Why Does it Smell When I Cut My Toenails? (We Have the Answer!) 

why does it smell when I cut my toenails

Having smelly toenails is something most people have experienced many times in their lives. It is a very common occurrence and can be caused due to a number of reasons. Identifying what is causing your toenails to smell is important when looking for a solution.

So why do toenails smell when you cut them? There can be several reasons behind this, such as bad toenail hygiene, fungal or bacterial infection, and wearing dirty shoes and socks. 

Read on to discover more about why your toenails smell when you cut them and find out solutions for eliminating toenail odor. Happy reading!

Why Does it Smell When I Cut my Toenails?

There can be a number of reasons behind why your toenails smell when you cut them, from bad toenail hygiene to a fungal infection. Whatever the reason behind the smell, you need to identify the problem correctly and treat it accordingly. Here are some common reasons behind smelly toenails:

  1. Poor toenail hygiene. Poor toenail hygiene is one of the most common reasons behind smelly toenails. If you grow out your toenails too long and don’t trim them regularly, dirt and grime can accumulate under them and give off a bad odor.
  2. A fungal infection. A fungal infection can be identified if a yellow/brown spot appears under your toenail. The nail can get discolored and may thicken. Fungal infections can be treated with over-the-counter medicines.
  3. Wearing dirty and smell shoes or socks. If you wear your socks and shoes repeatedly without washing them, you can easily develop a bad smell in your toenails. In fact, unclean socks and shoes can make your whole foot give off a bad odor.

How Do you Get Rid of Smelly Toenails?

Once you have identified the problem behind your toenails smelling when you cut them, there are several ways you can treat it, depending on the nature of the problem. Here are some tips for getting rid of smelly toenails and maintaining good nail hygiene.

  • Cut and trim your toenails regularly. Don’t grow them out and frequently wash your feet. Avoid cutting your nails too short since it can lead to ingrown toenails.
  • In case you develop a fungal infection, head over to your nearest drug store and get over-the-counter medicines to help get rid of the infection. In case the infection is severe, get help from a medical professional as soon as you can.
  • Keep your shoes clean and wash them frequently. You can also use antiperspirant in your shoes to help fight bad odors. 
  • Don’t wear a pair of socks more than once in most cases. Make sure you wash your socks after wearing them.

If you want to find out more information and tips about caring for your toenails and getting rid of toenail odor, check out this excellent guide.

What is The White Stuff Under my Toenails That Smells?

If you notice white, chalky stuff under your toenails, there’s no need to be worried. The white substance is actually nail keratin. Keratin is a protein that is essential for nail growth and development. If there’s a build-up of nail keratin under your toenails, there’s no need to worry since it doesn’t signal a medical problem.

Nail keratin can accumulate under your toenails if there is excess production of keratin by your body. The white stuff can also be thought of as a build-up of dead skin cells under your toenails.

Here are a few ways you can get avoid the white keratin build-up under your toenails and the smell:

  • Rinse your feet daily in warm water which contains some Epsom salt.
  • Trim your toenails regularly and avoid growing them out.
  • Apply moisturizing cream or petroleum jelly for pain relief near your toenails.
  • Try wearing socks to prevent keratin from further building up.

Check out this guide to find out more about the build-up of keratin debris under your toenails.

Are Toenails Supposed to Smell?

Is it normal for toenails to smell? Or do they only smell if there’s a certain problem (like a fungal infection)? The answer is yes, toenails do in fact smell and that doesn’t always indicate a problem or medical condition.

Poor hygiene practices are perhaps the most common reason why toenails smell. These include not cutting or trimming your toenails, not washing your feet regularly, wearing dirty socks or shoes, and not cleaning under the toenails. If such practices are not rectified and continue over a long period, then it is very likely fungal or bacterial infections can develop under your toenails.

But what exactly causes our toenails to smell? When your feet get sweaty from wearing shoes and socks all day, the conditions under your toenails and on the rest of your foot are perfect for bacterial growth. So when these bacteria grow and thrive, they emit the bad odor all of us are familiar with.

Toenail odor can be easily treated and prevented by good hygiene practices such as washing your feet regularly and trimming your toenails.

Do Ingrown Toenails Smell?

Ingrown toenails can often be painful and in some cases, they can even emit a foul odor. An ingrown toenail is commonly caused by cutting the nail too short. This results in the nail bending downward and digging into the skin. Due to this, the skin can become irritated and can cause pain.

If the ingrown toenail curves downwards and pierces the skin, it can lead to an infection. In certain cases, the ingrown toenail can cause drainage and also give off a bad odor. Once the ingrown toenail is treated properly and the infection is gone, the odor will also disappear.

Final thoughts

In a nutshell, there can be a plethora of reasons behind your toenails giving off a bad odor when you cut them. These include bad hygiene and fungal infections. However, once you have identified the reason behind the odor, the treatment is easy and can be done at home. Practicing the basic principles of good nail hygiene can easily eliminate toenail odor in most cases.

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