How to Remove Gel Nail Polish: 3 Safe Ways to Do It

After flooding your timelines with your beautiful and well-cured gel nails, there comes a time when you must take it off. And, maybe you want to escape the salon charge or you just want to do it indoors, I’m sure you’re looking for ways you can remove gel nail polish at home.

Unlike ordinary plastic nails, you cannot just rip off gel, acrylic, and dip nails. Otherwise, you’d be ruining your nail plate. Asides from how your nail technicians do it, there are several safe ways you can remove gel nail polish at home.

If like me, you love to get some things done at home. You need to learn handy hacks and store them somewhere up there. For instance, you should know how to safely take off your nail polish at home.

This post features a list of gel nails polish removal hacks I learned plus useful materials that can help you get gel nail polish off your clothes.

How to Remove Gel Nail Polish From Your Nails

how to remove gel nail polish- africana fashion

1. Use Acetone to Remove Gel Nail Polish

Pure acetone has a reputation for nail polish removal. No lacquer can withstand the bond-breaking power of acetone. However, you need to take precautions for the sake of the skin around your nails. Before you begin, rub vaseline around your cuticles to protect them from the dehydrating effect of acetone.

After vaseline, proceed this way:

  • Locate a well-ventilated space to work because of the acetone fumes that can be dangerous
  • Use a nail file to file off the top coat to allow acetone to do its work. This is because the topcoat is naturally impenetrable. Hence, the nails durability
  • When you file, file parallelly and gently to avoid jagging your nails or causing pain
  • Then, soak cotton balls in acetone and wrap each ball around each nail
  • Follow up with wrapping each fingernail with foil to hold the cotton ball in place
  • Leave it on for up to 15 minutes. During this time, the acetone penetrates and breaks the hold of gel nail polish on your nail making it easy to remove
  • When the time has expired, use a flat stick or the nail file to gently scrape and remove gel nail polish from off your nails
  • If removing the coats of paint seems difficult, soak the nails with acetone again
  • Be mindful not to forcefully remove gel nail polish otherwise you’ll hurt yourself
  • When you have successfully removed all the layers of gel nail polish, you can wash your hands with clean, warm water
  • Afterward, moisturize your hands with hand cream, vaseline, or cuticle oil focusing on your cuticles
  • Additionally, you should continue with the massage for a few more days. Also, if you cannot get a foil, you can soak your nails in a bowl of acetone.

2. Remove Gel Nail Polish With Granulated Sugar

Using granulated sugar to remove gel nail polish from your nails saves your cuticles from the dehydration of acetone. The sugar serves as an abrasive that scrubs at the polish and takes it off. You should however be ready to spend more time because you’ll need to scrub for quite a while.

  • Pour sugar into a blender and grind it for a finer texture
  • Afterward, pour it into a bowl and use a cotton ball to scoop some of the sugar
  • Use the sugar-coated cotton ball to scrub at the gel nail polish until it begins to remove
  • Continue scrubbing until you can no longer see any polish
  • When you are done with the gel nail polish, moisturize your cuticle with a cuticle oil
  • Continue to moisturize for a few days until your cuticles are soft and smooth again

SEE: Is Gel Base Coat Supposed To Be Sticky Or Not?

3. Soak Nails in Warm Water to Remove Gel Nail Polish

This is another acetone-free removal method. All you need is warm water, dishwashing soap, and table salt. These ingredients work in synergy to break the bonds between gel nail polish and its hold on your nails.

  • Pour warm water into a bowl that is wide enough to take your fingers
  • Add a teaspoon of salt and drops of dishwashing soap
  • The soap does not have to be enough to make a lather, a little will do
  • Then, submerge all fingers into the solution for up to 20 minutes
  • You should feel the gel nail polish soften, this is how you know it’s ready to remove
  • Use a nail file to gently scrape off the loosened polish
  • Soak again if there are any nail polish residues
  • Afterward, wash your hands with mild soap and moisturize with a moisturizing hand cream or cuticle oil

SEE: Best Gel Nail Polish Every Beginner Should Start With

How to Remove Nail Polish From Clothes

stain removal materials

Those of us who love a DIY at-home manicure have come to understand and accept that certain slips are almost inevitable. For instance, spilled glue or nail polish either on your skin or clothes is not foretold; they just happen.

Use these household materials to remove nail polish from your clothes:

1. Acetone nail polish remover

Whatever contains acetone is an automatic stain removal agent. Besides, what else would be the first option if not nail polish remover to remove nail polish from clothes? You’ll need nail polish remover, cotton balls, paper towels, soap, and water.

  • If it is a fresh stain, use a flat tool like a card or a thick fold of paper to gently scrape off the excess
  • Fold paper towels and put them under the stained area. They will absorb the stain as you blot it out, so it does not spread
  • Then, soak a cotton ball with acetone nail polish remover and use it to blot out the stain
  • Continue blotting until all the stains disappear
  • When you notice that the paper towels and cotton ball are saturated with gel nail polish, discard them, get a fresh set and continue
  • When you are done, flush the previously stained area with clean, cool water
  • Afterward, you can launder the clothes properly and dry

2. Dishwashing soap

Your kitchen dishwashing soap can serve as a nail polish removal material. Squirt only a little at a time. But, before applying the soap, you should remove the excess nail polish from the clothes.

  • Squirt drops of dishwashing soap onto the nail polish stain
  • Allow the stain to absorb the soap for up to 5 minutes
  • Thereafter, gently use your finger or an old toothbrush to rub the soap into the stain
  • Work from the edges to the center of the stain
  • Use a paper towel to blot the soap and nail polish
  • Then, flush the stain with clean, cool water and launder appropriately

SEE: Best Nail Lamp for an Ultimate Professional Manicure Finish

3. Hydrogen peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide works like acetone when it comes to removing stains from clothing, especially nail polishes. A considerable amount of hydrogen peroxide will remove nail polish from your clothes in no time. Moreover, it is safer for those fabrics that cannot tolerate acetone.

  • Start with scraping off any excess nail polish from the clothing
  • Then, place some clean paper towels underneath the stained area
  • Soak a cotton pad with hydrogen peroxide and use it to blot the stain until you see it transfer to the clean paper towels
  • If the cotton pad and paper towels get gross with nail polish, replace them with fresh, clean ones
  • Blot until you can no longer see the stain
  • Afterward, you can wash the fabric and dry it appropriately

However, the caution with hydrogen peroxide is this, it is a bleach and can cause the color of your fabric to wash off. So, run a patch test on a less visible part of the cloth to see how it will do.

4. Hair spray

An alcohol-based hair spray will effectively remove nail polish from your clothes. So, you can use your go-to hair spray to save a manicure day and keep your fabric intact.

  • Remove any excess nail polish from your clothes before you spritz hair spray
  • Afterward, make a pad of clean paper towels and place it underneath the stained area
  • Saturate the stained area with hairspray and rub it gently with a toothbrush
  • Then, use a clean cotton ball to absorb the loosened stain. When it gets gross with nail polish, replace it with a clean one
  • When you are using the cotton ball, dab or blot instead of scrubbing or rubbing it
  • If the paper towels get soaked with ink, turn them over to clean areas
  • Use more hairspray if there is still nail polish on your clothes
  • Wash the clothes and dry them appropriately

SEE: Simple Acrylic Nails Removal Hacks You Need to Know

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I remove gel nail polish at home?

Yes, you can. You can enjoy an at-home DIY gel nails manicure at home if you know the rules. Soaking gel nails in acetone will help you safely remove them at home. Also, if you do not want to use acetone, you can scrub the nails with sugar or soak them in warm saltwater and dishwashing soap.

Whichever method you use, you should be careful to not force the nails to come off. Moreover, moisturize your cuticles and hands well after.  

Will gel nail polish ruin my nails?

There is a tendency that gel nails can be damaging because of their hold on your natural nails. Gel nails can be suffocating to your nail plate and consequently lead to brittleness.

However, to keep your nails safe, after one gel manicure, allow your nails to breathe for some weeks before you get another. And, when you take them off, treat your cuticles to sufficient moisture with a cuticle oil or a moisturizing hand cream.

How can I remove nail polish from my clothes without acetone?

For those fabrics that cannot tolerate acetone, blot the nail polish stain with hydrogen peroxide using a clean cotton ball. Also, dish soap, hairspray, and even bug spray can loosen the hold of the stain off your fabrics.

However, before use, run a patch test to be sure it won’t cause the color to run.

SEE: Cracked Nails During Gel Nail Removal? Here’s How to Fix It


When you know how to, you can perfectly cure your nails at home. However, you can give yourself extra points if you know to safely take them off. Manicures like gel nails need special care when it comes to the removal stage. This is because if you do them anyhow, you may ruin your nails.

Different DIY materials lie idly around the house that will be very handy when you remove gel nail polish. Because you cannot foretell slips, you should know how the materials and how to use them beforehand. Someday, you’ll need them to save the day.

Finally, when you want to remove gel nail polish from your clothes; before you go ahead to treat the stain, check for the safety of your fabric with the material. Do a patch test to be sure. Those fabrics that do not tolerate acetone should be treated with other materials like dish soap or hydrogen peroxide.

Thanks for reading.

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