What is a substitute for fingernail polish remover?

Written by eileengallagher
  • Share
  • Tweet
  • Share
  • Pin
  • Email
What is a substitute for fingernail polish remover?
Many solutions are available. (manicure-nail polish remover image by Leticia Wilson from Fotolia.com)

Both 99-percent isopropyl alcohol and hydrogen peroxide are good substitutes for nail polish remover. Just soak your nails in warm water, dab a cottonball with either the alcohol or the peroxide and apply to your nails. The polish should come right off. If this doesn't work as quickly as you'd like, just soak your nails in warm water mixed with a little alcohol or peroxide, and the nail polish should dissolve in the solution.

Nail Polish on Nail Polish

Ironically, nail polish remover is also an ingredient in nail polish. So, if you apply a fresh coat of polish to your polished nails, the hardened polish already on your nails should start to dissolve and you can wipe it off with a cottonball.


Most nail polish removers are made from acetone. When a nail polish remover is labelled as non-acetone, the main ingredient is generally ethyl acetate. According to Chimera's Nail Polish Blog, you can make your own nail polish remover by mixing 6 parts of acetone with 4 parts of ethyl acetate, both of which are generally available at hardware stores or home centres. Acetone can make nails dry, so you might want to add some aloe vera to infuse moisture and perhaps some essential oils to add fragrance.


If you're making up our own nail polish remover, wear a mask while you're working. If you inhale pure acetone, you may experience headache, eye irritation or other side effects. Acetone is also highly flammable, so be careful while mixing, store in an airtight container and dispose of used cotton balls or unused solution in a sealed rubbish bin.

Lacquer thinner

The Chimera Nail Polish Blog also suggests that if you have a lacquer thinner, such as methyl ethyl ketone, in your garage, you can use a bit of it to remove your nail polish. However, these are strong chemicals to use sparingly and should never become your standard substitute for nail polish remover. Methyl ethyl ketone is highly flammable and should not be inhaled.

Last resorts

The final alternative offered by the Chimera's Nail Polish Blog is to use hairspray, wet wipes or toothpaste. These methods are likely to be more time-consuming and may not be as effective.

Don't Miss

  • All types
  • Articles
  • Slideshows
  • Videos
  • Most relevant
  • Most popular
  • Most recent

No articles available

No slideshows available

No videos available

By using the eHow.co.uk site, you consent to the use of cookies. For more information, please see our Cookie policy.