Rubbing Alcohol vs Nail Polish Remover

If you’ve ever looked up substitutes for nail polish remover on the internet, rubbing alcohol may have popped up as one of your results.

Many people question if rubbing alcohol and nail polish remover is the same. After all, they both look and smell similar. However, they are not the same. 

Although a type of rubbing alcohol (isopropyl alcohol) is used in making nail polish remover, nail polish remover is not rubbing alcohol.

Rubbing Alcohol Vs Nail Polish Remover

Rubbing Alcohol Vs Nail Polish Remover

As mentioned earlier, rubbing alcohol and nail polish remover are not the same. Here are some bases for comparison between these two.

1. Ingredients

While isopropyl alcohol is a type of rubbing alcohol used in making nail polish remover, the major constituent remains acetone.

The acetone content in nail polish remover forms the major difference between it and rubbing alcohol and makes it better for removing nail polish and extensions.

2. Appearance

Rubbing alcohol is a clear, transparent, highly flammable liquid while nail polish remover is translucent and very volatile.

3. Odor

Rubbing alcohol has a very pungent smell and smells like booze which makes some sense since it is still alcohol.

Nail polish remover has a slightly pungent smell, but it is made with scents and oils, so it will have some flowery undertones.

4. Suitability

Rubbing alcohol is best for disinfectants and can be used to clean household appliances. It can also be used to remove nail polish.

Nail polish remover already has its function indicated in its name. It is used only for frequent nail polish removal.

5. Pros and Cons

Rubbing alcohol is effective against germs and can be used to eradicate bad smells. Its main disadvantage is that it works slowly when removing nail polish. It may not be suitable for a shellac manicure.

The effectiveness of rubbing alcohol may depend on the type you have. Ethanol-based rubbing alcohol is the most popular type in the market but it is a less effective solvent.

Isopropyl alcohol is a much stronger type of alcohol and although it will still work slower than acetone nail polish remover, it is faster than ethanol rubbing alcohol.

Nail polish remover is very effective and works fast when cleaning the nails but the nails and cuticles can become brittle and inflamed due to the dehydrating effect of the acetone.

Can Rubbing Alcohol be Used to Remove Nail Polish?

As I’ve mentioned multiple times already, rubbing alcohol can be used to remove nail polish. The disadvantage of using it is that it will take a lot of time.

You will have to use a lot of effort rubbing and cleaning just to peel the paint off and the results may not be as excellent as using nail polish remover.

However, when you find yourself in a bind and you have no other option, you’ll just need to make do with what you have.

Can Nail Polish Remover be Used as Rubbing Alcohol?

Nail polish remover cannot be used as rubbing alcohol because of the acetone in it. Acetone is a solvent powerful enough to melt even plastic.

Although it is safe to use when removing acrylic and plastic nails, it can harm your devices. 

Rubbing alcohol is used for domestic chores and cleaning out appliances and pieces of equipment so if nail polish remover is used in the same capacity, it can easily melt the plastic in those appliances, damaging them.

Also, rubbing alcohol is used to disinfect wounds. Acetone causes extreme drying and irritation of the skin, so it should not be put anywhere near your skin injury. 

In conclusion, nail polish removers and rubbing alcohol are not the same. They share some characteristics and one can be used in place of the other, but that is all they have between them.

Both are highly flammable, so do well to store them away from open fires or sources of heat.

FAQs on Rubbing Alcohol Vs Nail Polish Remover

Is rubbing alcohol used to clean nails?

Rubbing alcohol can be used to clean nail polish and clean the nails in preparation for a manicure, eliminating any leftover residue.

Can I use rubbing alcohol instead of a nail polish remover?

Rubbing alcohol is one of the best ways to remove nail polish in the absence of acetone or nail polish remover. 

Simply apply some to a cotton ball or pad and place it on your nail. Allow it to sit for about 10 seconds, then start to rub back and forth until it all comes off.