Why You Should Never Share Nail Clippers

Sharing certain everyday items with a friend, roommate, or partner may seem harmless enough, but science tells us that nail clippers should not be one of these items. We already know that germ-swapping can occur when sharing personal grooming items such as makeup brushes or shower loofahs. Believe it or not, nail clippers can do the same.

"If you have any type of fungal infections or warts, you can spread them between one another," dermatologist Dr. Mona Gohara tells Good Housekeeping. This can also include athlete's foot, according to experts at St. Augustine Foot, Ankle, and Vein. Fungal infections may cause the infected nail — or multiple nails — to become thick, brittle, and turn yellow or white in color. But fungal infections aren't the only risk we face when passing around our nail clippers. If you were to accidentally nick your skin, you pave the way for blood-borne pathogens to enter the body, which can lead to infections such as hepatitis C, notes MDLinx.

Consider forgoing the nail clipping at salons

In addition to hepatitis C, a 2006 study published in Emerging Infectious Diseases found that poor hygiene practices, including the sharing of nail clippers, was linked with staph infection outbreaks amongst incarcerated individuals in a Missouri-based facility. As a bacterial infection, staphylococcus bacteria often cause mild skin infections. However, it can be fatal if it contaminates the heart, lungs, bloodstream, or other areas of the body, reports the Mayo Clinic.

For this reason, it's best to err on the side of caution and keep your nail clippers to yourself. This same caution should be exercised when visiting nail salons as well in order to prevent the transfer of germs between yourself, as well as to others. For example, the Association for Professionals In Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) suggests steering clear of nail salons if you currently have any open cuts, injuries, bug bites, scabs, or poison ivy. Additionally, refrain from shaving before getting your toenails painted, as small nicks and cuts can leave you more prone to infection. Lastly, opt to forgo the cuticle pushing or nail clipping portion of your salon visit in order to minimize your chances for bacterial, fungal, or viral contamination.