This morning, being a super productive employee, I was fiddling with a nail file I found in my desk drawer.
That’s when I caught a whiff of something. Something ugly. Something… putrid.
I cautiously lifted one end of the nail file to my nose. And ohmigod. A rank stench invaded my nostrils.
On a scale of one to 10 where one is roses and 10 is rotting flesh, it scored a six.
I swung my chair around, clicked onto Google and smashed the following words into my keyboard: “When to throw away your nail file.”
The search results, my friends, left me with a momentary impulse to chop my own fingers off.
Alas, the job of an emery board is to grind down your tissue. In doing so, it gathers your dead skin cells and when it goes unwashed (and, let’s be honest, nobody religiously cleans and disinfects their nail files), it collects bacteria which can spread on and under your nails.
Worse, if the skin around your nails is broken, the build-up of germs can transfer into your bloodstream and create an infection.
Then to make matters more complicated, there are different types of nail files. Classic cardboard types can't be cleaned and are only meant for a couple of uses. Others can be washed with hot water and antibacterial soap.
So as a general rule, it seems it's probably safest to nix your nail file after several uses. And it should only ever be used by yourself.
I haven't kept track of exactly how long I've had all the nail files lying around my home, my bag and my desk - but some would be several years.
One horrified colleague told me she'd had hers for five years.
In other words, we have been filing with pure filth.
But that ends today.
Because even though I did a sniff test on two other old (but slightly better quality) emery boards in my bag and they didn't reek, I'm not about to wait to find out if the office puppy was somehow the culprit of the smell, or if they eventually do go rancid.
I thank you for your faithful and prolonged service, dearest nail files. But it's time to let you go.
LISTEN: Should we let our young daughters get manicures?