44

When people cut their fingernails and toenails, the nail trimmings typically fly everywhere.

There are some nail clippers that have little plastic sheaths that are supposed to catch the trimmings, but they never seem to work. And finding one with a straight edge for toenails is a real challenge.

What's a good life hack to trim your fingernails and toenails without the trimmings flying all over the room?

  • 7
    Do it while they are wet. – vsz May 17 '16 at 4:54
  • 5
    @Maarten My fingers don't fit inside the jaws of nail clippers. How do you get anything done with such tiny fingers? – Timbo May 18 '16 at 0:59
  • 2
  • 2
    @MatthewLock I've actually considered the full face shield. Or perhaps this is the solution: youtube.com/watch?v=0IlqH-2n6eE – RockPaperLizard May 18 '16 at 5:41
  • 4
    @Maarten IMO there is always more need to be silly. But honestly I don't understand your answer and can't picture how to hold my finger on the nail piece I'm cutting without being inside the clippers. – Timbo May 18 '16 at 19:50

17 Answers 17

48

What I often do when trimming my nails, toes or fingers, is grab a plastic shopping bag, open it on the floor and then place my foot or hand partly inside the bag and trim. It's quick, almost 100% effective, and is a fast easy cleanup.

Plus, if you're like me, you have so many plastic bags you have no idea what to do with them.

  • 3
    @Kiwi: "Reuse this bag as a bin liner, half a pair of disposable wellies, a swimming kit bag, a portable laundry basket, a disposable glove (left or right-handed), a gardening mat, a paint tray liner, a muddy boot carrier, something to take your packed lunch to work in, a paint brush protector, a temporary filing cabinet, or you could just use it for your shopping again." — The Co-op – deltab May 19 '16 at 0:38
  • @deltab Well of course :) – Kiwu May 19 '16 at 7:35
  • 1
    Just remember to throw it out. Don't put it back under the sink, I use those bags for my lunch. Seriously, I knew someone that would do that :/ – wedstrom May 19 '16 at 15:48
  • @deltab Reminds me of the towel from "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy". So many uses no one ever thinks of. – Simply Beautiful Art Jun 1 '16 at 23:44
28

Clip your nails outside in nature. Your small organic compound deposit is appreciated by micro-organisms, and you don't have to care where it lands.

Be courteous: don't do this where the scattered trimmings might bother others, such as in urban or built-up areas, or on grass likely to be used for picnics within the next year, or on public beaches, or near food-crops or sources of fresh water.

  • 2
    But when its cold outside? And do you cut toenails in the street often? – Mikhail V May 16 '16 at 20:32
  • 3
    @MikhailV Cold is extra motivation to get it over quicker. :) I meant outside in nature—in non-built-up areas. Edited to clarify. – Anko May 16 '16 at 21:38
  • 1
    @WernerCD That was not the point. I am just too lasy to go and look for cushy location where I can sit and do it. On its own not a bad idea, to attract maids :) – Mikhail V May 17 '16 at 19:37
  • 4
    @MikhailV If that's your idea of attracting girls, you're better be very good looking - it won't be the clipping of your toenails that draws them to you. (If it happens to be, you'd better run from that specific girl.) Or be prepared for a loong time as single. – Stephie May 18 '16 at 6:58
  • 1
    "It's cold outside" is, IMO, a valid objection if you live in an area with cold winters. Some days/weeks, I'd rather not take my mitts off at all, when outdoors--and certainly not long enough to trim my nails. – Mathieu K. May 18 '16 at 7:05
18

Assuming you are using clippers like these, all you have to do is run them under water for a second and clip like usual. The water causes the nails to stick to the metal in a nice small bundle. After you are done, just run it under water again to clean the nails out. enter image description here

  • And if the water is not good enough a bit of hair gel or toothpaste or similar will be sure to work. A quick rinse later all DNA evidence is down the drain. – KalleMP Jun 28 '16 at 16:59
12

Easy: trim your nails after shower. As the water makes it a little more soft, it doesn't fly everywhere. Bonus: do it on your sink. After finish, just open the faucet and the bits will be gone!

  • 3
    Or do it in the shower – haykam May 17 '16 at 2:04
  • 20
    open the faucet and the bits will be gone — and the drain blocked. – gerrit May 17 '16 at 14:59
  • 5
    @gerrit, how big are your nails?! :D – Rafa Borges May 17 '16 at 16:09
  • 2
    @RafaBorges I'm told I should cut my nails more frequently... – gerrit May 17 '16 at 16:33
  • 3
    Ain't no nail trimmings gonna clog your sink unless there's already hair blocking it, for them to catch on. – Mazura May 21 '16 at 21:28
12

I know that nail clipper manufacturers in Japan have tried to mitigate this problem with an addition to the nail clipper.

enter image description here

As you can see, they have included a plastic guard and sleeve on the sides of the clipper where the nails would usually fly out. The clippings are collected in the sleeve which can be removed. You can then dump the clippings out after your are done.

Here is a better image that shows the design.

enter image description here

If you combine this nail clipper with the plastic bag method, you'll be in business.

  • 1
    I can confirm this. I own one, and it works very well. – Nav May 18 '16 at 6:39
  • 1
    I have both of these, and the black ones in particular are amazing. – aaa May 18 '16 at 15:29
  • 1
    This works excellent. Have one myself. – Dale May 24 '16 at 18:10
7

Easier for toes than for fingers, but works for either: put a finger over the opening on each side of the clippers when you make the cut.

  • I tried this. It worked fairly well, but slowed me down a lot, because I had to be careful not to get my fingers between the blades, and required awkward positioning when cutting fingernails: 1 hand must both clip and cover clipper-openings. Some trimmings still fly out because I can't find finger positions that cover the entire length of the openings. – Anko May 16 '16 at 21:36
  • Thanks. I'm going to give this a try. I'm a little concerned about bloody fingers, but nothing risked, nothing gained. – RockPaperLizard May 16 '16 at 22:24
  • 1
    I meant to use the same hand that's being clipped to cover the openings. – R.. May 17 '16 at 1:47
  • If we're doing this, we may as well just wrap the clippers with tape or something, no? – Mathieu K. May 18 '16 at 6:58
  • 3
    I use this method, but only close one side, the other side is aimed toward the trash or a napkin which I can clean up after. – Adam Davis May 18 '16 at 15:13
7

Try changing how you hold your trimmers.

I grasp them in my palm like so.

enter image description here

Then I squeeze to trim

enter image description here enter image description here

Trimmings stay in the middle area.

You can then either continue holding the trimmers in this fashion until you find a garbage can or dump them into your palm for disposal later.

4

Start by clipping your nail halfway across. Then cover the clipped part of your nail with another finger or your thumb, and clip the other half of your nail. The nail clipping will remain pinned under your finger.

4

File the nails down rather than clipping them. Motorized foot files (like Amope's products, intended for removing calluses) do a good job, as does a rotary tool (e.g. Dremel) with an appropriate abrasive. This method allows for easy shaping of the nail and is also much easier than clipping if you have thick nails.

  • 1
    I have to ask... which Dremel abrasive do you recommend? – RockPaperLizard May 18 '16 at 8:21
  • @RockPaperLizard - I use a little bonded abrasive cylinder that came in a random brand "rotary tool accessory kit" (I think it was among the tools I inherited from my father). It's about 1/2" high, 1/4" diameter, but there aren't any markings anywhere on it or the case telling you the composition or grit. It's fairly fine though, so I'd say it's 400 grit or so. – Compro01 May 18 '16 at 21:02
  • Thanks Compro01! Does the top of it have abrasive as well? – RockPaperLizard May 18 '16 at 21:56
  • @RockPaperLizard - Yes. It's a solid cylinder of bonded abrasive stuck on a metal rod. It looks about like the 6mm one in this image, though the colour is a darkish orange rather than pink. – Compro01 May 18 '16 at 22:13
  • Or you know, a nail file? en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nail_file – Lyndon White May 20 '16 at 2:28
3

Don't need a lifehack actually, first one needs a good tool, this kind of tool is the best (it looks just like cutters for electrical wires, but small and with slightly bent blades):

enter image description here


  1. Try better to cut the nail precisely so that after each cut it is still there, in the end you just pull the whole thing with fingers. With such cutters it is fairly easy.
  2. Before cutting, put the fingers in hot water for 5 min, it will make them soft. Or cut the nails after bathing.
  3. Put the hand/foot against wall/box/whatever which will prevent it from flying too far. To find them it easier, do it on a dark surface.
  4. Easy one, but works only for handnails - put black pants on, or a tissue over the knees while sitting and keep fingers against the tissue while cutting.
3

Use nail clippers and trim your nails 98% of the way across. Once all the clipping is done use your opposite fingers to break little bits of attached nail and drop them in a bin somewhere.

2

What I do is clip just one small side of it without cutting it, then tear it away with my fingers. This avoids pieces flying away and you can just toss them to the trash or put them aside until you finish.

  • Sounds difficult to do, unless you're very good at making precise tears. Does this work reliably and neatly? – Mathieu K. May 18 '16 at 7:01
  • maybe because i have done it since i waqs a kid, my dad did it that way and it is way faster, not sure if im used to it or you may require practice, but usually it tears in the exact place. – arana May 19 '16 at 15:03
2

I've been using Stylfile for myself for a few months and for my kids for years (they've got a smaller version). It slices nails instead of clipping them and effectively stops the "ping" of nail clippings flying across the room.

http://stylfile.com/collections/mens

Picture of the stylfile with the slicing action.

  • Thanks Dave. Interesting. That looks like a product specifically designed for this issue. There are two products on that page. You are referring to the clippers, which are also on this page (stylfile.com/collections/mens/products/s-clipper-2), correct? – RockPaperLizard May 17 '16 at 22:03
  • Yes, I've got the big clipper (the one with the black top). As far as I know, it was designed with that exactly in mind. – This is the Dave I know May 17 '16 at 22:06
1

Clip your nails in the shower or bath.

Bonus: the nails flow down the drain so there's no cleanup required.

1

After shower so they are soft. And put your foot in a bucket / box ( lying on side) to collect any nail artillery.

1

with the clipper blades squeezed together, run a glob of silicone RTV sealant along the zone where the two blades come together. Let it dry for a day, then slit the glob into two halves with a razor so each blade has a strip of RTV stuck to it. If you now clip your toenails, the RTV will pinch and hold the nail trimming so it doesn't fly off into space.

0

In a sink of water. Finger goes into water, cut submerged nail. Water impedes motion of released nail much as it does any else trying to travel at speed through water.

protected by michaelpri May 18 '16 at 22:24

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