How can I reuse or recycle fingernail clippings?

fingernailsOk, this may be another one that will make some people squirm and go “ick! ick! just throw them away!!” but it’s Friday and I’m in a silly mood so hear me out:

We each have things that make us that bit different from the next person (not necessarily unique but a bit different) and one of those things for me is that I can … scratch my bum/thighs REALLY loudly. I don’t know why. I like to think of it as some genetic gift: some people are great artists or gymnasts, I’m good at scratching REALLY loudly. I suspect I just hold my hand in a certain way that amplifies the sound but my second special thing might contribute to it too: my fingernails grow pretty fast – I’m not a freak, just my nails seem to grow about 3mm a week, compared to the average 1-2mm. Loud scratching AND slightly faster than average nail growth! I’m like a super hero!

ANYWAY, what this means is that each week, I have a pile of nail clippings. Since I keep my fingernails polish-free, they can be composted (they take a while to breakdown though) but I was wondering if anyone had any other suggestions.

I suspect, if I harvested enough of them, I could use them as slug protection, like eggs shells around precious plants. Any other ideas? Silly, sensible, practical or creative – any ideas are welcome :)

(By the way, in case you were wondering, the “grow them 1cm/1inch long and sell them for money” idea that’s been floating around for years has been debunked as an urban myth. Shame.)

(Photo by Eastop)

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74 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle fingernail clippings?”

  1. Lupa says:

    They’re nicely compostable. Every bit of nutrition that goes back to the Earth counts. Hair, for the record, is also compostable, so keep that in mind when cleaning out your brush!

    • Lindy Loo says:

      I follow my grandmother’s example and throw the hair from my hairbrush out the window for birds to use in their nests :)

      • Mary Wilson says:

        Linda, I have never heard of your Grandmothers suggestion, but boy I think that is super, and since we all loose 100 strands or more a day, that’s sounds like quite alot for a little bird to aid in his nest building. I will do that daily, thanks.

      • My great grandmother told me when I was a kid NOT to throw your hair clippings outside because if birds use it to make their nest, then you will keep headaches… I am not sure how true this is but she was a superstitios old native American woman….so I heed this as true :-)

      • ich says:

        using hairs for birds nesting is very bad and wrong. The hatched baby birds can strangle themselves, i saw that to my hatched kanaries, the mother bird have picked up hairs from the floor

      • Anonymous says:

        Love it!!

    • Anonymous says:

      Sell them on e-bay what I read on the web,

  2. Wen Rou says:

    I would stick with composting, once on a craft site I saw a necklace made of fingernail clippings, and it was gross!

  3. Junk Jeweller says:

    From The Sydney Morning Herald, written by Richard Glover, Nov. 1 2008:
    “How far to take this urge to save? Over the years I have collected money-making tips so stingy that even I was embarrassed to bring them out into the full glare of daylight. There is, for example, the technique of taking one’s own toe-nails clippings and placing them in a twist of discarded pantyhose. Apparently it produces a very effective pot scourer.”

  4. Lizzy says:

    i would say compost them, the nutrients are good for the plants, or you could (if they were long enough) put them in the bottom of plant pots (just like some people use pebbles or bits of pottery) . when it was time to replant the plant somewhere bigger, it wouldn’t matter if they stayed with the plant because theyd decompose eventually and provide nutrients.

  5. TANIKA says:


    • KayTee says:

      I would like to sell my nails, so if you have any info please contact me and let me know.

    • Kimberlee Vanderburg says:

      Where did you sell them? My daughter is 13 and has the most beautiful, long, fast growing nails. Someone told her she could sell them. Again, where did you use to sell them?

  6. Kimberlee Vanderburg says:

    If anyone knows where to sell nails please let me know.

    • Anonymous says:

      I knew a girl in school and my mom tryed for me but she never sold it anyhow the girl sold her nails to Fort Detrick in Fredrick Maryland. This is not legend and can be done but Im having no luck with their web site if you have better luck help me out leave a reply

  7. Rob bateman says:

    My sister is researching Real fingernails for calcium development .. She may be interested in buying them ..

  8. Anonymous says:

    Fort Detrick Fredrick Maryland i know for a fact used to buy them but i cant find anything on line try their web site i cant

  9. Lizzy says:

    Clean and eat them.
    A nutritious snack.

    (sorry, just had to suggest that… [well why not?] )

  10. Shorty says:

    I scratch really loudly too. =P Maybe you could grind them in the blender to a powder, slather some glue on a piece of paper and use it like sandpaper? I don’t know, I have such strange ideas. =P I don’t see why you can’t sell your nails, maybe you can grow them incredibly long, carefully cut them off with scissors, and file down the edges to make them round and also make them flatter at the base like real nails. Maybe you could even paint them with spray primer to make them as strong as fake nails. This is all just brainstorming, mind you.

  11. Pamo says:

    Does anyone know where i can sell my fingernail clippings in Australia?

    • jay says:

      Pamo, i’m in Aus and have been looking to buy nail clippings. Please respond if you are interested.

      • heather says:

        my bf has the most beautiful nails and we had a contest to see whose would grow the fastest. well… he won and now has these beautiful long nails with nothing to do with them. I started looing for someone to sale them to. anybody know anyone??? contact me….

      • patricia allen says:

        Hi,i have long nails and someone told me i can sell them online so yes contact me and lets see what we can do ok thanks.

      • Maggy says:

        I have good strong fingernails that I would like to sell. Please contact me with details, if you REALLY do pay for them.

        Thank you

  12. Miranda says:

    You guys can sell them to people with fetishes on sites like ebanned. Seriously. You have to post pictures of them on your hand still, post a pic of you with nail clippers, then post another picture of them off… and people will bid on them.
    Same with fake nails you’ve peeled off… same with the shavings from your ped-egg thing…

  13. jay says:

    I need to collect fingernail clippings for research in Australia. Will pay very good money for nails, especially for long sets of nails.

    Please contact

  14. carly says:

    i have been blessed with natural fast growing natural nails that are STRONG. i have to use a TOENAIL clipper to cut them as a regular nail clipper will not due. i have pics.

  15. Thorsten says:

    anyone like to sell their clipped natural fingernails? We would buy all sizes from 2cm or longer …

    Looking forward to hear from you!

  16. rol says:

    put them in disinfectant bottle.

  17. anon1 says:

    Anyone selling fingernail clippings
    please leave an email address so i can contact u :)

    • a9101 says:

      why would you wanna sell/ buy fingernail clippings??! sorry, but thats kinda… disgusting!! if you want finger nail clippings use your own…

    • Mary Wilson says:

      hi, my name is Mary Wilson, and several years ago, when I lived in Connecticut, I did sell my nails. I was spotted at a craft sale by a gentleman who inquired if my nails were real. I replied “yes”. Anyway, I now live in North Carolina, and have been wondering if people still buy them. I have a small jewelry box loaded with them,and at the present time the nails on my hands are longer than I ever sold before. I was told at that time , that the nails are used to do experiments on ie/ nail polish durability etc. If this is the type of info you need you can contact me at Thank you

    • Lisa says:

      Hi, are you still interested in buying nail clippings?

  18. jentashi says:

    They will compost eventually.

  19. maria says:

    If someone wants to buy/sell nail clippings then let them .. why do people try to tell others what to do … !!

  20. quita says:

    I have very Long nails and I’m looking to sell please email me!!
    Yes they r natural!

  21. josephine says:

    quita … Why don’t u leave an email so someone can contact you ?

  22. Sara says:

    Who is buying nails? I am interested in selling.

  23. LoonBug says:

    I’m thinking about selling my nails– how much do they go for? Right now they’re at 1 cm, and should be at a half inch in another week. I think a saved some that were much longer, but I’ll have to find them.

  24. Robina says:

    Anyone wishing to sell please email me (

  25. Nail Clipping Muncher says:

    They make a nourishing snack for children, I always put a handful in the lunchboxes :) nom nom

  26. cruz1352c/s says:

    i’m interested in human fingernails. i’ve a money making idea on recycling for profit…

  27. Christian says:

    Im selling my quarter inch long nails (left and right)
    Anyone interested ? Just email me. Im from Philippines

  28. Michael D Fetterman says:

    I’ve been trying to devise a way to take waste hair clippings from dog groomers, nail clippings and such and molding it into a 3-4 kg rhino horn and flood the chinese market with fakes and ease poaching in Africa. Anyone wanna help me figure out how to do this and make millions?

  29. Connie Groshans says:

    Hi I’m interested in selling my finger nailing interested email me thanks

  30. anon says:

    Hi Connie
    please leave your email so i can buy them from you

  31. Robina says:

    Hi Lisa ,,
    yes .. still interested

  32. Robina says:

    Hi Lisa email as requested

  33. Robina says:


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