How to Soak Off Acrylic Nails at Home – 5 Easy Ways

What’s not to love about acrylic nails? They are creative, fun, and a great way to enjoy stylish nails for longer. Despite the entry of gel nails, dip powder, and polygel into the nail area, acrylic nails are still one of the favorite beauty indulgences. What’s not fun about acrylic nails is that they seem almost impossible to take off, and you can’t just rip them off.

Otherwise, you’d end up removing layers of the natural nail bed and causing them to become paper-thin. Nails are composed of hard Keratin, which is what the skin is made of. In that case, the more layers removed, the more the nails are damaged.

You can choose to head to the salon and have a nail technician remove your acrylics and then redo your nails. But this isn’t always an option; most times, you’ll have to take matters into your hands. You can use a few hacks to get your acrylic nails off without heading to the salon.

How To Soak Off Acrylic Nails

1. Acetone

Soak Off Acrylic Nails with acetone

Acetone, also known as propanone, is the most common and effective way to soak off acrylic nails. It’s also the fastest way to remove acrylic nails. Acetone is a strong chemical that is quite potent although it isn’t the best for your natural nails. Because of its strong properties, it breaks down the acrylic so it can be easily lifted off the nail.

What you’ll need

  • Nail clippers
  • Nail file
  • Acetone nail polish remover
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Cotton balls
  • Aluminum foil
  • Cuticle Pusher

Step One

Trim down your acrylic nails with a nail clipper to reduce the surface area of the nail and allow the Acetone to penetrate the area of your natural nails easily. Trim the nails as short as possible because the less nails you’re left with, the easier it is to work on.

Step Two

Use a nail file to remove any nail polish applied on top of your acrylics. Make sure you file carefully to avoid damaging your natural nail.

Step Three

Prep your nails for the Acetone soak by applying petroleum jelly to the base of your nail beds and fingers. Acetone is hard on the skin, so this step will prevent the skin from becoming irritated.

Try not to get any petroleum jelly on your nails, as doing so will prevent the Acetone from reaching the surface of the acrylic nail. A q-tip is recommended if you need more precise help applying the petroleum jelly.

Step Four

Time to apply the Acetone to your nails. Saturate a cotton ball per nail in Acetone, then place directly over the nail, ensuring it is fully covered. Using strips of aluminum foil, wrap them tightly against the acrylic nails and let them soak for 30 minutes.

Alternatively, you can use non-plastic tape to wrap the cotton balls if you don’t have aluminum foil. You can also pour Acetone into a bowl and soak your nails. Do this if you know the Acetone won’t irritate your skin.

Step Five

Remove the foil and cotton balls from your fingertips and watch the cotton ball come off with the nail. Most times, the nail won’t come off easily.

You might need to remove one of the wraps, then use a cuticle pusher to scrape the acrylic off. If the acrylic is still hard underneath, reapply the wrap and leave your nails to soak for a few minutes before trying again.

Step Six

Scrape off the leftover acrylic with a cuticle pusher. The acrylic should be softened after the acetone soak, so take time to scrape the rest away; if the acrylic begins to harden again while filing, dip a cotton ball in Acetone to dampen it.

Step Seven

Apply a layer of cuticle oil to rehydrate the nail. If you do not plan on getting a new set of acrylic immediately, you can use a Keratin-based nail treatment. This treatment will absorb into the layers of the nail plate and will make the nail strong and healthy.

2. Soak Off Acrylic Nails without Acetone

Although Acetone is an effective way to soak off acrylic nails, you can also soak the acrylic off without Acetone.

What you’ll need

  • Nail Clippers
  • Tweezers or a cuticle stick
  • Acetone-free nail polish remover
  • Bowl

How To Use

Start by clipping your nails as short as possible. Use a pair of tweezers to lift the edges of your acrylics. Then pour acetone-free nail polish remover into a bowl, put your fingers in and let them soak for 30 to 40 minutes.

Make sure you pour enough so your fingers can be fully soaked. Once the nails start to soften, grab your tweezers and pull the acrylics off your natural nails.

3. Dental Floss

Using Dental Floss to remove acrylic nails

Another way to soak off acrylic nails is using a string of dental floss. The only thing about using a string of dental floss is that it requires a second person to work as two hands will be needed to pull the dental floss under the nails. If you are worried about damaging your nails, you might want to try other hacks listed above because this hack could cause damage to your nails.

What you’ll need

  • Cuticle stick
  • Dental floss
  • A partner to assist

How To Use

Use your cuticle stick to lift the entire bottom edge gently. Allow your partner work the floss back and forth. Instruct them to slide the floss back and forth and pull it up so the acrylic begins to lose. Ensure your partner slides the floss back gently and doesn’t yank the floss upward too quickly.

Continue this process until your natural nail is free from the acrylic. Finally, apply cuticle cream and moisturizer to your acrylic-free nails.

4. Warm Water

This is one of the safest and easiest methods to soak off acrylic nails.

What you’ll need

  • Warm water (should be hot but not enough to scald your fingers!)
  • Nail Filer
  • Nail Clipper
  • Orange sticks

Step One

Trim the nail to the shortest length possible, then lift the edges with a stick.

Step Two

Pour warm water into a bowl and ensure it isn’t too hot because you will have to soak your nails for a long time.

Step Three

Soak your acrylics in warm water for at least 30 minutes to dissolve the glue. Soak the nails at an angle where the warm water can easily seep in.

Step Four

If the nails do not come off, add more water and soak for some time. As you soak your nails for a long time, the water will start getting cold, so keep pouring warm water to maintain a constant temperature.

5. Laminated Business Card

Using a laminated business card is the fastest way to soak off your acrylic nails, especially if you are in a hurry.

What you’ll need

  • Laminated business card
  • Orange Sticks

How To Use

Use the orange sticks to lift the edges of the acrylic nails and make a small inlet. Slide the laminated business card into the inlet in an upward motion and apply gentle pressure.

Carry out this process one side at a time to avoid ripping a layer of your natural nail bed. Alternatively, you can use a debit/credit card to carry out this process. Soak the rest off in hot-warm water.

Tips & Precautions While Soaking Off Acrylic Nails

  1. Do not pull your nails forcefully; you might end up pulling out your natural nail bed and getting an infection.
  2. If you choose to go for the acetone hack, ensure there is no fire around you, as Acetone is highly flammable.
  3. Cover the table or surface you chose to carry out these procedures to protect it from acetone damage.
  4. For most people, Acetone can cause skin dehydration because it is a potent chemical compound. So if you feel any burning sensation right after using the chemical, seek medical help immediately.