how and where do you cut your toenails?
October 22, 2017 8:21 PM   Subscribe

I sat on the bathroom floor with my foot hovering over the trashcan to catch my toenail clippings this morning and realized that you all probably have better ways of clipping your toenails without vacuuming afterwards.

My partner clips his toenails anywhere he wants to, over a paper towel, but that doesn't actually keep toenail clippings off the floor. When I had a yard, I would just sit on the back steps, but I'm three floors up in a sometimes-cold climate now. How do you do it, especially if you have limited mobility and the trash can hover isn't practical?
posted by a moisturizing whip to Health & Fitness (50 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I do them carefully over paper towels or toilet paper and then count them at the end to make sure none are on the floor. If I'm just trimming one or two, I do it over the toilet.
posted by I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! at 8:23 PM on October 22, 2017 [2 favorites]

I put sticky tape along the sides of my nail trimmer, and that catches the clippings. Then just pull the tape off and chuck it in the trash can, clippings and all.
posted by anadem at 8:25 PM on October 22, 2017 [5 favorites]

In the bathroom.

Buy a pair of toenail clippers with a catcher. They can be purchased for less than $5. No flying toenail debris. Just empty the catcher part when done.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 8:26 PM on October 22, 2017 [4 favorites]

I prop my foot on the edge of the bath and then swish them down the drain with a bit of water. I also clip my daughter's fingernails straight into the bathroom sink. You could do it sitting in the empty bath if that's easier.
posted by Youremyworld at 8:27 PM on October 22, 2017 [2 favorites]

Toilet seat, so the clippings fall in the toilet. I use nail scissors which lead to nail clippings just falling down, as opposed to flying through the air...
posted by The Toad at 8:32 PM on October 22, 2017 [11 favorites]

Over the toilet, after a shower. When they're softened by water, they cut more easily and don't go flying everywhere.
posted by notquitemaryann at 8:41 PM on October 22, 2017 [11 favorites]

I do it wherever, over a tissue or paper towel. I do use small baby nail clippers, which work for me but I think are a little less strong than regular nail clippers and less likely to send pieces flying. If that does happen, I generally collect them and dispose of them with the rest of the clippings.
posted by MadamM at 8:52 PM on October 22, 2017

In the shower before I pumice brick with charcoal foot scrub. I am big on foot maintenance.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 9:00 PM on October 22, 2017

Omg we just had a fight about this! I do them over the toilet and my husband was doing them on the couch in our carpeted living room! I lost my mind, I'm so glad you asked this because I almost did!
posted by masquesoporfavor at 9:07 PM on October 22, 2017 [6 favorites]

I usually do them in the bathtub. I'll sit on the edge with my feet inside and cut them. In the summer I might do them in the backyard as well.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 9:21 PM on October 22, 2017 [1 favorite]

I avoid this problem by just fileing my toenails each week.
posted by gatorae at 9:28 PM on October 22, 2017

I put my foot, angled slightly downwards, toes-first inside of a small, empty, liner-less trashcan. Seems to work OK.
posted by Temeraria at 9:29 PM on October 22, 2017 [1 favorite]

Best answer: In our household, the clipper type with the cover or catcher was the standard. I never understood how loose clippings were a "thing that happens" until I moved in with roommates in college (who became instant converts to the catcher-type clipper).

Come on, people! Technology has already figured this out! :)
posted by Sockin'inthefreeworld at 10:16 PM on October 22, 2017

I've never even seen a catcher-type, and I always use Revlon super-cutters over the toilet.
posted by rhizome at 10:29 PM on October 22, 2017

We do them on a lawn chair in the back yard.
posted by Lyn Never at 10:34 PM on October 22, 2017 [8 favorites]

Do you have to clip? Filing is easier and better for your nail. Get a glass file. Only file in one direction on each nail (don't saw back and forth.)

Otherwise I tend to do mine after a shower so they are soft and don't fly everywhere. Over a bathtub is easy to pick them up from too.
posted by Crystalinne at 11:02 PM on October 22, 2017

For the curious, this is what a clipper with a cover or catcher looks like: link to image search results
(In case the link doesn't work: You can also search for "clipper cover" on Amazon etc. The cover type is more standard in Japan, so Muji and other Japanese stores carry them. )

The cover keeps the clippings contained in the space between the clipper parts. When you're done clipping, you tilt and hold the clipper open above a trash can to empty the clipper.
posted by Sockin'inthefreeworld at 11:07 PM on October 22, 2017 [1 favorite]

I "discovered" a system that works well: I insert my foot slightly into a grocery bag and do my clipping business in there. Having that plastic protection all around makes me feel safe that no nail will fall / fly off / get lost.

When I'm done, I tie the bag and put it in the trash.
posted by vert canard at 11:11 PM on October 22, 2017 [3 favorites]

Ah yes, I have seen the catcher-style before, but I don't prefer the end-cutter style.
posted by rhizome at 11:28 PM on October 22, 2017

I use the plastic grocery bag that acts as the liner for the bathroom trash can.
posted by sciencegeek at 2:52 AM on October 23, 2017

I usually trim my toenails on the living room carpet, but I also bite them off so each toenail doesn't go flying all over the place. Just a little nick at the corner and then peel across the line. What kind of talons do you people have that require the use of what look to be essentially a pair of smallish tin snips to trim your toenails. If my feet are dirtyish I just nick the corner with some small clippers and then peel across again.
posted by koolkat at 3:09 AM on October 23, 2017

I always cut mine in bed. That way, I always end up finding all the little pieces. Inevitably at 2 in the morning when I've just rolled over, but hey, it works! (I wish I wasn't serious...)
posted by hasna at 4:20 AM on October 23, 2017 [1 favorite]

I do mine outside. They disappear into the grass and presumably biodegrade eventually.
posted by Slinga at 4:37 AM on October 23, 2017 [2 favorites]

In the bath, underwater.
posted by InkaLomax at 5:08 AM on October 23, 2017

If I am lazy I put my foot on the edge of the bathtub and bend over, but mostly I put my foot on the edge of the bathroom sink and then wash the clippings down the drain. This probably only works if you are tall.

Outdoors is the nicest, but that only works in warmer months.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:43 AM on October 23, 2017

Toenails are softest and easiest to cut right after a shower, so the clippings are less likely to go flying everywhere. I prop my foot on top of the toilet lid and cut them there, then brush all the clippings into my hand for transit to the trash can. Easy peasy.
posted by DrGail at 5:56 AM on October 23, 2017 [1 favorite]

I put my foot on the toilet seat and clip them into the bowl with a toenail clipper. This is the only civilized way.
posted by bondcliff at 6:44 AM on October 23, 2017

I'm in Foot on Toilet Seat club.

It's not a great club, but it's better than Toenail Debris Club.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 6:59 AM on October 23, 2017 [4 favorites]

I clip my finger and toenails outside (mostly because Ms. nobeagle *hates*/ is disguested by the sound of nail clippers, partly for cleanup issues). Yeah, there's some cold times in Canadian winter, but nothing that can't be handled for the short time to clip one's nails.

So long as no one's underneath you at the time and likely to be bothered by sharpnel doing this from a balcony should be fine (if it's solid with no bars/gating, just clip your nails before you'd sweep the area anyways).
posted by nobeagle at 7:15 AM on October 23, 2017

I do like Lyn Never and just clip my toenails outside, usually in the back yard so I don't get busted by door to door salespeople.
posted by ernielundquist at 7:15 AM on October 23, 2017

Never clip my nails.
Obviated by pedicures on a regular basis.
posted by scorpia22 at 7:24 AM on October 23, 2017 [3 favorites]

Yesterday I just did them on the wood floor of my room. Seamless floor. Swept the clippings together, sprayed them with cleaner, and wiped them up with a paper towel.

I wouldn't want to put my feet on the toilet. I've never heard of doing them that way before this thread.
posted by Crystal Fox at 8:41 AM on October 23, 2017 [1 favorite]

fascinating. I wouldn't assume clippings would do all that well in the p trap (?) of the shower drain.

I put my foot up on the bathroom counter, with my other hand cupped around to catch anything flying. Gather up all clippings by brushing them off counter into my hand and deposit in bathroom trash.
posted by fingersandtoes at 8:57 AM on October 23, 2017

I am learning, every day and in every way from MeFi, that I was raised by wolves. I mean, I kind of knew it already, but this thread totally validates it. I'm embarrassed now about my clipping practices.
posted by Sophie1 at 9:28 AM on October 23, 2017 [9 favorites]

On the toilet as above.

Because the only way to prevent them from being used in voodoo rituals is to dispose in running water.
posted by bonehead at 10:10 AM on October 23, 2017 [5 favorites]

Foot propped on toilet seat if it's cold outside. Back step from the deck into my backyard if it's summer (because usually I'm going to do polish after and I don't want to stink up the bathroom, they just compost in the yard).
posted by rabbitrabbit at 11:20 AM on October 23, 2017

Outside. Justification = critter food, biodegradable, etc.

It's verrrrry satisfying not having to concern myself with where the clippings fly.
posted by eggman at 11:51 AM on October 23, 2017

I sit at my desk. They don't go flying because I don't clip across the entire nail in one go, and if one falls on the floor I just pick it up and throw it away? It would be even worse in the bathroom since it's all white in there...
posted by taskmaster at 2:28 PM on October 23, 2017 [1 favorite]

(oh god please tell me your desk inside of your house and not at work)
posted by I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! at 3:27 PM on October 23, 2017 [7 favorites]

This thread is amazing. It never dawned on me that there could be so many different methods. Especially because the One True Way is on the toilet seat--on Cleaning Day, so that you can vacuum up any clippings that fly astray.
posted by TwoStride at 3:39 PM on October 23, 2017

Really? I have to add a Bathroom - Other section now? Bunch of weirdoes.

There are already categories for Shower, Sink, or Toilet, but this is more all of the above.
posted by zamboni at 1:37 PM on October 24, 2017 [1 favorite]

I clip toenails over a trashcan and pick up or vacuum any clippings that don't make it there. Thinking I might change that to post-shower after this thread.

I have a fingernail clipper with a catcher and haven't been super impressed by its ability to contain clippings. Better than without, I suppose.
posted by Aleyn at 6:38 PM on October 24, 2017

Front stoop, then sweep. Anything else(unless you're in an apartment--can't help you there) is uncivilized. Ew.
posted by nenequesadilla at 6:40 PM on October 24, 2017

Close toilet, foot on lid, clip, collect clippings and throw away.

Stops the clipper from being dropped into the toilet on accident. No cover on clipper, but I can cup it in my hands to block flying nails.

I’m not the type of person to be disgusted by a bit of keratin that until 30 seconds ago was stuck to my foot. I mean, if feet disgust you to begin with I can understand, but there are FAR WORSE things that come off of/out of our bodies than nails. My only real concern with nail clippings is that stepping on one, on a hard tile floor, can hurt.

When clipping kid’s toes - this is done wherever and whenever I can get the squirrely little tadpole to sit still long enough that I can get it done. Somehow, for the last 8 years, this has been my job rather than my wife’s.
posted by caution live frogs at 5:33 AM on October 27, 2017

(oh god please tell me your desk inside of your house and not at work)
posted by I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! at 3:27 PM on October 23

One time there was a guy on my BART commute who was clipping his nails, right there in the train car full of passengers. It was unsettling--not just the thought of his nail clippings flying loose and lodging in the carpet and seats but the SOUND. That creaky, arrhythmic, oddly piercing snap. Also: he took his shoes and socks off on public transport?!
The amount of side-eye from fellow passengers suggested that I wasn't the only one who found it ugh.
posted by Sockin'inthefreeworld at 10:48 AM on October 27, 2017

I don't get down there too often, but when I do, it's either outside or in my recliner. The clippings are big enough that they're easy to find and clean up.

My father, in the last two years of his life, would wait until a nail snagged on a sock or on a bed sheet, then he'd grab the offending nail with pliers and rip it off. Yeah, he frequently bled a bit.

I've offered the pliers to my nephews. They're nice pliers.
posted by yesster at 9:44 PM on October 27, 2017

my husband was doing them on the couch in our carpeted living room!

Completely not ok unless he is also a cat.
posted by sebastienbailard at 3:41 AM on October 30, 2017 [1 favorite]

In the bedroom, thrice monthly, the butler cleaves all ten after delivering my morning tea and breakfast. One does not know where the clippings end up as one is browsing the newspaper during this specific procedure. One shall enquire.
posted by Wordshore at 11:52 AM on October 31, 2017 [1 favorite]

Sitting on the well-lit chair by the window that is also used for reading. Clippings vanish somewhere into the carpet and/or the To-Read pile.

Or with my foot up on the bathroom sink if I am specifically dealing with one single nail that has grown too long; the scissors I use for these sorts of cutting duties all live in the bathroom.

Also I suggest everyone contemplate this old Don Martin comic on the subject.
posted by egypturnash at 4:01 PM on November 1, 2017

I'm surprised we haven't heard from anyone who has this done by the podiatrist. I had it done there once and they told me they schedule all their diabetics to come in every 8 weeks for it. They clipped mine off round, not square like I had always been told was safer, and much shorter than I ever can get them. Then they used a dremel to file them.

I am tempted to go back and make this a regular thing. I am increasingly nervous about my own abilities in this area, and about the condition of my feet.
posted by elizilla at 3:31 PM on November 8, 2017

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