How To Get Acrylic Nails Off Safely: Step-By-Step Guide (2023)

how to get acrylic nails off

As dainty and classy as they may look like, acrylic nails do have a limited shelf-life. What’s more, if you do not remove those on time, then that could impact your natural nail health in the long run. Having said that, are you wondering how to get acrylic nails off in a safe manner? Going to the salon and seeking professional assistance is the best way out. But if you wish to save the trip and surely some money, there are a host of techniques that you may try at home as well! 

In this comprehensive guide, you will get specific know-how about removing acrylic nails and some additional tips to save them in the long run. Read on for the specifics – 

How to get acrylic nails off: Safe hacks to try

The first technique used in this case is the acetone soak hack. This is a salon-special tip, wherein acetone dissolves the acrylic nails. No worries, this is a safe format and won’t hurt your skin. 

Items you will need: 

  • Nail clippers 
  • Nail buffer 
  • Acetone 
  • Wooden cuticle pushers 
  • Cotton balls 
  • Cuticle oil and petroleum jelly
  • Aluminum foil 
  • Nail file 
  • A small bowl 
  • Nail polish remover clips. 

Method 1: Acetone soak

Follow these steps to learn how to remove acrylic nails using the acetone soaking method. 

Image Credit: Pinterest

Step 1: Nail preparations

To begin removing acrylic nails at home, cut them as short as possible with nail clippers, reducing the amount to be soaked and expediting the process. Next, use a nail buffer to remove the shine from the polish, aiding in faster softening when soaked in acetone.

Step 2 :File and buff 

File and buff the tops of your nails to remove nail polish and thin out the acrylics. Use a grit nail file or a nail drill to remove the shiny topcoat and the acrylic bulk gently. Apply cuticle oil or petroleum jelly to protect your cuticles during the acetone soak. Stay cautious not to file too harshly during the process to avoid damaging the natural nails.

Step 3 : How to get acrylic nails off with acetone soak?

  • Place a cotton ball soaked in acetone nail polish remover on each acrylic-covered nail, ensuring it covers the entire surface. 
  • Now, wrap each nail with aluminum foil to create and seal and prevent the evaporation of acetone. After that, allow your nails to soak in acetone solution for around 20 to 30 minutes. 
  • You can also dip the entire acrylic nails into a bowl of acetone and wait for around 30 minutes as an alternative. 
  • Ensuring proper ventilation during the acetone soak process is essential to avoid respiratory irritations. 

Step 4 :  Check and repeat the process.

After soaking, gently lift the aluminum foil from one nail to check the progress. If the acrylic doesn’t come off easily, continue soaking for an additional five to ten minutes until it softens further.

Step 5: Gently remove acrylic

Carefully push the softened acrylic off your nail from the cuticle area towards the free edge using a cuticle stick. Stay calm and avoid applying more pressure to prevent natural nail damage.

Step 6: Final touch

After removing the acrylic, there may be some stubborn bits that won’t come off easily. Use a soft foam nail buffer to gently buff those remaining bits smoothly in this case.

It’s essential to remember that this method’s effectiveness may vary based on how the acrylics were applied initially and how carefully you execute the removal process. If done patiently, it can be virtually damage-free to your natural nails.

Additional tips for how to get acrylic nails off using acetone soak: 

  • If the bowl technique is used for soaking, only dip your nail tips to prevent drying out the skin on your fingers and hands.
  • After acrylic nail removal, provide some recover time for your natural nails. Consider taking a weeklong break from acrylics each month and applying strengthened nail treatments to promote nail health.
  • Intensive treatment for stronger, shinier nails can be achieved by covering your nails using cuticle cream and cuticle oil, then wrapping each hand in a warm cloth (washcloth) for around 5 minutes.

Exploring how to get acrylic nails off using acetone-free methods

Method 2: Acetone-free removal 

Image Credit: Good Housekeeping
  1. Shorten your nails by clipping the acrylic to reduce the risk of damage during the removal process, and gently pry and lift the edges of acrylics using tweezers.
  2. Put nail polish remover free from acetone into a bowl, quite enough to fully submerge your nails. This solution will soften the acrylic and make it easy to remove it. 
  3. Place your fingers in the bowls with the acetone-free solutions and let your nails soak for around half an hour. 
  4. After soaking, gently check if the acrylics have started to loosen and use tweezers to pull off the softened acrylics carefully. 
  5. Once all acrylics are removed, hydrate your nails and cuticles with cuticle oil or any other nourishing cream to restore moisture and promote nail health. 

Method 3: Quick removal with dental floss 

If you are trying to find a way how to get acrylic nails off quickly, dental floss can be a handy tool. But this method is best suited only for acrylics that have already started to lift or come loose. 

Image Credit: StyleCraze
  1. Start by gently lifting the edges of acrylic nails using a cuticle stick, and be careful not to apply too much pressure. 
  2. Ask another person to assist you in the acrylic removal process and take a piece of dental floss that is lengthy enough to slide under the acrylic to lift it. 
  3. Create a small inlet by prying your cuticle with the cuticle stick, and then ask the other person to insert the dental floss through the inlet. Be careful and maneuver it down the nail in a sawing motion. 
  4. With the dental floss positioned under the acrylic, continue the sawing motion until the acrylic nail pops off. 


Learning how to get acrylic nails off at home safely and effectively can help you in many ways. Although acetone soak is the commonly preferred method for this process, you can also find other ways to remove the acrylics. Regardless of your chosen methods, ensure patience and proper care while removing acrylic nails at home. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. How to get acrylic nails off easily?

Ans: There are technically 2 ways to get rid of it – the acetone format and the non-acetone format. 

Q2. How long to wait before taking off the nails?

Ans: Though there is no ideal time period for this, but technically you must wait till 8 weeks before you take them off. 

Q3. How to care for nails after acrylic nails? 

Ans: After you are done with acrylic nails, you must care for your normal nails a little more. Start by clipping off the extra growth, and nail use a nail hardener. Lastly, hydrate them regularly to prevent their drying out. 

Q4. Can they come off naturally? 

Ans: Though these nails are exceptionally strong, however, after 2-3 weeks they do come off naturally, if no extra protective cover is given to them. 

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