Clean summer toenails with a toothbrush

Susan’s colorful story about how to clean those summertime toes illustrates the importance of “The Spin” with reluctant kids:

My 3-year-old daughter inherited my family’s World Famous Wonky Toenails, which means that even diligent clipping doesn’t eliminate all those deep deep little crooks and crannies where summertime dirt holes up against the evils of soap and water. She hates (understandably) having anything run beneath her nails to clean out the dirt. Even the bristles on nail brushes are too stiff and are so easy to poke into the quick.

In desperation the other day, I grabbed one of the toothbrushes we keep in the bathroom for guests – the cheap soft/medium bristled toothbrushes we get for free from dental checkups. While she was in the bath, I made a big to-do out of putting soap on the toothbrush (calling it a “Totally Tubular Toe Brush”) like toothpaste. She stuck a foot up for me, and away I scrubbed. Before I knew it, not only were the toenails finally clean, but she was asking to do it herself!

When all was scrubbed, the Totally Tubular Toe Brush went up on the special bath shelf where we also keep the color tabs for the water and all her shampoo and bath soaps. Risk of confusion with the toothbrush? Sure. But we brush teeth after bathtime, so while she was working on toothpasting her toothbrush, we talked about the difference between the tooth and toe brushes. She may still try to put soap on her toothbrush, but knowing from personal experience how soap tastes? I don’t see it being a problem beyond the first taste.

Related: Zinc oxide “highlights” where to trim tiny fingernails


  1. Pamela says

    Neat tip. Perhaps writing “toebrush” or “toes only” on the toothbrush with a Sharpie would prevent confusion with the other toothbrushes.

  2. says

    Awesome!!! Love it. I’m definitely trying that one. I’ve always just left them to soak in the tub, but sometimes the soak just isn’t long enough, and there isn’t enough nail to trim away the dirt, etc. etc. I bet my kids would get a kick out of a toe nail brush.

  3. Kimberly says

    Wow! How ironic. I had this same issue tonight while bathing my son. Will give the toothbrush a try. Thx for the helpful hint.