How to File Toenails (the RIGHT Way)

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You wouldn’t cut your hair with a dull pair of scissors, right? Of course not. Similar to that, you shouldn’t file your toenails back and forth. (We’ve all been guilty of this one…) And, yes, there is a right and wrong way to file toenails…

Filing toenails should never be done aggressively. If you have neglected your toes for some time or you can’t remember your last pedicure, then you may be tempted to take a jackhammer to your feet rather than a toenail file. Regardless of the condition of your feet, toe nail filing does require a few steps to leave feet looking and feeling healthy and smooth.

Start Off on the Right Foot

This video shows you how to file toenails—the RIGHT way. So here’s how to get started off on the right foot (See what we did there?)

You only need a few things for proper toenail filing:

  1. A toenail file
  2. A toenail clipper
  3. A wood stick
  4. A towel

How to Shape Toenails

Once you are armed with the right tools, now you can begin filing and shaping toenails.

  1. Start by trimming the toenails with a toenail clipper. This will make getting the desired toenail shape easier. Avoid trimming toenails TOO short as this can lead to ingrown toenails and possible infections.

  2. Second, file toenails in ONE direction, focusing on corner to center. This will avoid fraying the nail, causing damage to your nail bed, toe nail breakage and making a clean shape. Filing toenails carefully will help you to easily achieve your desired shape.

  3. Continue filing straight across—in one direction—until you like the shape.

  4. Apply a little Vitamin E or Aloe to your toenail beds to help moisturize them, if needed. 


That’s all there is to it! If you have been filing your toenails the wrong way for years, don’t fret. You can still nurse them back to health. Simply trim your toenails again, and file them the right way for a smoother result. No jack hammer needed.