How to Remove Acrylic Nails- 9 Simple Hacks You Need to Know

Is it that time again when you have to change your acrylic nails? You will definitely need tips on how to remove acrylic nails safely.

With the improvement of the home salon experience, you can do anything when it comes to nails and faux nails application. Therefore, if you can make the best acrylic nails yourself, you need to know how to remove acrylic nails too.

On the other hand, you could be experiencing a home spell, being too lazy to step out. What comes next is searching for easy ways, especially if there is no acetone in sight.

Moreover, prying acrylic nails off your fingers without any safety tools is not an option (if you love your nails, do not try this).

SEE: Get Your Ultimate Professional Finish With the Best Nail Lamp

How to Remove Acrylic Nails

remove acrylic nails

1. Acetone and Aluminum Foil

Acetone is the basic tool or solvent used in removing acrylic nails.

It is a chemical-based liquid created to dissolve resins, fats, and cellulose. Acrylic is a resin, which makes it a compound that can be dissolved by acetone. 

Acetone, which removes your acrylic, is the first thing you would think of. However, there are times where people can go wrong with it. If you are using acetone, it’s best to cover up and aluminum foil.


  • Remove all colors and art from your nails.
  • Cut off extra length of your acrylic nails with a nail clipper.
  • File your acrylic nails out, using a rough one to level the top of your acrylic and a grit file for precision close to your nails.  
  • Soak cotton pads in acetone and wrap around your fingernails.
  • Wrap each cotton-pad-covered nail with aluminum foil to hold the acetone in place.
  • Relax for at least 30 minutes.
  • Pry the aluminum foil off your nails gently with the acrylic dissolved in it.
  • Buff the residues on your nails with a cuticle pusher.
  • Use a cuticle oil to moisturize your nails.  

2. Acetone-Free Solution

There are acetone-free nail removers you can use to remove acrylic nails if you want. A simple nail polish remover will gradually peel off the faux nails, but this will take longer than acetone.


  • Clip your acrylic nails as short as you can avoiding your real nails.
  • Create an opening with the edges of your acrylic with a cuticle stick or tweezers.
  • Pour out your acetone-free solution in a bowl
  • Then soak your nails for up to 40 minutes.
  • The acrylic gel loosens slowly, and once you feel it loose, use your tweezers to pry it off your nails.
  • Soak your nails again if the acrylic does not completely come off.
  • Do this rinse and repeat routine until the acrylic is off.
  • Moisturize and treat your nails.

Pro Tip: This acetone-free method requires you to top the solution in the bowl because nail polish remover evaporates with time.

SEE: 18 Best Summer Nails Colors Ideas to Brighten Your Dark Skin

electric nail file

3. Nail Bit/ Electric File

You can try a more professional approach by using an electric file or nail bit. This is actually for those more experienced with acrylic nails. Furthermore, the procedure is safer and easy.

For your at-home routine of using an electric file, you have to use the tool with care.


  • Use an electric bit to level or sand down your acrylic nails.
  • Soak a cotton swab with acetone and wrap around your fingers.
  • Then you wrap each finger with aluminum foil and cover the cotton swabs completely. 
  • Wait for a period of 10 to 15 minutes before unwrapping the aluminum foil and cotton swabs.
  • Follow up with a cuticle pusher to remove excess acrylic on your nail bed and cuticle.
  • Wash off the remaining acrylic residue on your nails.
  • Moisturize your nails with a cuticle oil.

4. Plastic Bag Soak Off

You can use acetone and a plastic bag to soak off your acrylic nails. This involves you having a copious amount of acetone. Nevertheless, the routine would get the acrylic easily and cleanly off your nails.


  • Use your nail scissors or clipper to cut off enough acrylic nails. Make sure to cut as close to your nail bed as possible without snipping your nails off.
  • Pour enough acetone into a Ziploc bag. The acetone should be enough to submerge your nails into it.
  • Dip your nails into the pool. You can tilt the bag to one corner to allow enough acetone to dip your nails.
  • Let your nails sit in the acetone mixture for about 20 minutes
  • Use your cuticle pusher to scrap off the acrylic nails.
  • Buff off the remaining acrylic residue on your nail bed.
  • Clean with a cuticle oil or cleanser.

SEE: How Long Does Nail Polish Take To Fully Dry?

5. Dental Floss

Didn’t think you would be using your dental floss for your nails, did you? Well, dental floss also works to remove acrylic nails. This is a handy hack for your non-acetone routine.

This thin string can prove useful in desperate times. However, you should use it when your acrylic is already wearing off. It can damage your nail bed if you are not careful. In addition, you’ll need your cuticle stick and extra hands to do this.


  • Use your cuticle stick to lift the edges of your faux nails. The looser your acrylic nails, the easier it is.
  • Then let someone you trust insert the string under the acrylic nail and lift.
  • Like sawing, move the dental floss down gently until the acrylic nail comes off completely.
  • Do this for the other nails.
  • Wipe your nails with a cleanser to clean your cuticle areas and hydrate it.

6. Debit or Credit Card

An odd hack that works effectively if you are pressed for time. You can remove your acrylic nails with a debit card, credit card, or a laminated business card you have on you. However, use old cards, not current ones.


  • Start with picking the edges of your acrylic nails with your cuticle stick. Make an inlet small enough but also easy to work with.
  • Slip the edge of your laminated card through the inlet.
  • Gently apply pressure upward.
  • Working on one side at a time, you would avoid ripping your nail bed with your acrylic nails.
  • Work carefully on each sides until the acrylic nails pop out.
nail file

7. Nail Filers

Nail filers are a handy tool for anyone into faux nails. Although your acrylic nails come off if you use this method, it is, however, time-consuming. You would need patience, in excess. Therefore, you should use a method if you have all the time in the world.


  • Trim your acrylic nails to a short length. This includes removing all designs and colors from them.
  • File the faux nails away, using long strokes. Do this until you have reached the edge of your nail bed.
  • Use a cuticle scissor to trim and peel the edges of the acrylic nails off. Do this slowly, a little piece at a time to avoid clipping your nails.
  • After removing the acrylic, use a cuticle stick to scrape the acrylic glue still lodged on your nail bed.
  • Buff your nail bed with a cuticle stick.
  • Wipe with a cuticle oil to hydrate your nails after this procedure.

8. Hot Water

This is another simple method used to remove acrylic from the fingers. However, you have to remove the acrylic with warm water not boiling water.


  • Start with trimming your faux nails as low as possible.
  • Make an inlet with your cuticle stick.
  • Add a cup of warm water in a bowl. The temperature of the water should be mild and comfortable to dip your fingers in.
  • Soak off your nails in the water for about 40 minutes.
  • Make sure the warm water gets into the inlet.
  • Buff the acrylic from your natural nails. If it doesn’t come off dip it back in warm water until it does.
  • Use a moisturizing hand cream to keep your nails moisturized and to avoid them wrinkling.

Pro Tip: You might have to change the water regularly as you soak your nails. This prevents the water from getting cold. Retaining a warm temperature is important in using this method.

9. Vinegar and Lemon

This is a quick home method to remove your acrylic nails. However, this can take longer than you want. Nevertheless, you would get a painless procedure if you do not have acetone.


  • Trim your excess nails as low as possible.
  • Make an inlet on your acrylic nails with a cuticle stick.
  • Mix, in equal parts, vinegar and lemon in a bowl.
  • Dip your nails in it and wait for about 30 minutes.
  • Remove the acrylic with ease. If the acrylic does not come off, dip into the solution again until it does.
  • Buff the residue on your nails.
  • Clean with cuticle oil and nail treatment.

Post-Acrylic Removal Treatment

  • Buff away the residues on your nails before adding treatment.
  • Apply cuticle oil on your nails to hydrate and soften your nails.
  • Give your natural nails some TLC by filing, trimming excess nails, and applying treatment.
  • Always apply a hardener after treating and trimming your nails.
  • Space out your next nail appointment. This gives your nail bed time to heal before the next trip to the nail salon.
  • Drink lots of water to keep your body hydrated.

SEE: 15 Tips To Help Make Your Nails Stronger

Frequently Asked Questions on Acrylic Nails

how to remove acrylic nails

Will I hurt my hands if I remove acrylic nails with an electric file?

No, you won’t. However, you are likely to hurt your nails if you are not careful with how you use a file whether an electric file or nail filer.

The file is tricky to use and requires a professional hold. However, if you use it with care, you will not hurt your nails.

When should I remove my acrylic nails?

When it starts to chip. Naturally, you need to change your faux nails when you notice them chipping. However, acrylic is known to be long-lasting.

You can also remove your nails when you want to change to a new nail set. To remove this safely, you can use acetone for faster and painless removal.

Can I wear acrylic nails repeatedly for months?

Yes, you can. However, you should let your nails breathe in between sets. This is because the faux nails could damage your nail beds if you wear acrylic nails without freeing your natural nails.

how to remove acrylic nails


You can opt for acetone or an acetone-rich nail remover if you want to remove your acrylic nails.

Acrylic nails are known to be long-lasting and sturdy. This is why they are a fave of many and need a special solution like acetone.

Nonetheless, there are times you can’t get acetone. In those times, you can reach for simple and everyday tools to remove the faux nails.

Removing acrylic is important, but doing it the right way is just as important. You need the right tools, method of removal, and some TLC after removing the tough nails.

You might get a scratch or two, but always moisturize your hands to keep your nails healthy until you get your lovely nail fix again.

Thanks for reading.

Africana Fashion provides the latest and helpful tips to solve any simple everyday hitches you have.