Is it impolite to paint your nails on the train?

Painting your nails is a common beauty ritual, often done during moments of leisure or when you have some downtime. However, when it comes to painting your nails on public transportation, especially on a train, it's important to consider the etiquette and how your actions may impact those around you. In this article, we'll explore the etiquette of painting your nails on the train and whether it's considered impolite.

The Etiquette of Nail Painting in Public Spaces

While painting your nails can be a personal and somewhat time-consuming task, doing so in a public space like a train raises some important etiquette considerations:

1. The Odor Factor:

Nail polish emits a distinct and sometimes strong odor. Applying nail polish in a confined space like a train carriage can be inconsiderate, as it may disturb other passengers who may be sensitive to the smell.

2. Personal Space:

Passengers on a train often have limited personal space. Engaging in activities like nail painting can intrude on the personal space and comfort of those seated nearby.

3. Spillage and Cleanliness:

Painting your nails can lead to spills and smudges. Public transportation may not provide the ideal setting for proper cleanup, potentially leaving a mess behind.

4. Noise:

Nail polish bottles and brushes can produce noise during the application process, which can be disruptive to fellow passengers who are trying to enjoy a quiet commute.

5. Length of Activity:

Nail painting is not a quick task, and doing it during your train ride may not be the most efficient use of your time, especially if you're holding up seats that could be used by other passengers.

Consider Alternatives

If you're in a situation where you need to maintain your nail polish while on the go, consider alternatives that are more discreet and considerate of others:

  1. Prior Preparation: Paint your nails before you board the train. This way, you won't disturb fellow passengers with the odor or the activity.

  2. Nail Polish Strips: Nail polish strips or press-on nails are convenient and odorless alternatives that you can apply without affecting those around you.

  3. Non-Acetone Remover Wipes: Carry non-acetone nail polish remover wipes in your bag to clean and refresh your nail polish when needed.

  4. Nail Care Kits: Keep a small nail care kit with you, including a nail file and a travel-sized bottle of clear nail polish for quick touch-ups if necessary.


While painting your nails on the train may not necessarily be considered impolite, it's crucial to be mindful of the impact your actions can have on fellow passengers. The strong odor, the potential mess, and the lack of personal space on public transportation can make nail painting a less-than-ideal choice. Consider alternatives like prior preparation, nail polish strips, Press on nails Australia or non-acetone wipes to maintain your nail care without disrupting others. Ultimately, a little consideration for your fellow travelers can go a long way in ensuring a pleasant and harmonious journey for all.

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