Can Nail Polish Remover Remove Acrylic Nails?

Acrylic nails are beautiful once applied. But you might be a little confused about how to get them off your nails when it’s time to remove them. You might be wondering, "Can nail polish remover remove acrylic nails?". The question is a common one.

If your natural nails are growing out and the acrylics are starting to look a bit tacky or uneven, you don’t want to pull them off. Here, we will look at techniques that would be best to remove acrylic from your nails so that they remain healthy.

Can Nail Polish Remover Remove Acrylic Nails?

Unfortunately, you cannot remove your acrylic nails with normal nail polish remover. But removing the nails will be possible with acetone remover.

100% acetone works best and there are a few ways in which this can be done so let’s have a look at how we can successfully remove the acrylic nails.

Acetone Soak 

This method is commonly used by Salons. Each with its own acetone soak technique. Just as the salons do, take care to work on a flat surface.

Technique 1 

What you will need:

how to take off fake nails with nail polish remover

Pour the acetone into the bowl and soak your nails in it. This is the quickest method, but it can dry out your nails. As you soak you will see the plastic melting and the gel polish coming off the nail. The longer you soak it in the acetone, the easier the nails come apart. 

To remove the nail, lift it from side to side. If some of the nails are not coming off easily, continue to soak them. Do not pull it off as you do not want to remove layers from your nails. The lifting should be gentle and easy. 

If you have any jewels on your nails, you will be able to use them again, it’s only the actual faux nails that will need to be thrown away. Lightly buff any excess glue left on your nails. Once all the nails are removed, wash your hands. 

Thereafter moisturize your cuticles with ORLY Argan Cuticle Oil Drops to keep your natural nails in a healthy condition. If you can, avoid working on a wooden flat surface. This is advisable because if there are any spills of acetone or nail polish (if you plan to repaint), it could damage the wood. 

If this does happen, read how to remove nail polish from a wooden table to save it. And much the same if you spill polish on your clothing or tablecloth. How to get dried nail polish out of fabric would be your go-to. 

Technique 2

What you will need:

how to take off acrylic nails without nail polish remover

Pour hot water from the tap into a large bowl. Take the zip lock bag and pour the acetone into the bag. Then place the bag in the hot water container, do not mix the acetone with the water, keep it separate. 

Then place your fingertips inside the acetone bag. Wait a few minutes then rub your nails and watch the acrylic come off easily. When you are done, take the paper towel to dry your hands and discard the acrylic nails. Lightly buff off any glue stuck to your nails.

Wash your hands and apply ORLY Cuticle Therapy Crème. You would need to massage the cream onto your nails and the surrounding skin to moisturize and condition.

Technique 3

 What you will need:

  • Acetone remover
  • Nail clipper
  • Nail file
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Cotton balls
  • Aluminum foil

Clip your faux acrylic nails to get rid of the extra length and file the top layer to make the soak off easier and faster. 

Apply some petroleum jelly to the base of your nail beds and your fingers to protect it from drying out. Petroleum jelly is also great to use when you mess nail polish on your skin. Read how to get nail polish off your skin to remove it like the pros. 

Take one cotton ball, dip it in acetone and place it on your nail. Then wrap some aluminum foil around the cotton ball to hold it there. Do this for each nail. Let your foil-wrapped nails soften for about ten minutes then check if the nail easily comes off the nail.

When you see the gel on the nails start to soften, file it away and soak again. If the acrylic doesn't start to come off easily, leave your nails to soak for a few more minutes.

After removal, lightly buff any remaining glue from the nail plates with a buffing block, and massage in cuticle oil to finish. The same soak-off method can be used if you’re curious about how to remove gel nail polish from toes.

Removing Acrylic Nails With An Electric File Or Nail Bit

This method requires expertise, but you must start somewhere, and like everything, it gets better with practice.

  • You will need
  • Electric nail file
  • Cotton balls
  • Aluminum foil
  • Cuticle pusher
  • Acetone
  • ORLY cuticle oil.

can you use nail polish remover on acrylics

Using the electric file, file the acrylics to take off the top layer. Handle the file with care so that you don’t damage your natural nails. Then saturate the cotton ball with acetone and place it on each nail.

Wrap the cotton pad with the foil and cover it completely, this will hold the cotton ball in place and wait for 15 minutes. Cotton balls are great to use with a remover, but if you don’t have any and can’t get to the store, there are ways to work around it.

Read how to remove nail polish without cotton balls to know how this can be accomplished. After your 15 minutes are up, unwrap the foil and remove the cotton ball from one finger to check if the acrylic comes off easily.

Use the cuticle pusher or a buffer to remove the excess glue on your nails. Rinse your hands thoroughly with soap and water and dry them properly. Then use the ORLY Argan Cuticle Oil drops to moisturize your nails and cuticles so that your nails stay nurtured.

Removing Acrylic Nails Without Acetone And Only Hot Water

Because nail polish remover cannot remove acrylic nails, many have tried removing their acrylics with only hot water. This method can be done successfully. It’s quite easy and very gentle on your natural nails.

 You Will Need

  • Warm water
  • Nail filer
  • Nail clipper

Soaking your nails in a bowl of water will loosen the glue. To start, trim your acrylics to get rid of the excess length. Fill the bowl with hot tap water, as hot as you can handle. Dip your fingernails in the water and sit back.

This process takes longer than the other so pull up your favorite series and watch while you relax for about 40 minutes. Try to keep pouring hot water into the bowl to keep the temperature consistent.

Argan Oil hand crème is an Ultra-luxe hydrating crème. It contains Argan Oil, Jojoba Oil, and Shea Butter. This provides intense hydration which is exactly what you need to keep your hands moisturized. It also contains vitamin E to protect against free radicals.


Using a normal nail polish remover may not be able to remove your once beautiful acrylic nails, but it certainly should not be a deterrent for you to do this at home. Yes, the pros may do it best, but DIY and saving yourself time and money is more convenient.

Following these techniques above will help you remove your acrylic nails successfully so don’t be hesitant to try it. And once all removed, give your nails and hands a break so that you can rehydrate and moisturize your natural nails keeping them healthy.

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