How To Take off Acrylic Nails With Hot Water? 100% Safe Method

Acrylic nails can be a great way to add some flair to your style and give your nails a little extra length. However, when it’s time to take them off, the process can be a bit challenging. 

There are many methods for removing acrylic nails, but using hot water is one of the easiest and most accessible options. Not only is it delicate on your natural nails, but it’s also a budget-friendly alternative to a trip to the salon. 

If you’re in a hurry, here is a quick overview of how to take off acrylic nails with hot water.

Get some warm water in a bowl, and soak your nails in it for around 10-15 minutes until the acrylic nails start to loosen. Next, use a cuticle pusher to gently lift the edges of the nails and slowly peel them off. Finally, moisturise your nails and cuticles to prevent any dryness or injury.

I really don’t like visiting the salon as the technician typically uses a special tool to gently file down the acrylic, being careful not to file too much and damage the natural nail underneath. This can create a bit of heat and pressure, which I really find uncomfortable. So I do it myself. 

In this blog post, I’ll walk you through the step-by-step process of how to safely take off acrylic nails using hot water, so you can say goodbye to those pesky acrylics and hello to your natural nails in no time!

Advantage of Taking off Acrylic Nails With Hot Water

Frankly saying, acrylic nails should ideally be removed by a professional nail technician or at a salon, as improper removal can damage your natural nails.

However, if you are unable to visit a salon or prefer to remove your acrylic nails at home like me, there are some reasons why you should consider doing so:

  • Save Time and Money

Taking off acrylic nails at home can be a cost-effective way to maintain your nails, especially if you don’t have the time or money to visit a salon. Acrylic nails cost you more if you remove them or put them on by a technician.

  • More Convenient 

Removing acrylic nails at home allows you to do it at your own pace and on your own schedule without having to make an appointment at a salon.

  • Hygiene

Taking off fake nails your own ensures that you are using clean tools and reduces the risk of infection from shared equipment at a salon.

How To Take Off Acrylic Nails With Hot Water? Step By Step Procedure

Taking off acrylic nails at home requires special techniques and products to remove them without damaging your natural nails. One of the methods that have gained popularity recently is using hot water. 

Before we dive into the process, it is crucial to understand the risks involved in removing acrylic nails on your own. 

If you do not follow the steps below, you risk harming your natural nails, causing pain, and potentially leading to infection. Here is how to remove acrylic nails with hot water

Supplies Required

  • A large bowl
  • Boiling water
  • A towel or cloth
  • A cuticle pusher or orange stick
  • Nail buffer
  • Moisturiser
  • Nail polish remover (optional)


Step 1: Boil Water

The first step in taking off acrylic nails with hot water is to prepare the water. Start by boiling a pot of water and pour it into a large bowl. 

Be careful when handling hot water to avoid burns. If you have sensitive skin, you may want to wait a few minutes for the water to cool down slightly before proceeding.

Step 2: Protect Your Skin

Acrylic nails are attached to the natural nail bed with strong glue. When removing them, the glue may come in contact with your skin, causing burns or irritation. 

To avoid this, you should apply a thick layer of petroleum jelly or lotion around your nails and on your fingertips. This will create a barrier between the glue and your skin, protecting it from harm.

Step 3: Soak Your Nails

Once you have prepared the water and protected your skin, it is time to soak off acrylic nails. Dip your fingertips into the bowl of hot water and allow them to soak for 10 to 20 minutes.

This will help to soften the glue and make it easier to remove the acrylic nails.

Step 4: Check For The Nails

After soaking, gently try to remove the acrylic nails. If they do not come off easily, soak them for a few more minutes until the glue is more pliable. 

Be patient and avoid pulling or tugging on the nails, as this can hurt your natural nails.

Step 5: Start Removing Acrylic Nails

Once the glue has softened, you can start removing your acrylic nails. For this purpose, I recommend you use a cuticle pusher or orange stick to gently pry the acrylic nails off your natural nails. 

Be gentle and take your time to avoid injuring your natural nails. If the acrylic nails are not coming off easily, you can soak them in hot water for a few more minutes.

Step 6: Clean and Buff Your Nails

After removing the acrylic nails, it is essential to cleanse and buff your natural nails. Use a nail buffer to softly pull out any remaining glue or residue from your nails. 

Make sure you don’t file your natural nails too aggressively, as this can weaken them. Once you have buffed your nails, wash your hands with warm water and soap to get rid of any debris.

Step 7: Moisturise Your Nails

Acrylic nails can be harsh on your natural nails, leaving them dry and brittle. After removing them, it is important to moisturize them to restore their health. 

I usually apply a thick layer of moisturizer or cuticle oil to my nails and massage them softly. This helps nourish my nails and keep them healthy.

Safety Tips For Taking Off Acrylic Nails With Hot Water

Although it is possible to remove acrylic nails with warm water, it is vital to take certain safety measures to prevent any damage to your natural nails or skin. Here are some tips on how to remove fake nails with hot water

  • Use a nail file to file down the acrylic nails as much as possible. This will make it easier for the warm water to penetrate and loosen the acrylic.
  • Make sure the water is not too hot, as it can burn your skin. You can add a few drops of essential oil or olive oil to the water for extra moisture.
  • Avoid using metal tools or other sharp objects that can scratch the surface of your natural nails.
  • Avoid ripping or pulling off the acrylic nails. This can injure the surface of your real nails and cause them to become weak and brittle.
  • If you feel any pain or discomfort during the acrylic nail removal process, stop immediately and seek professional help from a nail technician.

Aftercare of Natural Nails 

  • Trim your nails to a comfortable length and shape them with a nail file. This will prevent them from breaking or snagging.
  • Use a nail buffer to smooth out any ridges or bumps on your natural nails. However, be gentle and do not over-buff, as this can thin out your nails.
  • Refrain from biting your nails or picking at the skin around your nails. This can cause damage to your natural nails and increase the risk of infection.
  • Be careful when using harsh chemicals, such as cleaning products or acetone-based nail polish removers. Wear gloves to protect your nails when necessary.
  • Eating a balanced diet with plenty of vitamins and minerals can help promote healthy nail growth.

How To Take Off Acrylic Nails At Home? Other Methods

You may find various methods to get your fake nails off at home. But I’m trying to focus on the effective ones. Following are a few ways how to remove acrylic nails at home.

1. Using Acetone

Acetone is a colorless and flammable liquid with a sweet and pungent odor and is commonly used in many industrial, commercial, and household applications.

It is often used as a solvent in the manufacture of plastics, fibers, drugs, and chemicals. It is also used as a paint thinner, nail polish remover, and in some cosmetic products. It is one of the easiest ways to take off acrylic nails.

Here is how to get off acrylic nails with acetone.

Step By Step Procedure

  1. You will need acetone, a glass bowl, cotton balls, aluminum foil, a nail file, and a cuticle stick.
  1. Now, use a nail file to rub the top layer of your acrylic nails. This will help the acetone to move into the nails faster.
  1. Next, take some cotton balls and saturate them in acetone. You can also use acetone nail polish remover if you don’t have pure acetone.
  1. The next step is placing the soaked cotton balls on your nails, ensuring that they cover the entire surface of your nails. You can also wrap the aluminum foil around your fingertips to keep the cotton balls in place.
  1. Let the acetone soak into your nails for at least 15-20 minutes. This will help to loosen the acrylic nails.
  1. After the 15-20 minutes have passed, gently remove the acrylic nails using a cuticle stick. If the acrylic nails are still hard to come off, you can repeat the process until they are loose enough to get off easily.  

2. Using Rubbing Alcohol

If you’re looking for alternative methods to remove your fake nails without using acetone or costly nail polish remover, you can give it a try rubbing alcohol. Some people even use sanitizer as a source of alcohol. 

Rubbing alcohol is a common household item that is often used for disinfecting and cleaning surfaces. Its high alcohol content makes it an effective solvent for dissolving certain materials, including acrylic nails.

Here is how to get acrylic nails off with rubbing alcohol.

Step By Step Procedure

  1. To start the process of removing acrylic nails using rubbing alcohol, you will need a small bowl, a nail file, cotton balls, and some rubbing alcohol.
  1. Begin with filing the surface of your fake nails to peel off the shiny top layer. Next, bathe a cotton ball or any soft cloth in the alcohol and place it on top of your nail. 
  1. Cover your nail in foil or apply tape to hold the cotton ball in place and leave it for a few minutes to allow the solvent to break up the acrylic.
  1. After 15-20 minutes, carefully remove the foil and cotton ball and gently scrape the softened acrylic off your nails using a nail file. 

Note: It is essential to address that while rubbing alcohol can be an effective method for removing acrylic nails, it can also dry out your nails and skin. 

3. Using Vinegar

Vinegar is also a common liquid used for food flavoring. If you can’t afford expensive products, vinegar is the best way to get off acrylic nails. It consists of acids that can dissolve the nail glue.

Here is how to remove acrylic nails by using vinegar.

How To Take Off Acrylic Nails Using Vinegar
How To Take Off Acrylic Nails Using Vinegar
  1. Take some vinegar in a separate bowl and add a small amount of water. You can skip mixing water, but I suggest you dilute the solvent to save you the solvent. 
  1. Next, you can directly dip your hands or just nails into the mixture or use a soaked cloth or cotton balls. 
  1. Keep your nails in the vinegar solution for a few minutes, depending on the strength of the glue. My nails get off in less than 20 minutes.
  1. Now, try to push the nails; if they come out of the bed easily, it’s good. However, if they are still stuck firmly, you may put your hands into the vinegar for another 5-10 minutes.
  1. Once they are removed completely, you should use a skin caring cream or moisturizer to soothe your nail bed and especially your cuticles. 

4. Using a Credit Card

You can use a credit card if you’re bare-handed and want to know about taking off acrylic nails without using any tool.

Using a credit card can be the quickest way to remove acrylic nails. Although it is a little bit risky, and you may have to add effort to do so, believe me, I’ve done it many times and found it works.

So what you need to do is take an orange stick and pull up your fake nails from the side edges. Make sure you don’t puncture your skin underneath. 

Once an adequate space is formed between your real and fake nails, you can put your credit card inside the space and move it gently toward the cuticle until the acrylic nails come off. 

After the nails are removed, you can get rid of that glue easily. Just wash them with warm water and soap. 

How To Take Off Artificial Nails With Hot Water And Oil Combination?

Although solely hot water is enough to get your nails removed, I gonna give a tip to enhance the procedure and make it safer. 

We know oil can’t be mixed in water but applying it over the nails and around the skin will benefit you in two ways.

First, it will help you easily dissolve the acrylic glue and make it quite a sommelier to extract the nails. 

Second, it will ensure that the skin around your face and nail is not contacting hot water, reducing the possibility of burns. 

So I recommend you add at least a few drops of olive oil or baby oil to the Luke warm water when utilising it for taking off your artificial nails. 


How to take acrylic nails off quickly?

The fastest way to take off acrylic nails is by using hot water. Ensure you take precautionary measures and avoid boiling water or putting your whole hand into the water bowl. 

Does hot water damage your nails?

Yes, hot water can damage your nails if you let your nail dip into them for longer. The skin around the nail and cuticle may get harmed. So avoid using too much hot water.

Does dish soap remove acrylic nails?

Dish soap can remove acrylic nails as it contains detergent that dissolves the glue used for adhesion. 

When should you remove acrylic nails?

Acrylic nails can last for around eight weeks with proper care, but you should take them off after three to six weeks.

Final Verdict 

I think I’ve talked enough about how to take off acrylic nails with hot water. No doubt, it is a safe and effective method that can be done at home without the need for harsh chemicals or expensive salon visits. 

However, it is crucial to note that acrylic nails should only be removed when necessary, as frequent removal can damage the natural nail bed. 

Additionally, it is always a good idea to consult with a professional nail technician if you have any concerns or if you’re not confident about doing it on your own. 

With proper care and attention, you can keep your nails healthy and beautiful, both with and without acrylics.

Thank You!

Marissa Arnold

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