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Here’s how to remove nail polish without nail polish remover

Are you desperate to get your nail polish but don’t have any nail polish remover? Not to worry you can use a wide range of household products.

After all, there’s a hack for everything these days. Best of all you probably have these products in your bathroom or kitchen.

Like toothpaste or deodorant, it’s a pain in the ass when it runs out. It means trekking to the store and getting another one and can ruin your day when you’ve realized you’ve run out.

Why take an unnecessary trip to the shop when you’ve got everything you need right at your fingertips – just put it on the shopping list and get it when you next find yourself in Walmart or Target.

Well, now you can rest easy that you’ve most likely got the products you need to get the job done in your cupboards already. Plus we won’t have to deal with the horrid smelling, headache-inducing nail polish remover.

But here are all the tips and tricks of how to remove nail polish without nail polish remover.

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What can I use instead of nail polish remover?

Acetone is also known as the paint thinner, making it perfect for removing nail polish and gel. However, it is also a super harsh chemical and can be damaging to the nail bed and skin. But is there a way I can avoid using acetone?

Yes of course you can!

It may take a bit of elbow grease but in some ways, that’s much better than the headaches you get from nail polish remover. Let’s get into the natural options you can use instead.

Heres methods to use so you don’t need to use nail polish removers.

Rubbing alcohol:

Alcohol is a solvent so it can help break things down, such as nail polish. Soaking your nails in rubbing alcohol or rubbing it with a cotton ball will begin to dissolve the polish and eventually it will come off.

This method will definitely take longer than ordinary nail polish remover but it gets the job done and saves you a trip.

Alcohol spirits:

Like rubbing alcohol spirits like vodka, or gin with a high percentage of alcohol can also be used to remove nail polish remover with a similar method to rubbing alcohol. I wouldn’t recommend this as it is a much more expensive option, I’d go to the store.


Toothpaste is a household that we will definitely all have in the house but does toothpaste remove nail polish? It definitely will!

All you need to do is apply a small pea amount of either an ordinary toothpaste or one that has baking soda (a gentle abrasive) to your nails and then scrub in a circular motion. After a few minutes of scrubbing, you will notice that the nail polish is coming off too.

Be careful not to scrub too hard as it can damage the nail bed underneath and if you do use this method make sure you use cuticle oil after use to nourish the nails.

Hand sanitizer:

Nowadays we all have a bottle or two of hand sanitizer laying around somewhere. It can be used to soften the nail polish with the alcohol in the ingredients you can use this to soak your nails and rub with a cotton ball or cloth.

Hydrogen peroxide with hot water soak:

Hydrogen peroxide is another option perfect to remove nail polish and nearly everyone has it stored somewhere in the house, whether it’s under the sink or with the cleaning supplies. It gradually and naturally releases oxygen to remove the product.

All you need to do is mix half a cup of hydrogen peroxide with a quarter of a cup of hot water and soak for 10 minutes. You’ll notice the nail polish begin to peel away but use a nail file or buff block to remove the stubborn parts of the nail polish.

White Vinegar and Lemon:

If you’re looking for a more natural way to remove your nail polish then vinegar and lemon are a great method! The acid in the vinegar will soften the nail polish while the lemon juice will boost its effectiveness and kick out the horrible smell.

It’s super easy, just pour some vinegar in a bowl and add the juice of 1-2 lemons, soak a cotton ball to apply and gently scrub to remove the nail polish.

Peel it off

This isn’t the best method for your nails as you can take a layer of the nail with the polish but I find it the most fun out of the lot. Nothing is more satisfying than peeling away the nail polish and it peels perfectly.

It’s also the most simple out of the lot but just don’t do it all the time.

Hair Spray

If you have a go-to hair spray at home it will most likely contain alcohol and enough to remove regular nail polish.

Spray your hair spray directly onto a cotton ball then use it as a regular nail polish remover. Once the nail polish has been removed then wash your hands and apply lotion, your hands may be sticky.


Nail polisher naturally removed

Is there a way any of these methods would work on acrylic nails?

Now I know you’re probably thinking what about acrylics? Just run out of your acetone nail polish remover and want to remove your nails without having to go to the shop, is there a way you can remove acrylics without nail polish remover?

Yes, you can, but it can be a task at the best of times and not always the best method. Acetone is a tough chemical that is mainly used to pry acrylics off your nails, you have to soak them for long periods even with acetone in the ingredients so without it it can be a challenge.

However, here are some methods to remove even the toughest acrylics without the nail polish remover:

Soaking in warm water:

Soaking in warm water is a very effective method for removing acrylics. All you need to do is clip your nails as much as you can and pry them from the edges, soak your nails for 40 minutes in hot water, and then they should start to ease off. Here’s a tip: place a candle underneath the bowl to keep the water warm or just keep topping it up with hot water.

Soaking in rubbing alcohol:

Similar to soaking in warm water, soak your fingers in isopropyl alcohol, this has been proven effective in removing nail polish. It’s the same method to warm water but you just don’t heat the alcohol.

Nail file

This can be a tedious and much longer task than the other two and can be the most stripping for the nail but it gets the job done. Clip the nails as much as you can then file the acrylic off then pamper your nails with a moisturizer.

Helpful Tips And Tricks

All of these at-home methods of how to remove nail polish without nail polish remover may just work for you. I’m sure you’ll have the ingredients for at least if not the majority of these methods, but here are some tips before you remove nail polish without nail polish remover at home.

Washing your hands after you remove nail polish

It is so important to thoroughly clean your hands with soap and water after you remove the polish, this will help to remove any strange smell on your skin. It is also good to wash off any acidic chemicals that could hurt your skin. It may also leave your skin sticky such as the toothpaste and hair spray method.

Moisturizing your hands after removing nail polish

Some of these natural methods can actually be very stripping for your nails and can really dry out your hands. It’s important that after you wash your hands to apply hand cream, to restore some moisture. If you’ve found that your nails are very brittle mix your DIY method with some cuticle oil to repair the nails.

Protecting your nails from damage before repainting:

After you remove nail polish without nail polish remover, make sure you use a base coat as it will protect your nail from any damage from both the polish and from using some harsh chemicals.

These methods can be used as alternatives, they may not be as effective as nail remover themselves as the key ingredient is acetone which you won’t find in natural methods.

I’m sure you didn’t expect all of these household products to be able to get the job done and remove nail polish without having to use acetone or ordinary nail remover. Now you have alternative options in case you find that you’ve run out of your usual nail removers.


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[Review] in 2022  written by nail expert Jess RowleyCheck out the results fast - here are our review winners[dica_divi_carousel item_width_tablet="400px" item_width_phone="345px"...

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