10 Genius Nail File Home Hacks

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A nail file is hardly an object of mystery. Its entire purpose is right there in its name: When you need your nails filed, there's nothing better for the job. But a nail file (and its disposable cousin, the emery board) is one of those simple little objects that has a lot more potential than you might realize.

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1. File Down Paint Touchups

The whole point of patching and repainting a dent or hole in the wall is to camouflage it completely. That doesn't work when the patch looks bumpy or isn't flush with the wall. In a pinch, an emery board can be used as a sand paper substitute. Use it to prep surfaces for painting, or to lightly sand down any rough surfaces.

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2. Remove Suede Stains

Suede giveth (it's chic and timeless), and suede taketh away (it shows every flaw). Suede shoes are especially tricky because they pick up a lot of scuff marks over the course of the day. For minor scuffs and spots, a nail file may work like an eraser. Gentle rub the file over these marks and watch them vanish.

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3. As a Screwdriver Substitute

Does your metal nail file come to a point at one end? If so, it can probably be used as a substitute for a miniature screwdriver. Most notably, this pointed end may be small enough to be used for tightening the tiny screws on eyeglasses.

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4. Sharpen Pencils

Where's a pencil sharpener when you need it? These days, they're hardly ubiquitous. From lead to eyeliner, pencils of all kinds can be sharpened on a nail file. Just be careful to clean the file before and after using it this way. Especially if you're sharpening makeup pencils, using a clean file is an absolute must.

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5. Make Old Erasers Look New

An eraser works like a charm to pull up unwanted pencil and ink marks. Of course, then your eraser is covered in pencil and ink smudges. Even an eraser needs an eraser sometimes. Use an emery board or nail files to rub off that top layer and reveal fresh eraser underneath.

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6. Open Plastic Packaging

Hasn't every adult, at some point in their life, been outsmarted by the shrink wrap designed to childproof medication bottles? That one little piece of plastic wrapped around the neck of the bottle just won't budge. The pointed end of a metal nail file should help. Work it under the edge of the shrink wrap and puncture the plastic to make it easy to remove.

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7. Prep Seeds for Planting

Novice gardeners might not realize that many commercially sold seeds are treated with protective coatings. That coating doesn't serve a purpose once the seeds are in the ground, though, and it only serves as a barrier that slows down the growth process. Some gardeners use nail files to lightly rough up their seeds before planting, giving those seeds better exposure to soil and water.

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8. Rough Up Slick Shoe Soles

Nothing will ruin your love for a pair of new shoes faster than finding that you're afraid to walk in them. New shoes with slick soles are a recipe for disaster, especially when the ground is at all slippery. Dragging a nail file across the soles might rough them up enough to give you some better traction. Walk with confidence, secure in the knowledge that strutting across a polished floor won't sending you flying.

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9. File Away Rust

Neglect a metal object long enough and it might turn a bit rusty. Restoring rusty furniture and cars takes serious elbow grease, but minor rust spots on small household items may be defeated by your trusty nail file. The grit of an emery board may be especially effective at banishing rust.

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10. Use for Sensory Play

If you have small children in your life, emery boards can become part of your toolkit for keeping them entertained. Kids love exploring different textures, like the scratchy grit of an emery board. Add a few emery board to a child's sand box, or make a sensory board for younger children by gluing emery boards and other textured items to cardboard.

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