The Right Way To Remove Acrylic Nails At Home!

Nikky SachdevNikky Sachdev  |  Jan 25, 2018
The Right Way To Remove Acrylic Nails At Home!


Who doesn’t love manicured hands with those oh-so-perfect french tips? You can choose from getting beautiful manicures with gel or acrylics to even silk nails and jazz them up with creative to crazy nail art. There are so many options available in the market these days! 

But let’s admit it, even though they look absolutely gorgeous while they last, they do look at bit shabby if they get chipped or start turning yellow due to food exposure. So we found some safe ways to remove your acrylics at home and let your nails breathe before you get them all shiny and bright again.

While the best way of removing these artificial nails is by visiting a professional, we also realise that it can cost a good amount of time and money which can both be hard to find. But worry not, we have some expert-approved ways to get rid of those acrylic nails in a right and safe way, without hurting your natural nail bed.

Acetone And Foil  
Acetone and Warm Water  
Dental Floss and Acrylic Nails  
Buffing Acrylic Nails   
Removing Nail Extensions  

Removing Acrylic Nails With Acetone

Acetone is one your best bets when it comes to removing acrylic nails. It helps to dissolve the nails and while it does cause some dryness on the surrounding skin, it is a fairly safe chemical to use. There are two variations to this method, one by wrapping your nails in foil and the other is done using warm water. Both the procedures require a nail care tool-kit and lots of patience, so let’s get started.

You will need an acetone nail-polish remover, nail clipper, a buffer to buff the nails, tweezers, cotton, aluminium foil, petroleum jelly, hand cream or olive oil.  

Removing Nails With Acetone And Foil

how to remove acrylic nails acetone and foil


1. Start by clipping your nails as short as you can.

2. Using a nail buff, buff the top coat of the nail. Remember, you are not buffing the edges but the top coat of the nail, where you apply nail polish. While you buff, keep in mind not to overdo it as too much buffing can hurt your nail bed. Filing the top coat will make the effects of acetone much better on the nail, allowing it to peel off gently.

Also Read Foods For Healthy Nails & Nail Care Tips In Marathi

3. Apply petroleum jelly around your cuticles to save the skin from the drying out because of acetone.

4. Dip cotton balls or pads in acetone and cover your nails with them.

5. Take some aluminium foil and cover your fingernails so the cotton stays intact.

6. Let it sit for 30 minutes. The acetone will weaken the glue that holds the nail in its place.

7. After the designated time it over, try peeling off the aluminium foil. Ideally the nail should peel off with the cotton, however, if you still feel some resistance while pulling the nail, let the wrap on for a little while longer and try again.

8. Once this is done, wash your hands and if there is any residue glue left, you can remove it by buffing.

9. Do remember to apply hand cream or cuticle oil to moisturise your hands, especially to your nails to retain moisture.

Removing Nails With Acetone and Warm Water

how to remove acrylic nails dip in warm water


1. Start by clipping your nails as short as you can and buff the top layer.

2. Now take two bowls, one smaller than the other.

3. Fill the bigger bowl with warm water and the small one with acetone.

4. Apply a fairly generous amount of petroleum jelly on your skin around the nails before dipping them in acetone.

5. Place the bowl containing acetone inside the bowl containing warm water so that the heat from warm water can warm it up.

6. Now soak your nails in the bowl with acetone for 30-40 minutes and let it do its magic.

7. Once you have dipped your nails long enough in acetone, try to pull it out gently with the help of tweezers. If you feel any resistance, soak the nails for another five to seven minutes.

Dental Floss and Acrylic Nails

Who knew dental floss could be so versatile? Yes, you read it right. The next method to remove your acrylic nails involves the use of dental floss, orangewood sticks and a friend to help you. The idea is to pry open the nail from the bottom and move the dental back and forth like a saw until the nail pops out.


1. Start by taking an orangewood stick and try to make an opening at the bottom of the nail, where the fake nail meets your natural nail. 

2. Ask your friend to gently slide the dental floss in the opening and start moving it back and forth under the nail. This will help pull up the acrylic nail gradually. Keeping doing the same movement till the acrylic nail pops out.

3. Once the nail is out, use the nail file or a buffer to remove the excess glue.

4. Do not forget to apply a good quality moisturiser to smoothen your nails.  

Buff Them Away

If you prefer to stay away from using chemicals on your skin, then buffing is a great way to remove your acrylic nails. However, it is also a time-consuming method. You will require a good quality nail buffer, nail file, orange sticks, nail clippers, cuticle scissors and oil.

how to remove acrylic nails filing

1. Start by removing your nail colour or design completely from the nail.

2. Clip the nails as short as possible.

3. Once this is done, start to file the top coat with long and easy strokes. Make sure you do not over buff and hurt your nail bed.

4. Do wear a mask while buffing as the powder produced by buffing can be harmful.

5. Buff out the residue extra glue.

Removing Acrylic Nails Using Acetone Free Nail Polish Remover

Another great way to remove your acrylic nail extensions is by using an acetone-free nail polish remover. However, this requires a lot of patience as the nail extension can be stubborn. You’ll need an acetone-free nail polish remover, tweezers, a bowl and nail cutter. We’ll be skipping buffing for this particular procedure. You may have to top off the acetone-free nail polish remover a couple of times as it tends to evaporate soon.


1. I’m sure you already know this one by now. Step one is to clip the nails as short as possible.

how to remove acrylic nails cut them short

2. Take a bowl and fill it with acetone-free nail polish remover.

3. Once you’ve cut your nails, soak them in the nail polish remover for at least 30-40 minutes so they can soften.

4. Once you see or feel that the nails have started to loosen a bit, take your tweezers and gently pull at them. However, if you feel that they are not coming out easily, soak them for some more time and try again.

Removing Nail Extensions Only With Warm Water

The safest and possibly the most time-consuming method to remove your acrylic nails is to avoid chemicals and just use warm water. All you need is warm water, a bowl, tweezers or orangewood stick, nail clipper and nail buff.


1. Fill the bowl with warm water. Keep the water temperature comfortable so you can soak your nails for a longer duration.

2. Cut the nails as short as possible and try to make a small opening in the nails using wooden sticks so that the warm water can enter and help loosen the nails.

3. Keep changing the water as it starts cooling down.

Things To Keep In Mind 

Before you try these simple methods at home to remove your acrylic nails, here are some Dos and Don’ts that you need to keep in mind.

1. Your nails need time to breathe. Experts suggest that while nail extensions look amazing, it is crucial to give them a break. Too much use of nail extensions damage the nail bed.

2. Do not try to pull the nail forcefully. Keep calm and be patient, soak the nails for a longer duration if required. Pulling the acrylic nail with too much force will certainly damage your natural nail.

3. If you plan to use acetone for nail removal, be aware that acetone is a strong chemical and its prolonged use will cause dryness on the skin that is exposed to it. Remember to apply petroleum jelly before soaking your nails in acetone. 

4. If you feel a burning sensation on the skin or notice extreme redness, stop the procedure immediately and consult a doctor or nail expert. 

5. Acetone is a highly inflammable so make sure that when you are doing the procedure, you’re not around anything that can cause a fire. 

6. Make sure not to over buff. You can severely damage your nail bed to an extent that it will have a weird growth pattern.

7. The nail powder produced while buffing can cause breathing infection, so do remember to wear a face mask when you buff the top coat of the acrylic nail.

8. Apply cuticle oil to your nail bed after the removal of the nails as acetone seriously dries out your nails. 

9. Moisturising is key to retain some moisture on your nail and fingertips.  

10. Make sure to read up everything you need to know about getting nail extensions before you get them. Read POPxo’s guide to getting perfect nail extensions here.

Now that you know these simple ways of removing your nail extensions easily, go ahead and try them.


1. Can I pull them off?

Answer- Do NOT pull them off. You may hurt yourself by pulling your natural nail bed underneath. Either make use the orange stick or just keep wiping your nails with a cotton ball until there is no more acrylic.

2. When i use acetone on my nails, why do my fingers feel so dry?

Answer- If you plan to use the acetone method to remove your acrylic nails, be aware that acetone is a strong chemical and its prolonged use can cause dryness on your fingers. Always remember to apply handful of petroleum jelly before soaking your nails in acetone bowl.

3. Are there any subsequent steps to maintain the natural health of my nails?

Answer- Gently massage with cuticle oil on your nail bed after the removal of the acrylic nails, as acetone can seriously dry out your nails.

4. Do nail extensions harm our nails?

Answer- While nail extensions look amazing, experts suggest that it is crucial to give them a break as too much use of nail extensions can damage the covering of your nail bed.

This story was updated in January 2019.

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