How to remove acrylic nails at home safely

Old-fashioned false nails are easy enough to peel off and quite often come off whether you want them to or not. Ripping off acrylic nails, however, can at the least damage and weaken your real nails. It could even tear a nail enough to hurt you. If you’ve spent the time and money on acrylic nails, you probably do not want to replace that look with one of plasters all over your fingertips. Rather than pulling or picking them off, it is better to remove the nails properly. This leaves your real nails in good condition and prevents any injuries

Clip as much of the acrylic off each nail as you can. Briefly file over the top of the acrylic part.

Tear cotton balls in half and soak each half in acetone. Press each half-cotton ball over a nail and wrap in aluminium foil to secure. The heat inside the foil also makes the acetone act faster. It might be easiest to do one hand at a time. Leave the arrangement in place for at least half an hour.

Remove the foil and cotton from each nail and rasp away the softened acrylic with the nail file. Alternatively, scrape off the acrylic with a cuticle pusher. Rewrap and repeat as necessary.

Rinse your fingers in warm water once you have removed all the acrylic.

Rub a rich hand and nail moisturiser into your hands, focusing on the nails themselves. Acetone draws natural oils from your hands and nails, especially when used for an extended period.


Watch the television or read a magazine while waiting for the acetone to soften the acrylic. Removing acrylic nails can be a time-consuming task.

Things You'll Need

  • Nail clippers
  • Nail file and manicure tools including a cuticle pusher
  • Cotton balls
  • Aluminium foil
  • Acetone
  • Hand and nail moisturiser
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About the Author

Judith Willson has been writing since 2009, specializing in environmental and scientific topics. She has written content for school websites and worked for a Glasgow newspaper. Willson has a Master of Arts in English from the University of Aberdeen, Scotland.