Who doesn’t love to be pampered with a mani-pedi? Not only  is it a relaxing and soothing experience, but it is also a way to ensure hygiene. Neglecting your nails will only increase your risk of bacterial infections. But don’t worry, making sure your nails are always clean and healthy is not that difficult. Here are eight easy ways you can do this:

1. Keep Your Nails Dry: Microorganisms often hide in your nails and they have a higher chance of survival in damp areas. So, make sure you wipe your nails to control bacteria.

2. Trim Your Nails: The ideal nail length falls between 1mm and 2mm. Make sure to size them down once a week so that they remain strong; you could use a nail cutter, or simply file them.

3. Sterilize Your Cutter: Viruses and bacteria can hibernate and grow in your nail cutters, too—so don’t share any of your grooming tools. It is also important to sterilize these tools after you have used them to prevent build-up of microorganisms. To sterilize your nail cutters, immerse them in alcohol for 10 minutes and then dry with a hair dryer.

4. Brush Your Nails: Maintain clean nails with a nail scrubber instead of a manicure set. The scrubber will reach the depths between the nail and the nail bed and will get rid of the hidden germs.

5. Moisturize: Use a hand cream or moisturizing lotion loaded with vitamin E (such as Neutrogena or Caudalie) to keep the nails and cuticles strong.

6. Do Not Cut Cuticles: They protect your nails from infections, so don’t cut cuticles unless they are causing you discomfort.

7. Do Not Bite Your Nails: This childhood habit can leave your nails vulnerable to chipping, lead to uneven growth, an increase chances of you ingesting infectious microbes.

8. Wear Gloves: If you do the dishes daily, your nails may have weakened due to repeated exposure to hot and soapy water. To avoid this, wear rubber gloves while scrubbing.

With the ultimate hand guide for strong, clean and healthy nails, you can now give yourself a mani-pedi at home.