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How to Get Dirt Out From Underneath a New Baby's Fingernails

By Tabitha Harwell ; Updated April 18, 2017
Maintain a newborn's fingernails to prevent diseases.

It is amazing how much dirt can get underneath the fingernails of a newborn. Simple hand-to-mouth gestures are not only soothing for the baby, but also serve as a dust magnet for flying dust particles. Keep your newborn's mouth free of under-nail germs by maintaining her fingernails on a weekly basis. Germs thrive in damp places, which make the nail an ideal place to live. Cleaning the nail takes minimal time and is best done while the baby is sleeping.

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Trim baby’s nails to the correct length. A newborn’s nails grow very quickly and should be trimmed every three to seven days to prevent unnecessary scratching or dirt under the nails. It is best to trim the nails while the newborn is sleeping to prevent cutting the nails too short, or cutting the delicate skin around the nail bed. Use a baby manicure set to cut and trim the nails. Baby manicure sets contain tools that are designed specifically for infants.

Fill a small bowl about half way with warm water. The water will loosen the dirt under the nails so it can be scrubbed away.

Dip a clean, small toothbrush into the water and gently rub under the nail. The toothbrush should just barely touch under the nail. You don't want to push hard because the bristles may hurt the newborn and push the dirt further under the nail bed.

Rinse the toothbrush and wipe under the nails again. Discard the water and label the toothbrush for nail cleaning.

Things You Will Need

  • Newborn manicure kit
  • Bowl
  • Warm water
  • Toothbrush


Avoid using your nail to dig out dirt. This may push the dirt further under the nail bed. Keep a newborn manicure kit in the diaper bag for on-the-go emergencies.

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About the Author

Tabitha Harwell has been writing since 2008, with articles appearing in local publications and various websites. Her background includes a career in the fashion and beauty industry. Harwell holds a Bachelor of Arts in public relations.

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