How To Remove Acrylic Nails At Home With & Without Acetone

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The annoying thing about using regular nail polish is its lasting time. No matter how careful I am, within a few days, at least one of them (usually more than that) is bound to chip. With acrylic nails, this is far less likely, and they can last me for a few weeks. The one advantage a regular manicure has over acrylic nails is, of course, that you can remove it at home without having to drag yourself to your appointment. (I mean, you can apply it at home too, but it’s usually not the same.) It can be annoying getting yourself to your manicurist just to get your acrylic nails removed. But luckily for you, there are ways to remove acrylics from the comfort of your home.

The things you will always need on hand before removing acrylic nails are:

  • Nail clippers – always start by trimming your nails as low as you possibly can, and
  • Nail filer – file down the topcoat. Try to get off as much of the acrylic as you can in this step.

How To Remove Acrylic Nails At Home With Acetone

Found in nail polish

Nail polish

How To Remove Acrylic Nails With Foil

Acetone is a chemical that’s very effective at removing acrylic nails. A word of caution: it’s extremely flammable, so make sure not to expose it to any flame, and don’t light your cigarette while using it.


  • Acetone
  • Cotton balls
  • Aluminium foil
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Moisturizer


  1. After cutting and filing your nails, apply petroleum jelly to the skin around your cuticles to protect them from the harsh acetone which can be irritating.
  2. Dredge the cotton balls in acetone and place one on the top of each finger, covering the acrylic nails entirely.
  3. Wrap a small piece of aluminium foil around the top of every finger to hold the cotton ball in place, and wait for half an hour, so the acetone can loosen the nail.
  4. Gently pull off the foil. The nail should come along with it. If it doesn’t, keep it wrapped in the foil a little longer.
  5. Moisturize your hands. This is important, because acetone can dry out your skin or irritate it. Plus, it’s everyone’s favorite part. Then, scrape off any leftover bits of glue from your nails, and you’re done!

How To Remove Acrylic Nails Without Foil

That’s the first method for removing acrylic nails using acetone, but there’s another method, as well. You can skip the foil altogether, so let’s take a closer look at how you could do this.


  • Acetone
  • Warm water
  • Cuticle sticks
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Tweezers
  • Moisturizer


  1. After clipping and filing your nails, place a bowl of acetone inside a bigger bowl of warm water, to heat it slightly.
  2. Use a cuticle stick to pry the edges of the acrylic nail near your cuticle.
  3. Apply petroleum jelly to the skin around your nail, but not to the nail itself.
  4. Dip all your nails in the acetone. You’ll need patience; this takes between half an hour and forty minutes.
  5. Once they’ve been soaking in the acetone for a while, the acrylics should become soft, and will come off easily with a gentle pull from tweezers. If they don’t come off easily, keep them in the acetone a little longer.
  6. Once the nails are completely off, moisturize your hands.

How To Remove Acrylic Nails Without Acetone

Cotton buds lined up next to plant.

Cotton balls.

How To Remove Acrylic Nails With Hot Water

The easiest way to remove acrylic nails without acetone is by removing them with hot water. You’ll just need 2 things, so it’s a pretty solution for anyone who wants to safely and conveniently remove acrylic nails at home.


  • Hot water
  • Cuticle sticks
  • Bowl
  • Cuticle oil


  1. Start by placing hot water in a bowl and let it cool down until comfortably warm for your hands.
  2. Place your hands in the water for around 20 minutes. You will feel the acrylic start to get soft to the point where you can easily peel it off your nail.
  3. Dry your hands once the acrylic is completely removed. Use a cuticle stick to push the nail pack and trim any stray pieces.
  4. You can follow up by buffing your nails so that they look healthy and shiny. Use a natural oil such as castor oil to enhance nail health and revive the nail bed.

How To Remove Acrylic Nails With Dental Floss

If you’re wondering how to remove acrylic nails fast, listen up. Dental floss is not just for getting supper leftovers out of your teeth; you can also use this bathroom staple to remove your on-their-way-out acrylic nails. However, keep in mind that this can result in a bit of your natural nail being removed, which may be slightly painful. Make sure the person helping you goes slowly and carefully.


  • Dental floss
  • Cuticle sticks
  • Buffer
  • Moisturizer


  1. After clipping and filing your nails, pry the nails near your cuticles using your cuticle stick.
  2. Have the person helping you position the floss under your nail. They should hold the floss upwards and move it back and forth in a sawing motion, until the nail is removed.
  3. Buff your nails, and use hand cream, especially if your nails are stinging.

Looking After Nails After Acrylics Removed

After you’ve had your acrylics removed at home or in the salon, it’s important to revive them back to health. Acrylic nail polishes are harsh on the nails and with this in mind, it’s important to rehydrate them. Moisturize the hands, focusing on massaging the moisturizer into the nails.

Another step to take is to use a natural oil such as jojoba oil. This oil is rich in fatty acids which penetrate the nail bed and nourish it from the inside out. This oil is also loaded with vitamin E which defends and protects the natural skin barrier, especially at-risk areas such as your cuticles. Regularly applying this kind of natural nail oil to the nails can bring them back to life after removing acrylic nails.


Removing acrylic nails at home is not as complicated as you may think. As you can see, all you need are a few household items and you’ve saved yourself a trip to your manicurist. However, always be sure to exercise caution when taking your acrylics off by yourself. If your skin becomes overly irritated, or your nails are really hurting, stop your treatment immediately. I’m all for DIY, but sometimes a professional is a must. So, keep an eye on the situation, and take the necessary precautions to ensure a healthy, safe and pleasant experience.

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