How to Take Off Nail Polish without Nail Polish Remover – 10 Alternatives

No matter how good a manicure is, it won’t last forever. Chipped nail polish can be very frustrating; it looks hideous and can bring your nail game down, especially when you are out of nail polish remover. If you’ve ever found yourself in a situation where you’ve run out of nail polish remover, try these alternatives instead of panicking.

They are tried, tested and worthy. Moreover, the best part is they won’t just help get rid of nail polish in minutes; they can also help lighten yellow and dull nails.

How To Remove Nail Polish Without Nail Polish Remover

Remove Nail Polish Without Nail Polish Remover

1. Toothpaste

Generally, most toothpaste contains Ethyl Acetate, a common ingredient in nail polish removers. Toothpaste with baking soda as a common ingredient often gives the best result.

Rub a small amount of toothpaste on your nails, then start scrubbing with an old toothbrush. After a few minutes, grab a cloth or paper towel to wipe and see if it worked. If the nail polish doesn’t come off, repeat the process.

2. Perfume

Another way to remove nail polish is to use perfumes, specifically ones with an alcohol base. You might be required to use more quantity as the percentage of alcohol in most perfumes is between 1-3 percent which is very low to give the best result. To try this method, take a cotton ball and spray the perfume on it.

Then gently dab onto your nails on each hand. If the cotton ball becomes saturated with color, replace it and repeat the process. You should see the nail polish coming off by now.

3. Hand Sanitizer

Hand sanitizers are high in alcohol concentration, so they can effectively remove nail polish. All you need to do is put a little sanitizer on the cotton ball or paper towel and rub the nails on each hand. If it doesn’t come off, repeat the process till you get your desired results.

4. Vinegar and Lemon Juice

Vinegar is a common ingredient found in homes and local supermarkets, and it is also an acidic ingredient that can break down nail polish. When combined with Lemon juice, which is also acidic, it offers the best result and is chemical free.


  1. 2-4 tablespoons of vinegar
  2. Lemon juice
  3. Cotton ball
  4. Shallow ball

How To Use

Step One

Soak the nails in warm water for 10-15 minutes before removing nail polish. This can help speed up the process.

Step Two

Mix the vinegar and lemon juice. Stir the mixture and soak a cotton ball in it, then press it onto your nails and hold for 10-20 seconds. This will dissolve the nail enamel and make removing the nail polish easier.

Step Three

Use a cotton ball to wipe the polish off. It might not come off immediately, especially if there are several coats.

Step Four

Wash your hands thoroughly and apply your favorite hand cream while giving your hands a massage.

5. Hydrogen Peroxide And Hot Water Soak

Hydrogen peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is one of those random products that nearly everyone has lying around somewhere in their home. Usually, hydrogen peroxide is used in many cosmetics and beauty products for lightening purposes and can also help remove old nail polish.

What You’ll Need

  1. Hydrogen Peroxide
  2. Hot Water
  3. Shallow bowl
  4. Nail file

How To Use

Mix ½ cup of hydrogen peroxide with ¼ cup of hot water. Then soak your nails in the solution and massage the polish off your hands. Use a nail file to file off any remnants of nail polish. Remember to use cuticle oil and moisturizer once you’re done.

6. Alcohol

If you don’t have vinegar and lemon juice, use rubbing alcohol as an alternative, as it is more natural and less harsh than chemicals found in most nail removers. Rubbing alcohol can be highly beneficial for those with nail infections as the alcohol has antibacterial properties.

What You’ll Need

  1. Rubbing Alcohol
  2. A shallow bowl of lukewarm water
  3. Cotton ball

How To Use

Step One

Soak your nails for 10-15 minutes in a bowl of lukewarm water.

Step Two

Saturate a cotton ball with alcohol and use it to wipe off the nail polish.

Step Three

Repeat the process if there are still remnants of nail polish on your nails.

Step Four

Use a moisturizer and cuticle oil to give your nails a good massage.

7. Hairspray

Most hairsprays contain running alcohol which is an alternative to nail polish remover. Spray the bottle onto your nails and wipe it off with a cotton pad or a paper towel.

It would be best to wipe the hairspray quickly before it dries up and becomes sticky. When all the polish has been removed, wash your hands thoroughly and give your hands a good massage with your favorite moisturizer or hand cream.

Other Methods You Can Try

8. Deodorant

If you don’t have access to the above supplies, you can try using a deodorant. Most deodorants contain solvents that can act as great nail polish removers.

What You’ll Need

  1. Deodorant
  2. Cotton ball

How To Use

Step One

Before doing this, try running a patch test to ensure you are not allergic to deodorants.

Step Two

Keep your deodorant spray at a closer range and spray it on your nails.

Step Three

Wipe it off immediately with a cotton ball. This may take more time to be effective than your regular removers.

9. Nail Polish Top Coat

If you have a nail polish top coat, all you need to do is to apply the top coat on the nail polish and wipe it off quickly with a cotton ball. Ensure the top coat is wet enough to help peel off the nail polish.

10. New Nail Polish

Nail polish tends to dry out due to the solvent’s evaporation. Applying a clear coat of new nail polish and quickly wiping it off helps to soften and remove the old polish.

You don’t need to spend as much time applying the polish as you normally would because you will wipe it off anyway. However, please do not allow the new polish dry otherwise, it will be more difficult to remove and might take longer.

You might want to check out: How to Thin Nail Polish