When you visit a nail salon, a professional nail technician will typically clean your hands and nails prior to applying nail polish. Weekly professional manicures are a luxury to most college students. Fortunately, you can clean your nails yourself just as effectively as a professional.

Step 1

Wash your hands with warm running water and antibacterial soap, taking special care to scrub all parts of your hands. Use a soft-bristled nail brush to clean underneath your nails, then dry your hands completely with a clean towel or paper towel.

Step 2

Cover your workstation with an old towel or disposable mat.

Step 3

Remove any old nail polish from your nails with a cotton ball dipped in nail polish remover.

Step 4

Carefully trim or shape your nails with a nail cutter or file your nails with an emery board, if desired. Shortening your nails will make them easier to keep clean as they attract less dirt and debris.

Step 5

Apply cuticle cream to your cuticles on each of your nails, using a circular massaging motion.

Step 6

Fill a small bowl with warm water and let your fingers soak for three minutes. Do not soak your fingers for any longer, as the water will saturate your nail beds causing them to swell.

Step 7

Gently push your cuticles back with an orange wood stick -- an inexpensive nail tool made out of pliable orange wood -- which can be purchased at most drug stores or beauty supply stores.

Step 8

Use the pointed end of the orange stick to gently clean under the free edge of the nail to finish this professional nail-cleaning treatment.