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How To Get Rid Of Yellow Stains On Gel Nails

Do you notice yellow stains on your gel nails? Are you looking for an easy way on how to get rid of yellow stains on gel nails? Nobody wants yellow stains, especially after paying to get your gel nail manicure. If you’d like to find out how to get rid of those yellow stains, keep on reading…

Woman with gel nails in a French Manicure design

How To Prevent Your Gel Manicure From Getting Stained?

To help keep your gel manicure from staining, start by using a base coat at the beginning of your manicure. This will act as an additional barrier between your nail and the gel color.

When applying polish, use thin coats rather than thick ones, since this can reduce the risk of staining and help prevent bubbling or cracking.

Once you have applied your desired layer of nail color, allow it time to properly dry before topping it off with a clear top coat for added protection.

It’s also important that you avoid contact with any harsh chemicals that may cause staining in your gel manicures.

This includes household cleaning products such as bleach and other strong cleaners, acetone-based removers, paints, oils or alcohol-based products.

All of which can strip away pigment on the surface of your nails. Protecting both hands when doing housework or gardening through gloves or not submerging hands into soapy water can also be helpful in preventing staining on gel nails.

What Causes Yellow Stains On Gel Nails?

Yellow stains on gel nails can occur when exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light causes the natural oils in your nail beds to oxidize, resulting in yellow discoloration.

Exposure to the UV rays from a tanning bed, or even direct sunlight, will accelerate this process and reduce the normal lifespan of your manicure.

Stained nails can be attributed to leaving a manicure on for too long; over time, oil secretions from the skin and environment accumulate beneath the polish, causing it to become discolored. 

Plus, contact with certain chemicals like chlorine and sulfur dioxide may also contribute to yellow staining.

While there are ways you can avoid staining your nails, such as applying sunscreen when outdoors and removing old polish promptly before reapplication, some people may also have an age-associated yellowing that is simply unavoidable.

Still others may suffer from dehydration or inflammation which cause their nails to lose moisture and develop yellow streaks regardless if they take precautions while exposing their nails.

Woman with nude nails holding her hair

How To Get Rid Of Yellow Stains On Gel Nails?

The most common way to get rid of yellow stains on your gel nails is by using a nail polish remover. Ensure that the nail polish remover you use does not contain acetone, as this can cause further damage to your nails.

Pour some of the nail polish remover onto a cotton pad and then rub gently over the yellow stained areas.

Continue rubbing until all of the colored pigments have been removed from your nail’s surface.

However, if you find that the yellow stain remains after moisturizing and removing with a cotton pad, it might be time to consider removing your gel manicure altogether.

When attempting to remove individual layers of gel from your nails when there are yellow stains present, use a soft-bristled nail brush or an orange stick (also known as an orange wood stick) saturated with acetone-free nail polish remover or rubbing alcohol.

Begin by lightly buffing away at each layer until all of the discoloration has disappeared. This method should take care not to chip away too much product at once, as this can damage your natural nails underneath.

When finished applying light pressure, wipe off any excess nail polish or residue left behind using a lint-free cloth soaked in acetone-free fingernail cleanser or rubbing alcohol before rinsing again with warm water and patting dry with a towel.

If none of these methods seem to be working for you, it might be time to opt for professional help, such as visiting your local salon for intense buffing services.

Or investing in additional products specifically designed for waterless removal systems versus traditional wet removal procedures such as soaking gels in acetone solution, which can lead to damaging effects on natural nails and surrounding skin tissue if used improperly.

Use Rubbing Alcohol

Before you get started, make sure you’re using a high-percentage rubbing alcohol and to take any necessary precautions to ensure your safety.

To use rubbing alcohol to remove the stains from gel nails, start by soaking a cotton pad in the rubbing alcohol and applying it directly to the nail, making sure it covers the stained area.

Gently rub the cotton ball in a circular motion for about 30 seconds, then rinse your finger with warm water. Repeat this process for each nail that needs to be cleaned up, then dry them off with a lint-free towel.

You should notice that the stains have been removed from your nails by the rubbing alcohol. If there are still some stubborn spots, repeat the process one more time. Once you’ve finished, be sure to moisturize your hands with a good hand lotion or cream.

Woman pumping hand sanitizer from a bottle

Use Shaving Cream

Shaving cream is a great option for removing yellow stains from gel nail polish. To begin, you’ll need a shallow bowl or container, enough shaving cream to cover the affected area and some cotton balls or swabs.

Start by soaking your stained nails in lukewarm water for several minutes before draining them thoroughly with a clean towel.

Once dry, spread the shaving cream along the affected nails and allow it to sit for 10–15 minutes before wiping away the residue with a damp cloth or Q-tip.

If necessary, you may scrub at the stain gently with a soft bristled toothbrush to help lift any remaining residue. Finally, wash your hands of all product residue and then use lotion to nourish your skin afterward.

Use Tea Tree Oil

To use tea tree oil to remove yellow stains from gel nails, start by ensuring the nails are clean of any remaining polish. Next, create a mixture of three parts tea tree oil and one part lemon juice in a small bowl.

Dip a cotton swab into the drops of tea tree oil mixture and rub it onto each nail until the yellow stain is completely covered. Allow this to sit for up to 10 minutes before wiping away with a damp cloth or paper towel, and rinsing your hands.

Use Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is one of the most effective home remedies to remove yellow stains from your gel nail polish. It is important to note that although it might take multiple applications, it will eventually lift the stain and return your nails to their original color.

To use apple cider vinegar for this purpose, start by soaking a cotton ball in some vinegar and then applying it directly on the stained area.

Let it sit for a few minutes before gently rubbing with a toothbrush or pumice stone. Allow your nails to air dry completely before repeating this process if necessary.

You may need to do several sessions over a period of time, depending on how stubborn the stains are.

You may also try mixing equal parts of baking soda and apple cider vinegar into a paste and apply on affected areas if you find that straight-up apple cider vinegar isn’t doing enough or has not been successful with removing all of the stains after multiple attempts.

Woman with pretty pink and white gel nails with gold glitter accents

Use Baking Soda

Start by soaking your nails in warm water for five minutes, before taking a small bowl and filling it with 3 tablespoons of baking soda and 2 tablespoons of water.

Stir until the ingredients make a paste. Take the paste and apply it to all the areas on your cuticles and nails that have yellow nail stains.

Gently rub the paste into each area, making sure to work it into stubborn stains. Let sit for 10 minutes, then rinse off with warm water.

If you find any areas with remaining yellow stains, repeat as necessary until they are gone. You may also need to reapply topcoat afterward to preserve your manicure’s glossy look

Use Hairspray

Using hairspray to remove yellow stains from your gel nail polish is an easy and inexpensive way to get rid of the yellow staining.

Get the hairspray, and spritz a good amount of it over the dark stain spots on your nail polish. Leave it there to give it time to soak in, which will help loosen and ultimately get rid of the yellow nail stains.

Once a few minutes has passed by, use a soft buffer or towel to gently buff the surface of your nails.

This action will help attempt to remove any remnants of the stain that may still be present after using hairspray as well.

Just be careful not to apply too much pressure while doing this. Lastly, take another soft cloth and wipe off any remaining product or residue on your nails.

Use Hydrogen Peroxide

First, apply some acetone-free nail polish remover to a cotton swab and dab the stained area lightly.

Once the surface of the polish has been softened, pour a capful of 3% hydrogen peroxide onto another cotton swab and swirl it around on top of the stain.

Depending on how deep the discoloration goes into the material, you may need to gently scrub with a slightly stiffer brush such as an old toothbrush in order for it to budge.

After that, dip another cotton swab into some rubbing alcohol and clean up any leftover residue or residue from your previous efforts.

Use Nail Polish Remover

To remove yellow stains from your gel nail polish, you will need to use nail polish remover. Begin by applying a generous amount of the nail polish remover to the stained area and let it sit for at least 5 minutes.

Make sure all of the yellowed areas are covered, and be cautious not to get any of the product in your eyes or on open wounds.

After five minutes, take a soft cloth and wipe away the residue from the remaining nail polish remover. The yellow stain should come off with it.

Woman with French Manicure gel nails

Use Lemon Juice

Start off by cutting a lemon in half and then taking one-half of the fresh lemon and lightly rubbing it over the stained or discolored areas of the nails.

Let this sit for about a minute before washing your hands with water to rinse off any sugar from the juice.

You can also try soaking your fingers into freshly squeezed lemon juice for a few minutes if needed.

After that, take some warm water and soap and wash your hands again gently for best results. Do this every day until all the stains are gone from your nails.

Use A Sugar Scrub

When it comes to dealing with yellow stained gel nails, one of the best remedies is to use a sugar scrub. To clean stained gel nails, mix 2 tablespoons of granulated white sugar and 2 teaspoons olive oil in a bowl until combined.

Next, dip your finger nail into the mixture for about two minutes before rinsing your finger off in warm water.

The exfoliating properties of the sugar will help remove any yellow staining from the polish. It’s important to try and remove as much polish as you can before you perform this procedure, however, because if there’s too much remaining on your nails, then it won’t be very effective.

Use Toothpaste

To remove yellow stains from your gel nail polish, you will need to use a whitening toothpaste. First, try to remove the top layer of the gel nail polish with a cotton swab or an orange stick.

Once you have done this, apply a small amount of whitening toothpaste to each stain and let it sit for ten minutes before washing off with warm water.

You may need to use a soft brush to scrub away any stubborn yellow stains that don’t come off easily.

After all of the stains are gone, make sure to clean up any remaining residue and let your nails dry completely before applying a fresh coat of gel nail polish.

How To Whiten And Remove Stains From Gel Polish


Finding yellow stains on your nails isn’t always the ideal situation, but it doesn’t have to be a major concern – if you know how to remove them. From using a nail polish remover to rubbing alcohol, apple cider vinegar, baking soda and even hairspray, there are many ways you can take care of yellow stains on gel nails.

It’s important that you make sure to use products safely and that you don’t over-scrub or file away too much product from your nails, and you’ll remove yellow stains on nails, in no time.

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