How To Remove Acrylic Nails At Home Easily – Tips To Follow

Save yourself that expensive trip to the salon by safely removing acrylic nails at home.

Reviewed by Madison Williams, Permanent Makeup Artist Madison Williams Madison WilliamsPermanent Makeup Artist insta_icon
Written by , MA (English Literature) Shalini Roy MA (English Literature) linkedin_icon Experience: 2 years
Edited by , BSc Shatabdi Bhattacharya BSc linkedin_icon Experience: 2.5 years
Fact-checked by , BA Anu Pallavi BA linkedin_icon
Last Updated on

While applying acrylic nails is an easy idea to glamorize your look by adding length to your nails, removing them can be quite cumbersome.
However, knowing how to remove acrylic nails can make the whole process less painful. Ideally, we suggest getting it done by professionals at a nail salon, but if time and money are constraints for you, there are a few easy steps on how to get acrylic nails off at home, too. In this article, we show you how to remove nail extensions at home. Keep scrolling!

protip_icon Keep In Mind
  • Trim The Acrylics: If you have very long acrylic nails, trim them first before attempting to remove them.
  • Buff Your Nails: After removing acrylic nails, use a glass nail file to buff and smoothen your natural nails.
  • Time Out: Taking a break from acrylic nails for three to six months is recommended by experts to protect your natural nails.
  • Caution: Improper or careless removal of acrylic nails can lead to significant long-term damage to your natural nails, leaving them thin, weak, and even tender and raw.

How To Remove Acrylic Nails Safely At Home

Acetone is your best savior when it comes to removing acrylic nails at home. This strong liquid-based chemical dissolves the acrylic nails and helps you remove them easily. You must be wondering how such a strong ingredient can be safe on your skin. Acetone should not come in contact with your skin very often, but apart from a little dryness, and in some rare cases, a slight redness, it is relatively safe for use. Make sure to take the necessary safety measures, and you will be fine. If you want to know more about how to soak off acrylic nails, check out this video.

How To Remove Acrylic Nails With An Acetone Soak-Off

Here are a few methods that you can try to take off acrylic nails expertly using acetone.

Method 1 – How To Take Off Acrylic Nails Using Acetone And Warm Water

Remove acrylic nails using acetone and warm water

The first method involves dipping your nails in acetone. Here’s how to take off acrylic nails at home.

Things You Will Need

  • Acetone
  • Orange sticks
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Nail clippers
  • Warm water
  • Tweezers
  • Two bowls

Step By Step Process

  1. Clip your nails as short as possible and pry your cuticles with the orange stick.
  2. Fill up one bowl with acetone and another one with warm water, and put the bowl containing acetone inside the warm water bowl to warm it up gently.
  3. Apply a generous amount of petroleum jelly on the skin surrounding your cuticles. This will protect them from the harsh, drying effects of acetone.
  4. Now, dip the entire length of your nails in the bowl containing acetone and wait for 30-40 minutes.
  5. Check if the acrylic nails have gone soft, and you should be able to pull them out gently with tweezers. If you feel resistance and are wondering how to get acrylic nails off fast, then do not yank, just soak them in acetone for some more time.

Kirsten, a blogger, shared her experience of removing acrylic nails at home and the most ideal way of doing so: “The easiest way to remove acrylic nails at home is to soak them in acetone. Most nail polish removers contain acetone (i).” However, she also suggests that acetone may cause skin irritation so being careful is necessary too.

protip_icon Quick Tip
If any tiny bits of acrylic residue are left, you can use a soft foam nail buffer to smoothen those little bits.

Method 2 – How To Remove Acrylic Nails Using Acetone And Aluminum Foil

Remove acrylic nails using aluminium foil
Things You Will Need
  • Acetone
  • Nail clippers
  • Nail buffer or file
  • Cotton balls or pads
  • Aluminum foils
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Optional (Acrylic Removal Nail Cap Holders)

Step By Step Process

  1. Clip the acrylic nails as short as possible
  2. File away the topcoat, nail polish, or any color to avoid creating a mess or get your hands full of color.
  3. Apply petroleum jelly on the skin surrounding the cuticles. Now, soak the cotton pads in acetone and place it on your nails.
  4. Tear a piece of aluminum and wrap it over the cotton pad or ball so that it stays in place (You can also put the nail holder caps on to help the aluminum stay in place and ensure the body heat stays inside the aluminum, which will help quicken the removal process).
  5. Wait for 25-30 minutes.
  6. Pull the aluminum foil gently, and the acrylic nail should come off with it. If you feel resistance, keep it wrapped for some more time.

Check out this video to know more about how to take off acrylics using this method:

Method 3 – How To Remove Acrylic Nails With Acetone And Plastic Bags

While it may not be environment-friendly, this is an easy way to remove your acrylic nails without much trouble.

Things You Will Need

  • Nail clippers
  • Acetone
  • A large ziplock bag
  • Wooden cuticlei  A layer of clear dead skin along the bottom bed of the fingers or toes that protects the nail root. stick
  • Nail buffer

Step By Step Process

  1. Clip your acrylic nails as short as possible. Be careful not to snip off your real nails.
  2. Take a large ziplock bag and fill it with just enough acetone to submerge your nails fully.
  3. Tilt the bag to one side so that the acetone collects in one corner.
  4. Stick your hand inside the bag and let your nails soak in the acetone for 15-20 minutes.
  5. After 20 minutes, try scraping off the acrylics gently using a wooden cuticle stick.
  6. If you feel resistance, soak them again for 5 minutes and repeat the process.
  7. Use a soft foam buffer to get rid of leftover residue.

If you have sensitive skin or want to avoid using harsh products like acetone, you can try out methods that use everyday items to remove fake nails, instead of acetone. Check on how to take off acrylic nails without acetone in the next section.

How To Remove Acrylic Nails Without Acetone

Method 1 – Removal Of Acrylic Nails Using Acetone-Free Nail Polish

Remove acrylic nails using acetone-free nail polish remover

Want to know how to take off acrylics without acetone? Yes, it’s possible though it will take a little time, but if you plan to avoid acetone, your regular nail polish can also help you get acrylics off. Check on how to get off acrylic nails with regular nail polish below.

Things You Will Need

  • Acetone-free nail polish remover
  • Tweezer
  • Bowl
  • Nail clippers

Step by Step Process

  1. Clip the acrylic nails as short as possible.
  2. Pry the edges with the pointy end of the tweezers.
  3. Pour acetone-free nail polish remover in a bowl.
  4. Soak the nails in the nail polish remover for 30-40 minutes.
  5. Once you feel the nail loosened, pull it out gently with tweezers. If it does not come out easily, soak for some more time.

Quick Tip: Normal acetone-free nail polish remover tends to evaporate after some time. Hence,keep adding nail polish remover from time to time.

Method 2 – How To Remove Acrylic Nails With An Electric File/Nail Bit

Remove acrylic nails with an electric nail bit
Image: Shutterstock

Wondering how to get fake nails off with ease? Try this method, it requires some great skills and is preferred by professionals. But there is no reason you cannot master this method at home. Let us show you how to take acrylic nails off at home.

Things You Will Need

  • Electric nail file
  • Acetone
  • Cotton balls
  • Tinfoil
  • Cuticle pusher
  • Cuticle oil

Step by Step Process

  1. Use the nail file to sand down the acrylics carefully. Be extremely gentle as you take off the top layer of your acrylic nails.
  2. Soak a cotton pad with acetone and wrap it around each nail.
  3. Wrap the cotton pad with tinfoil and cover it completely.
  4. Wait for 10-15 minutes before unwrapping the foil and removing the cotton.
  5. Use a cuticle pusher to remove the excess acrylic on your nails.
  6. Rinse your hands thoroughly with soap and water.
  7. Use cuticle oil to moisturize your nails and cuticles after the treatment just like in case of a manicure.

Quick Tip: An electric nail file requires practice and precision for expert handling. Ensure you are equipped to handle this method on your own, or you might damage your natural nails.

Method 3 – How To Remove Acrylic Nails Using Nail Filers

Remove acrylic nails using nail filers

Another way of getting rid of acrylic nails is to file them away. It can be time-consuming, but your skin does not come in contact with chemicals. Want to know how to get acrylics off using this method? If yes, then keep reading.

Things You Will Need

  • Nail filer or buffer
  • Orange sticks
  • Nail clippers
  • Cuticle scissors
  • Cuticle oil

Step By Step Process

  1. Remove the color and design from nails and clip them to the shortest length possible.
  2. Start filing them using long strokes. Keep filing until you have reached the nail bed. Be careful and stop before you file off your actual bed.
  3. If you notice some of it remaining on your nails, take a cuticle scissor and pry open the edges and clip it. Make sure to cut only small pieces at a time and not try to pry open too much.
  4. Once all the acrylic nail is off, take the orange stick and scrape off the acrylic glue.

Quick Tip: This procedure can be a little harsh on your nails, follow it up with cuticle oil.

Method 4: How To Take Off Acrylic Nails With Hot Water (Without Acetone)

Remove acrylic nails using warm water

This is one of the easiest and gentlest methods to soak off acrylic nails. It is also the safest method. Are you trying to figure out how to remove nail extensions using this way? If yes, then read on to know more.

Things You Will Need

  • Warm water
  • Nail filer
  • Orange sticks
  • Nail clipper

Step By Step Process

  1. Trim the nail to the shortest length possible and pry the edges with the stick.
  2. Pour warm water into a bowl. Make sure the temperature is comfortable as you have to soak for a long time.
  3. Soak your nails in the warm water for at least 30-40 minutes to dissolve the glue. Dip at an angle where the warm water can seep through the inlet you made with your orange stick.
  4. If the nails do not come out, add warm water, and soak for some more time.

Quick Tip: As you have to soak for a long time, the water will start getting cold. Keep pouring warm water now and then to maintain a constant warm temperature. Take a look at this video to know how to take off fake nails.

Method 5 – How To Remove Acrylic Nails Using Dental Floss

Remove acrylic nails using dental floss

Head to your bathroom closet and get your dental floss out. Apart from your oral hygiene, these strong threads are an excellent way of removing acrylic nails. However, this cannot be done by you alone, so make sure you have someone to help you out with it. Here’s how to remove fake nails the easy way.

Things You Will Need

  • Orange sticks
  • Dental floss
  • A partner

Step By Step Process

  1. Pry your cuticles with the orange sticks to make a little inlet.
  2. Ask your partner to insert the floss through the inlet and move it in a sawing motion.
  3. Continue until the acrylic nail pops off.

Quick Tip: This method can be a little uncomfortable or painful, depending on your threshold. Prepare yourself accordingly and have patience.

Method 6 – Removal Of Acrylic Nails Using A Laminated Business Card

Remove acrylic nails with laminated business card

If you would like to know how to take acrylics off at home without running your real ones, then all you have to do is fish out a laminated business card from your purse.

Things You Will Need

  • Laminated card
  • Orange sticks

Step By Step Process

  1. Use the orange sticks to pry the edges of the acrylic nails and make a small inlet.
  2. Slide the laminated business card into the inlet while applying gentle pressure in an upward motion.
  3. Do this one side at a time to avoid ripping a layer of your actual nail bed. And, the nails should pop right out.

Quick Tip: You can use a debit/credit card instead of a laminated business card for this method.

Important Tips And Precautions To Be Followed While Removing Acrylic Nails

  • Under no circumstances, try to yank out your nails forcefully. It might pull out your real nail bed and end up in excruciating pain or infection.
  • If you want to try methods that include acetone, make sure there is no fire around you, as acetone is highly flammable.
  • In most cases, the side effects of acetone include dehydration of the skin and wrinkling of the skin because it is a potent chemical compound. If you feel a burning sensation or severe redness, do not push your boundaries. Seek professional help immediately.
  • Cover the table or the surface on which you do this procedure to safeguard it from acetone stain or damage.
  • This process usually takes a long time. Have patience and be seated comfortably in a place for a while.

Once your acrylics are removed, you may find your nails looking dry and unhealthy. But a little TLC can fix that, so do not skip the following steps.

How To Care For Your Nails After Removing Acrylics

  • After removing the nail, scrape off the residue of acrylic nails from your nail bed.
  • Use a cuticle oil right after you remove the acrylic nails to restore your real nail bed.
  • These procedures can be really harsh on the skin, so apply a gentle moisturizer after the process.
  • If it has been a while, the tips of your natural nails must have grown out. Trim your real nail tips with a nail clipper.
  • As a follow-up beauty treatment, apply nail hardener every day for at least two weeks.
  • You might be tempted to get creative with the shape of your nails, but allowing them to grow in their natural shape is essential as it will prevent cracking or breaking.
  • Acrylics can weaken your real nails and leave them in need of nourishment. Keep them hydrated with cuticle oil and lotion.

protip_icon Quick Tip
You may cover your nails with cuticle oil and cuticle cream, then wrap each hand in a warm washcloth for five minutes. Do this at least once a week for healthier and shinier nails.

Acrylics are a fun way to jazz up your nails, but they can take a toll on your natural nails. If you are an acrylic junkie, remember these nail care tips to prevent nail damage and keep them in optimal health.

How To Protect Against Acrylic Nail Damage In Future

  • After removing your nails, wait for a week to let your real nails restore balance before putting on the next pair of acrylic nails.
  • During this break, apply a coat of nail strengthener every day to protect your nails from breakage.
  • You can apply cuticle cream and cuticle oil alternatively over your nails and wrap them in warm washcloths for 5 minutes.

Follow these tips diligently to enjoy healthy and shiny nails without worrying about acrylic damage.

But while we have covered everything about removing acrylic nails effectively and effortlessly at home, let us explore how to do them as well in the section below. For the ones who always wanted to try them but didn’t know how to, simply scroll down!

How To Do Your Own Acrylic Nails

Applying acrylic nails at home
Image: Shutterstock
  1. Select preferred acrylic nail kit, acrylic liquid and powder, filer, and a brush.
  2. Clean, shape, then buff the natural nails.
  3. Dip the brush in acrylic liquid, pick up the acrylic powder, and apply a small bead to the nail.
  4. Shape and smooth the acrylic powder to fit the edges.
  5. Repeat the process for all the nails.
  6. File the nails to give the desired shape and apply preferred nail polish.

Now that you know all the tips and tricks to take acrylics off at home, do not hold yourself back from rocking those killer designer acrylic nails with nail art. Go ahead and get your faves without worrying about painful, stressful, and expensive removal methods. Just remember to follow up with a generous dose of strengthening nail treatments.

Infographic: What To Keep In Mind Before Getting Acrylic Nails

While acrylic nails instantly make your fingertips look beautiful and healthy, the procedure itself might be intimidating if you’re new to the scene. But fortunately, acrylics are extremely simple to maintain even if they initially seem like quite an effort. You just need to keep certain things in mind to get the process right. Check out the following infographic to learn more.

what to keep in mind before getting acrylic nails (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

Acrylic nails can add length to your nails and glamorize your overall look. But they are difficult to remove. However, the above-mentioned simple tips will answer all your questions on how to remove acrylic nails at home. Using acetone, you can remove your acrylic nails easily. Following these tips and precautions while removing acrylic nails can also help you prevent nail damage. Take cues from the listed TLC to maintain optimal nail health. Finally, by following the listed tips, jazz up your nails with acrylics without worrying about damage.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does olive oil remove acrylic nails?

Yes. You may use olive oil instead of cuticle oil to loosen the glue between acrylic and natural nails. Then, soak your nails in a bowl of warm water, acetone, and olive oil for 10-15 minutes to melt the acrylic.

How do you remove acrylic nails with baking soda?

You may soak your nails in a solution of baking soda and toothpaste in warm water for 15-20 minutes to loosen the glue of acrylic nails.

How long do acrylic nails last?

Acrylic nails are incredibly strong and can last for about 6-8 weeks with regular touch ups and good nail care practices.

Does salt water affect acrylic nails?

Yes saltwater can damage acrylic nails by discoloration or turning them yellow when overexposed to it. It can dry out your nails and cause them to crack or peel.

How much does it cost to remove acrylic nails?

The cost varies depending on location and technician experience. However, it can cost anywhere from $10 to $50.

Key Takeaways

  • Acrylic nails can glamorize your look, but removing them is difficult.
  • You can take off acrylic nails easily at home with acetone.
  • You can also remove them using various household items like dental floss or a business card.

Remove your nail paint while protecting your nails and keeping them squeaky clean! Watch this video to remove your acrylic nail paint at home with these easy-to-follow steps

Personal Experience: Source

Madison Williams
Madison WilliamsPermanent Makeup Artist
Madison has 4 years of experience and is a certified Permanent Makeup Artist with a passion and love for all things makeup. She is based in Maryland, better known as the DMV. She specializes in makeup application, cosmetic tattooing, and various brow shaping services.

Read full bio of Madison Williams
Shalini Roy
Shalini RoyBeauty & Lifestyle Writer
Shalini Roy has a Master's degree in English literature from Pondicherry University. She is an ambivert whose expressions have found their way in writing. She channels her passion for all things fashion and makeup to write engaging content related to beauty and lifestyle and has two years of experience.

Read full bio of Shalini Roy
Shatabdi Bhattacharya
Shatabdi BhattacharyaAssociate Editor
Shatabdi is an associate editor and an alumnus of Lady Brabourne College, Kolkata, where she honed her skills and developed a deep understanding of the world of literature and expression. She has worked with various organizations and websites operating in different industries, ranging from education to lifestyle, showing her adaptability and drive to learn.

Read full bio of Shatabdi Bhattacharya
Anu Pallavi
Anu PallaviBeauty & Lifestyle Writer
Anu is a beauty and lifestyle writer and a graduate of Amity University, Noida, where she refined her writing skills and cultivated her deep passion for the field. She pursued the Beauty Technician Training Program at Maquillage Beauty Institute, which has equipped her with practical skills in various beauty treatments.

Read full bio of Anu Pallavi