How to get nail polish off without nail polish remover

If you've run out of nail varnish remover, you'll be able to rid your fingers of any unwanted decorative coating using items you probably have knocking about your home. Using an alternative method of removing nail varnish will also be a good idea if you're worried about the damage an acetone-based nail varnish remover will do to your hands. Some nail varnish removers can cause your nails and cuticles to dehydrate and crack.

Gently rub your nails with a file to remove your varnish. This will be a rather slow process if you've built up a few layers over an extended period of time, but is a good alternative to using an abrasive nail varnish remover. Intermittently wash your hands with warm water and soap while you work to get rid of any residue. Apply a moisturiser to your nails when you're finished.

Apply a small amount of rubbing alcohol to a cotton wool pad and wipe your varnished nails. If you're dealing with a particularly thick layer of varnish, soak a pad in alcohol and secure it on top of your nail with an elastic band. Leave the pad in place for around five minutes, and then gently rub the varnish away. You may need to use a nail file after applying rubbing alcohol for stubborn coatings. Again, apply moisturiser to your nails when you're done.

Apply a fresh coat of varnish to your nails and then immediately wipe it off with a cotton wool pad. The fresh layer of varnish will bond with the older coat upon application, making it easier to remove.

Create an entirely natural nail varnish remover by soaking a cotton wool pad in vinegar. While you're letting your pad soak, place slices of lemon on your varnished nails. The acid in the lemons will start to dissolve your varnish. After five minutes, rub your nails with your vinegar-soaked pad. If you're dealing with an especially ingrained layer of varnish, secure your pad onto your nails with and elastic band and leave it for a further five minutes. Once you've removed your varnish, apply a moisturiser to your nails. Vinegar and lemon juice can dry your cuticles out.

Things You'll Need

  • Nail file
  • Soap
  • Moisturiser
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Cotton wool pads
  • Elastic band
  • Nail varnish
  • Vinegar
  • Lemon
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About the Author

Michael Roennevig has been a journalist since 2003. He has written on politics, the arts, travel and society for publications such as "The Big Issue" and "Which?" Roennevig holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the Surrey Institute and a postgraduate diploma from the National Council for the Training of Journalists at City College, Brighton.