nail.
Cut the Nails Straight Across

Following these tips will help you safely and gently clean your newborn’s nails while avoiding any cuts or scratches. Even though it may be daunting for new parents to trim their newborn’s nails, it will become much easier and less anxiety-inducing with some practice.

How Often Should You Clean Your Newborn’s Nails?

For most newborns, cleaning their nails should be done two or three times a week. Newborns have very delicate skin, and over-cleaning could cause irritation and discomfort for them. It is also important to keep your baby’s nails short as long nails can scratch their face and other parts of their body.

If your baby’s nails are particularly sharp or long, it is best to cut them rather than try to file them down. When cleaning your newborn’s nails, use a special nail clipper designed for babies and ensure that the edges of the nails are smooth after cutting. Keeping all tools used for clipping nails clean is also important, as this will help prevent any infections.

Before cleaning your newborn’s nails, it is best to ensure their hands and feet are warm so that the skin doesn’t dry out quickly after trimming. Use a damp washcloth or cotton balls soaked in warm water to moisten their fingers and toes before cutting. Doing this will make it easier to cut the nails and lessen any discomfort for your baby.

Use a Special Nail Clipper Designed for Babies

How Can You Avoid Cutting Your Baby’s Skin When Cleaning Their Nails? 

  • Choose a soft-bristled baby brush or an emery board that is specifically designed for newborns when cleaning your baby’s nails. This will help ensure that the edges of their nails are smooth and not sharp, reducing the risk of cutting their skin.
  • Ensure properly sanitizing or cleaning the nail clippers or emery board before and after use.
  • Trim your baby’s nails while they are sleeping or relaxed, as this will help reduce movement and make it easier to clip their nails without accidentally cutting their skin.
  • If you find that your baby is moving around too much while you are trimming their nails, distract them by playing a soft lullaby or talking to them in a soothing voice.
  • Hold your baby firmly but gently and cup their fingers with one hand to ensure that they remain still during the process.
  • Take your time when trimming your baby’s nails, and go slowly.
  • If your baby’s nails are very long, you may want to consider using nail clippers or a nail file instead of an emery board, as this will make it easier to remove the excess length without cutting their skin.
  • If you opt for using nail clippers, use a smaller pair that is specifically designed for newborns.
  • Make sure to clip your baby’s nails straight across and avoid cutting corners or sides of their nails. This will help reduce the risk of accidentally cutting their skin.
  • After trimming your baby’s nails, make sure to apply a healing cream or lotion, like petroleum jelly, to the area where you trimmed the nail. This will help heal any cuts and reduce the risk of infection.

Following these steps can help ensure that you clean your baby’s nails properly and avoid accidental skin cuts. If you still feel uncomfortable or unsure about trimming your baby’s nails, consider asking a trusted family member or friend for help.

Are There Any Special Products or Tools Available to Help Clean Newborn Nails? 

Yes, there are special products and tools available that can help to clean newborn nails. Firstly, you should select a nail clipper designed for newborns. These clippers are typically smaller and have rounded edges to avoid injuring the baby’s delicate skin. Secondly, use an emery board or baby nail file specifically designed for babies’ nails.

Use an Emery Board or Baby Nail File

This item is softer than a regular nail file, so it’s less likely to scratch the baby’s delicate skin. Lastly, use a cotton swab or soft washcloth dampened with warm water to clean any dirt, debris, or nail clippings that remain after clipping and filing. Be sure to regularly check the nails for any signs of infection or irritation.

If you notice any abnormalities, contact your pediatrician for further advice or medical treatment as soon as possible.


In conclusion,  cleaning a newborn’s nails can be a tricky process. However, it can be done safely and easily with the right technique and knowledge. Start by gathering the necessary supplies, such as cotton balls, baby nail clippers, scissors, or an emery board. Gently trim your baby’s nails using a curved line following the shape of the nail.

Use a soft cloth or cotton ball and warm water to remove any small clippings. Finally, use an emery board to smooth the nail edges if needed. Remember to be extra cautious when cleaning and trimming your baby’s nails, as their delicate skin can be easily cut.

Doing this task with care and patience can help ensure that you keep your baby safe and comfortable during the process. I hope reading this post has helped you learn how to clean newborn nails. Make sure the safety precautions are carried out in the order listed.

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Loren Jones

Hi, my name is Loren. I live with my husband and 4 lovely kiddos in the Eastern part of San-fransisco. I have a smart beautiful,curious 6 year old daughter, a handsome 11-year-old son, an intelligent and tech geek 15 years old son and a creative, artistic 12-year-old stepson. With each of my kids being five years apart, I feel that I’m now continually phasing in and out of each stage of parenting! I’ve learned a lot about the way children learn and behave, especially in a school setting with regards to curriculum. I enjoy sharing that insight through my writing and hope that it can help others.

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