How to Remove Acrylic Nails at Home: A Step-by-Step Guide

Acrylic nails have gained immense popularity in recent years due to their durability and ability to enhance the appearance of natural nails. However, there comes a time when you might want to remove them, either to give your nails a break or to try out a different style. While professionals at nail salons can easily remove acrylic nails, you can also do it yourself at home. In this article, we will guide you through a step-by-step process to safely and effectively remove acrylic nails without causing any damage to your natural nails.

What You Will Need

Acrylic Nail Removal ToolsSource:

Before you begin the removal process, it is essential to gather all the necessary tools and supplies. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Acetone
  • Cotton balls or pads
  • Tin foil or nail clips
  • Emery board or nail file
  • Cuticle oil or moisturizer

Make sure you have all these items readily available before you start removing your acrylic nails.

Step 1: Prepare Your Workspace

Workspace For Acrylic Nail RemovalSource:

Creating a comfortable and organized workspace is crucial for a successful acrylic nail removal process. Find a well-lit area with good ventilation where you can comfortably sit and work. Lay out all your tools and supplies within reach, ensuring ease of access throughout the process.

Step 2: File Down the Acrylic Nails

Emery BoardSource:

Using an emery board or nail file, gently file down the top layer of the acrylic nails. This step helps to remove the shiny surface and allows the acetone to penetrate the acrylic more effectively. Be careful not to file too aggressively to avoid damaging your natural nails.

Step 3: Protect Your Skin

Petroleum JellySource:

Apply a thin layer of petroleum jelly or cuticle oil around your nail beds to protect your skin from the drying effects of acetone. This barrier will prevent the acetone from dehydrating your skin and causing irritation.

Step 4: Soak the Acrylic Nails

Acetone Nail SoakSource:

Pour enough acetone into a glass bowl to fully submerge your fingertips. Alternatively, you can use pre-soaked acetone pads designed specifically for nail removal. Place your fingertips in the acetone and let them soak for about 15-20 minutes. This allows the acetone to break down the acrylic nails, making them easier to remove.

Step 5: Check the Progress

Acrylic Nails Removal ProgressSource:

After the soaking time, check the progress of the acrylic nail removal. Gently pry off the softened acrylic nails using an orange stick or cuticle pusher. If the acrylic nails are not coming off easily, you may need to soak them for a little longer. Avoid forcefully pulling or ripping off the acrylic, as this can damage your natural nails.

Step 6: Remove Residual Acrylic

Residual Acrylic RemovalSource:

Once you have removed the majority of the acrylic nails, you may notice some residual product still clinging to your natural nails. Gently file off any remaining acrylic using a fine-grit nail file. Be cautious not to file too aggressively, as you don’t want to thin out or weaken your natural nails.

Step 7: Moisturize Your Nails

Cuticle OilSource:

After successfully removing the acrylic nails, it’s essential to moisturize and nourish your natural nails. Apply cuticle oil or a rich moisturizer to replenish moisture and promote healthy nail growth. Massage the oil or moisturizer into your nails and cuticles for a few minutes to enhance blood circulation.

Step 8: Take a Break

Nail BreakSource:

Now that your nails are free from acrylics, it’s a great time to let them breathe and recover. Give your nails a break from any artificial enhancements for at least a few weeks to allow them to regain their natural strength and health.

Step 9: Maintain Nail Health

Nail HealthSource:

During the break from acrylic nails, focus on maintaining the health of your natural nails. Keep them clean and well-trimmed, and regularly apply cuticle oil or a nourishing nail serum to keep them moisturized. Avoid using harsh chemicals or exposing your nails to excessive moisture, as these can weaken and damage your nails.


Removing acrylic nails at home can be a straightforward and cost-effective process if done correctly. By following the step-by-step guide outlined above, you can safely remove your acrylic nails without causing any harm to your natural nails. Remember to be patient, take your time, and prioritize nail health throughout the process. With proper care and maintenance, your nails will be ready for a new set of acrylics or can enjoy the natural beauty of your own nails.