Long Fingernails... & Harmful Bacteria!

Islam encourages healthy behaviors in all its teachings; whether we realize it or not, every instruction of our beloved Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) guides towards a healthy well-being – and the following narration about the basic personal hygiene is yet another proof of that.

Anas (radhi allahu anhu) narrates, “The Messenger of Allah set a time limit for us to cut our moustaches, to cut our nails, to pluck our armpit hairs and to shave our pubic hairs; we were not to leave it any longer than forty days.” [Musnad Ahmad, Muslim and al-Nisaa’i; this version narrated by Ahmad]


Scholars of al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah elaborated,

“Whoever does not cut his nails is going against the fitrah. The reason behind this is cleanliness and hygiene, because dirt can gather under the nails.” [Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah, 5/173]


In a study released at the Infectious Disease Society of America meeting in San Francisco, researchers found that artificial and natural nails longer than 3 millimeters beyond the tip of the finger, or the length of a pencil tip, carry more harmful bacteria and yeast under them than short nails – abcnews

Dr. Carol A. Kauffman, co-author of the study and professor of internal medicine at the University of Michigan, says that most people do not wash their hands well enough to get rid of all of the germs.

“It is recommended that people spend 15 seconds washing their hands, and most people don’t spend even half that time,” Kauffman says.

A number of deadly, infectious outbreaks in neonatal intensive care units that were linked to long nails prompted the research.

The fingernails of 18 health-care workers were tested. Results showed that all of the workers with long nails harbored bacteria and yeast compared to 18 of those with short nails.

Two germs found under many of the workers nails were;

  • Klebsiella, a bacteria that can cause pneumonia and urinary tract infections, 
  • Candida parapsilosis, a yeast that can cause wound and blood stream infections.

“If problems can occur in the health care industry, it makes you think about what can happen elsewhere.” says Dr. Carol A. Kauffman,.

Kauffman suggests that people be extra attentive to their nails when washing and get underneath them to make sure that they are clean. However, even thorough hand washing is not 100 percent effective in ridding the nails of germs.

“The best solution is to simply keep nails short,” Kauffman says.