Discovering a greenie nail can be a nail technician’s worst nightmare. It’s a frustrating situation that demands immediate attention to prevent further damage. Let’s delve into the world of greenie nails, understand their causes, and learn how to effectively deal with them. It is advisable to first understand what you are dealing with before trying to deal with a greenie nail. 

What is a greenie?

Greenies are bacterial infections. Many technicians incorrectly suggest that the issue is fungal or mold-related. Mould does not grow on the human body, but fungal diseases appear yellow or whitish.

Discoloration caused by Pseudomonas bacteria might appear within 3 days. It’s important to remove enough product during maintenance appointments to regularly assess the health of natural nails.

What Causes It?

  • Bacterial Invasion: Greenie nails, characterised by a greenish discoloration, is caused by bacteria called Pseudomonas trapped between the natural nail and any nail enhancement.
  • Contributing Factors: Various factors contribute to the development of greenie nails, including improper nail cleaning practices. When debris or bacteria are not thoroughly removed from the nail bed, it creates an environment conducive to bacterial growth.
  • Nail Lifting: Another common cause is nail lifting, where the enhancement separates from the natural nail. This creates a gap where bacteria can enter and thrive, leading to a greenie nail infection.
  • Everyday Activities: Everyday activities such as washing dishes, showering, or gardening can also contribute to greenie nails. These activities increase the likelihood of bacteria coming into contact with the nails, especially if proper precautions like wearing gloves are not taken.

Even in nail and hair salon Edgware, where hygiene standards are typically high, greenie nails can occur if proper precautions aren’t taken. It underscores the importance of meticulous hygiene practices to prevent bacterial infections.

Why Is It Green? 

The discoloration we perceive quickly changes from filthy yellow to green. The bacteria produce excrement, which causes the green stain. Over time (a short time), the waste accumulates in the available space, making the hue appear more intense. If left alone, the bacteria will weaken, thin, and harm the normal nail plate as it feeds and reproduces.

What Do I Do?

  • Well, now that it’s happened, you should remove the nail enhancement coating as quickly as possible. The discoloration will become darker if the enhancement is not removed from the natural nail. The longer it is left, the more damage the germs will do.
  • If a client notices the discoloration early, request that they return as soon as possible. The bacterial infection causes a yellow stain to grow green and deeper over time. The sooner you discover and remove the product, the better.
  • A bacterial infection of this type flourishes in a ‘anaerobic’ environment. This implies it thrives in an oxygen-free environment, rather than requiring it to survive. A contaminated nail plate with trapped bacteria creates an ideal breeding environment for bacteria.
  • Removing the nail enhancement can efficiently eliminate bacteria when exposed to oxygen in the air.

Here’s How to Deal with It Safely…

  • The difficulty with bacterial infections is that they are easily transmitted. Improper removal can spread infection to other clients and their nails.
  • Insurance companies recommend removing the enhancement and leaving the nail bare until the discoloration has cleared.
  • After removing the enhancer and exposing the bacteria to oxygen, the stain will remain. It will need to develop in the next weeks. We understand that clients do not want to leave with unfinished nails or a green tint on them. If you recover a nail and the infection re-generates, your insurance will not pay it, even if they sign the necessary paperwork. If this occurs, the client is likely to have additional feedback.

Be clean!

  • To ensure safety, it’s important to sanitise and dispose of instruments properly. Clean and disinfect thoroughly.
  • Start by sanitising your clients’ hands with warm soapy water. Gel hand sanitisers are very effective. 
  • Take out your oldest 100-grit nail file or a drill bit that you don’t want to use for the remainder of the day if you are doing maintenance. File the impacted nail enhancement (following the product applied to the nail) and then proceed to soak out the remaining substance as normal. (If the product is a soak-off type, such as L&P or builder in a bottle.) Use a disposable wooden orangewood stick to carefully remove the product from the natural nail. Continue doing this until there are no more enhancing products present. 
  • While the product is soaking, discard the file used on the diseased nail. Place the used drill bit in the sterilised at the end of the day jar. Then check to see whether you used any other tools to remove the nail. 
  • Do not use the files and tools on that client or anybody else until the files and tools have been thoroughly sterilised. This is crucial to make sure you don’t contaminate other people’s nails or those of other clients.
  • After that, use new tools and files to keep the remaining nails in good condition. 
nail salon Edgware
Image Sources: Touch and Glow Beauty Clinic Ltd

How to advise the client

The client may be upset if they have a green stain on their nail, resulting in one less enhancement and the need to disguise it.

You cannot replace the enhancement until the stain has grown out, even though you have treated the nail correctly in accordance with your professional tutoring and insurance requirements. Remain strongly suggests that you could make matters worse if you consent to work on the nail.  

If they choose to work with another tech, they are free to do so. You will be available to assist them in the future if they require additional advise.

Aftercare advice you can give

  • Avoid Covering with Polish or Plaster: Covering a greenie nail with polish or plaster may seem like a quick fix, but it can actually worsen the situation. These coverings create an anaerobic environment in which bacteria thrive, potentially reactivating the infection. Keeping the nail bare allows it to receive oxygen, which is essential for inhibiting bacterial growth.
  • Alternative Cleaning Methods: Some clients may opt for home remedies like vinegar or lemon juice to clean the nail and lighten the stain. While these methods won’t harm the nail, it’s essential to avoid covering the nail afterward. Using everyday kitchen ingredients for cleaning is acceptable as long as they don’t create an environment conducive to bacterial growth.
  • No Need for Medical Intervention: Greenie nails are bacterial infections, not fungal, so over-the-counter remedies won’t be effective. There’s no need to consult a GP unless there are complications. Removing the coating trapping the bacteria is sufficient, and the stain will naturally grow out over time.
  • Patience is Key: Allow the stain to grow out over a few weeks until it reaches the free edge of the nail. Once it does, you can safely cut the stained portion using sterilised nail clippers. Afterward, continue with your usual nail service, ensuring proper sterilisation of tools to prevent contamination.

By following these steps and ensuring proper hygiene practices, nail technicians can effectively manage greenie nails and maintain the health and safety of their clients. Trust our nail salon Edgware, Touch and Glow Beauty Clinic Ltd, to provide expert guidance and care for all your nail needs.


Dealing with a greenie nail requires prompt action and careful attention to detail. By understanding the causes and following proper removal protocols, technicians can effectively manage this bacterial infection. Remember, patience is key as the stain grows out over time. At Touch and Glow Beauty Clinic Ltd, we prioritise nail health and safety, offering expert guidance to both technicians and clients. Trust us to help you navigate the challenges of greenie nails with professionalism and care.