How to Remove Acrylic Nails at Home

To remove acrylic nails, we highly recommend you go to your nail technician. But sometimes, that just isn’t possible and a home solution is needed. These can be messy, painful and time consuming, especially if done incorrectly so we stress again that you should visit your nail technician.

Below is a set of instructions you can try if you need to remove acrylic nails at home.

  • Nail scissors or nail clippers
  • Nail file(s)
  • Pure acetone (available at most beauty stores)
  • Large cotton balls
  • Aluminum foil, prepared into long strips
  • Orangewood cuticle sticks
  • A Nail buffer
  • Olive oil and/or heavy hand cream

Once you have everything assembled, be prepared for a slow and steady process. Removing them with a clean finish can take some time.

Here’s how to remove acrylic nails:

  • Cut your nail tips down as far as you can with the clippers – the shorter you can get them, the less acrylic nail you’ll struggle with later.
  • Using your nail file, remove any gel or topcoat on your acrylic nails so that acetone gets more contact with the acrylic.
  • Soak ten of your cotton balls in acetone for 30 seconds.
  • Place one soaked cotton ball over each of your acrylic fingernails.
  • Use the foil strips to tie each cotton-topped fingernail as tightly as possible.
  • Wait for 20 minutes before removing. Do not remove early! If you remove the foil prematurely, the acrylic will immediately start to harden again, so you need to wait it out.
  • After 20 minutes, peel back the foils from your acrylic nails one at a time.
  • You should now be able to scrape the acrylic right off using a clean orangewood stick!
  • It should remove easily, but if you find some left over portions, gently buff it off with your nail buffer.
  • Massage olive oil or heavy hand cream into your nails and nail beds, this is required to rejuvenate your skin and hands as acetone is extremely drying. Continue to apply oil or lotion at least three times every day for the next few weeks – and make sure you apply before bed.

Keep this ritual up permanently for a lifetime of soft and healthy nails!


by Metallic Nails on April 12, 2010


  • Your article pefretcly shows what I needed to know, thanks!

    Posted by Champ on January 26, 2012
  • Heck of a job there, it asblouetly helps me out.

    Posted by Bobbie on January 24, 2012

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