How to Remove a Toenail

Toenails are made up of a protein called keratin. This protein works to cover and protect the sensitive skin of the nail bed. Sometimes, when the nail becomes injured, it detaches from the nail bed and turns black. Home removal of a toenail should only be done in this case 1. Other reasons for toenail removal, such as a fungal infection or ingrown toenail, require a visit to a podiatrist.

Is This an Emergency?

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.

Sterilize the area using a cotton ball soaked in hydrogen peroxide. This will help disinfect the area around your toenail.

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Wrap a rubber band several times very tightly just above the toenail. This step, while optional, will help minimize the bleeding, if there is any.

Use nail scissors to make a lengthwise cut down the nail (as far as you can go) at about half a centimeter from one side of the edge of the nail. Cut all the way down to the cuticle.

What to Do for a Ripped-Loose Fingernail?

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Using tweezers or forceps, grip the now separated strip of nail and pull up and out until the piece of nail has come out. If the nail breaks, grab what remains and pull it out.

Repeat Steps 3 and 4 to gradually take the nail out, strip by strip.

Clean with cotton ball soaked in hydrogen peroxide and put a bandage over the exposed nail bed.