How to Remove Acrylic Nails at Home: The DIY Guide

“Hey, look at those shiny long nails which she got perfectly manicured; Oh, and don’t forget to look at the way she’s flaunting them!” “I wish I could have them but for now, acrylic nails can fix things for me”. These are the thoughts that probably every girl have once encountered in her life whenever she sees one of those lucky girls blessed with natural long nails. With Instagram filters not giving much help to those not so perfectly done nails, girls like us are left with the choice of acrylic nails.

But wait, the struggle isn’t over yet. In fact, it has only just begun. Acrylic nails turn out to be the stubborn ones when we wish to remove them. Not only that, they are harmful to the nail as well and make them even weaker and unhealthier. If not removed on time or improperly, they can even end up severely injuring the nail bed.

Whoa! Did I just scare you? Let me cover up by presenting some of the tried and tested DIYs to remove those mulish, nasty yet attractive creatures. These hassle-free steps are crafted for you to make it simple to remove acrylic nails at home. Include this to your personal care regime and I am sure you will be able to get rid of those acrylic nails in no time. 

Pro Tip: Keep your excitement in the backseat and get your nails checked at the dermatologist first. The nail examination will help you figure out whether your nails are healthy enough to take the load or not. It is suggested to not use acrylic nails if your nails are brittle and weak as the filling process will make it weak and thin.

How to Remove Acrylic Nails at Home- 5 DIY Steps

So, all set for the task? Before we get to learn how to remove acrylic nails, first let us get a clear picture of what exactly they are. Acrylic nails are artificial nails which are made up of powdered material which can be softened easily. Moving ahead, let me detail you about the idea behind how to remove acrylic nails. You will first have to be patient enough to let the nails get soft. Also, try to file and cut the long nails as softer and shorter nails will make it hassle-free to get rid of.

1. Acetone to your rescue

Acrylic nails are nothing but chemicals, so, to treat them you need chemical as well. Worry not, this Acetone is easily available in the market and can prove to be the best solution for removing acrylic nails in the comfort of your home.

You will need:

  • Acetone (100%)
  • Cotton balls
  • Aluminum foil
  • Nail buffer, tweezers and nail filers

There are two methods to do this:

  • Method one: Let the cotton balls drink up as much as acetone as it can and till then, find some aluminum foil for your nail size. Now that you are ready with your pre-requisites, start covering your nails with the cotton balls and then, cover it up with the foil. Wait for 20 minutes (yes, you can watch your favorite videos on Netflix while doing the boring stuff), and then uncover the nails and start removing the acrylics. You can use nail buffers or tweezers to scrape off the acrylic nails.
  • Method two: This is another, simpler task; pour acetone in a bowl and soak up the acrylic nails completely in it for 30 minutes. Once your nails are softer, start removing it and focus on the cuticle area too. File off as much as possible.
Precaution Tip: Since acetone is a chemical, some of you might start feeling irritation. If you do, immediately stop the process. Further, rinse your hand with cold water and apply ointment if needed.  Also, since acetone is volatile and can cause difficulty in breathing, it is advised to use this method with the doors and windows of your room open. Apply Vaseline jelly before applying acetone; it can act as a shield to your skin.

2. Acetone-free Nail Paint Remover

There are plenty of acetone-free nail paint removers available in the market. This option is suitable for those who might have developed an irritation from acetone or are probably looking for chemical-free formulae.

You will need:

  • Acetone-free nail paint remover
  • Tweezers
  • Bowl

Dip your nails in a bowl full of acetone-free nail paint remover; wait for 35-45 minutes for the acrylic to get soft. Once you feel the acrylic is completely soft and has a comparatively easy grip on your natural nails, gently pull it off using tweezers. Since nail paint removers are volatile in nature and will easily evaporate, you will have to keep some of it handy.

3.   The All-purpose Dental Floss

Dental floss never fails to impress me when it comes to beauty hacks, from getting perfect winged eyeliner to a mighty savior from acrylic nails. This product is my personal favorite.

You will need:

  • Dental floss
  • Cuticle stick or orangewood cuticle stick
  • Cuticle oil
  • A partner (of course you cannot use two hands, remember)

To start with, gently use a cuticle stick or orange stick to from the cuticle end and make a space between your natural nail and acrylic nail. Now that you are sure that space is enough for dental floss to get in, ask your partner to help you. Start pulling off the acrylic by moving the floss back and forth; try not to be too harsh or quick.

While pulling off the nail, make sure to start from the cuticle side and not from the nail tip as this may cause severe damage. You can also file off the acrylics to make sure the process goes smoothly. Keep repeating this method until you get rid of the acrylic nail. Apply cuticle oil on your nails and gently massage.

Precaution Tip: This method needs a lot of patience as it is a comparatively risky trick; your partner will have to be gentle while removing the acrylic nail. Harsh strokes of the floss will result in damage of your nail bed, hence, your partner needs to take utmost care while doing it. This can be a painful experience as well.

4.   Water- the Magic Potion

Wait, what? Water can be effective to remove acrylic nails? Indeed it is, it is a magic potion which cures most of the body ailments and the best thing is that it’s chemical free.

You will need:

  • Boiled water
  • Bowl large enough for your fingers to fit in
  • Cuticle stick and tweezers
  • Moisturizer/jojoba oil

After you have boiled the water, let it cool down for a few minutes. In the meantime, you can start making a marginal gap between your nails and acrylic nails. Once you are done and the water has cooled down, dip your fingers in the bowl. Once you see that the acrylic nails are puffed and can easily be detached from your natural nails, pull it off using tweezers. To give a smooth finish, file off the remaining acrylic nails and follow up by moisturizing them with jojoba oil.

Precaution tip: Make sure that the water is not too hot or you will end up pulling your skin off instead of acrylic nails (yes, literally). Keep it as warm or as hot as you can bear, and keep adding hot water till the time passes. If the acrylics are not soft, try keeping your hands soaked in water for a longer duration.

5. Nail Filers

And in the end, we present the most obvious and tedious DIY option, especially if you have free time and are almost broke. But hey, it has a brighter side which is incredible; it is chemical free and can get the job done easily.

You will need:

  • Nail Filers
  • Cuticle stick
  • Cuticle oil


This method is not rocket science, of course, and you need to start with making enough gap between the cuticles and the acrylic nails. Once you have done the challenging task, it is now time to start filing off those artificial nails. Start from the tip this time, and gently keep on making longer strokes.

The idea is to cover small portions and start cutting smaller pieces of the acrylic at the thinner end, if possible. This has to be done with utmost care as you would not want to hurt yourself. Now that you’ve finished taking off the acrylic nail, remove the acrylic glue with the help of cuticle stick.

Precaution Tip: While you file your nails, take utmost care so that you don’t file or cut too deep to hurt your natural nails. The best way to ensure safe removal is to wash your nails constantly during the process and keep checking the intensity of pain. You will know when it will start hurting your nails more than you can take it.
Bonus Tip: The best way to achieve the best result is to not hesitate to any of the two methods above in order to make it simpler. For instance, you can start with filing your nails and make your acrylics thin, followed by dipping fingers in hot water.

Safety Tips While Removing Acrylic Nails at Home

Keep The following tips in mind while doing the above mentioned steps:

  • Never try to pull off the hard nails; it will cause severe damage to your nails as acrylic nails may grow along with your nails.
  • Always try the method as a pilot test instead of the final step, especially in case of acetone involved method.
  • After removing acrylic nails, moisturize your natural nails twice daily for as long as a month or maybe, even more.
  • Be prepared for the unexpected and keep the first-aid ready, in case if things go rough.
  • Never try to remove the nails that are older than a month, the older it gets the nastier it becomes.
  • Always use branded nail cleaning materials (Cuticle stick, filers, buffers, etc.), do not go for substitutes as these can turn your experience bitter.

How to Remove Acrylic Nails at Home- Preliminary Preps

To me, breaking a nail is even more painful than heartbreak; can you afford thinner and weaker nails? If you are shaking your head in complete disdain, here are few quick tips before you apply acrylic nails.

  • Go for an alternative: Look for less risky options such as gel acrylics; put on your researcher hats and search the internet.
  • Say Hello to Jojoba oil: To give your nails an instant healthy boost, apply jojoba oil regularly to your natural nails.
  • Deciding the nail technician: Only go for the technicians who are qualified enough when applying acrylic nails.  
  • Nail Care Cosmetics: Yes, your nails are as important as your hair; do not hesitate to spend on nail care products available in the market.
  • Only Special Occasions: I know it is tough but the fact is, it will surely cause damage to your healthy nails. Keep the usage limited to a special occasion or make it less frequent.
  • Quality of acrylics: Never hesitate to spend money on the quality that you re using; remember cheaper nails means more troubles, same goes with the glue.
  • Chose to refill over remove: If you have an occasion coming up and want to remove the nails just to re-do it in a better way, opt for re-fill instead.

Now that you have read the steps what are you waiting for? Put on your nails and flaunt them like a diva because you deserve that attention too. What’s the next occasion that you will be attending? Go get your cameras ready and choose the insta filters for the occasion that you will be attending next. It can be a college event, or maybe a get together with colleagues, or maybe that engagement ring that suits best with your long nails.

Be it any occasion, you can now use the acrylic nails as the secret of hassle-free removal, at the comfort of your home, is revealed. Not only that, but you can also save that extra money which is making your parlor lady rich.


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