How To Clean Acrylic Nail Brushes

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As any professional acrylic nail manicurist will tell you, the importance of cleaning your tools of the trade is critical if you want to ensure they work properly.

This is not only true for nail technicians who do manicures for a living. Even if you are a DIY acrylic nail enthusiast doing your own nails, getting good results with brushes caked with acrylic residue is impossible.

You may have even tried to clean them only to have them get bent out of shape or fall apart on you.

Good manicure tools are not cheap. So you want to make sure you are cleaning them properly

In this article, we are going to tell you how to clean acrylic nail brushes to keep them free of acrylic buildup.

Get the most out of your brushes!


Why You Need To Clean Acrylic Nail Brushes

Acrylic Nail Brushes

If not regularly cleaned, acrylic residue will harden in the brush bristles. Once that happens, acrylic brushes are incredibly tough to fully clean, and the residue will affect the way the brush applies acrylic.

The longer you wait to clean them after use, the harder they will be to clean.

That’s kind of a given, and painters have known this pretty much forever.

But as we mentioned before, it’s not just about cleaning them, it’s about cleaning them properly. There is no point in having clean brushes if you’ve damaged them in the cleaning process.

Knowing how to clean acrylic nail brushes the right way ensures your brush bristles are soft and flexible. It will prevent them from damage and falling out, prolong their lifespan, and help you get/give the perfect manicure every time.

How To Clean Acrylic Nail Brushes

Acrylic Nail Brush Kolinsky Fur

The most important first step to keeping your acrylic brushes clean well maintained is to wipe your brushes after every use.

Using a lint-free cloth and monomer  (the acrylic nail liquid), gently wipe your brush, being careful not to squeeze or pull the bristles.

You will have to eventually do a deeper, more intensive clean when you notice that you have unwanted acrylic residue building up.

How Do You Remove Dried Acrylic From A Nail Brush?


Check if your brush came with care instructions that tell you how to clean it. If yes, follow the instructions you received with your brush.

If not, here are our step-by-step instructions on how to properly deep clean your acrylic brushes to remove acrylic build-up without damaging them.

Step 1: Monomiracle

Fill a small flat dish with monomer liquid deep enough to completely submerge the bristles. If you are using a dish, make sure it’s shallow enough that your brushes are lying flat enough so the bristles are not bending.

Alternatively, you could use a small jar or glass and suspend your brushes in the liquid using clothes pins or an elephant clamp. You can use anything that prevents the bristles from resting on the bottom of the glass.

You do not want the weight of your brush resting on the brush end because it will deform the bristles.

Step 2: Soak It Up

Let soak in monomer liquid for between 2 hours – overnight, depending on how stubborn the acrylic is.

Step 3: Gentle Rinse

Remove brush from the monomer liquid and rinse the bristles with warm water. Don’t pull on the bristles to try and scrub them.

Pulling on bristles can damage them or cause them to fall out.

Pro Tip: If after this step you find your brush is a little misshapen, gently massage a drop of dish soap into the bristles and reshape. Leave the dish soap to sit in the bristles for 48 hours. Then rinse with warm water.

Step 4:  Dry it Off

Lay the brush on a lint-free cloth or towel and allow it to dry thoroughly. It’s important that you lay it on a surface that will absorb the moisture.

Resist the urge to ‘help it along’ by squeezing or manipulating the bristles – leave it alone until it’s dry!

How NOT To Clean Acrylic Nail Brushes

Now that you know how to regularly clean and deep clean your acrylic brushes, you also need to know what not to do.

There are a wide variety of bad recommended practices out there when it comes to cleaning acrylic nail brushes.

We are going to touch on the most commonly used and let you know why these are things you should not be doing when cleaning your nail brushes.

Do Not Use Acetone

Good acrylic nail brushes are made of animal fur. More precisely, kolinsky sable fur.

Acetone is too harsh for these bristles. Acetone will cause them to dry out, become brittle and eventually break off.

It can also cause the bristles to fan out, not to mention weaken the adhesive that is holding your bristles to the brush, causing them to fall out.

1. Do Not Use An Acrylic Brush Cleaner

Most acrylic brush cleaners contain acetone, so you should not use them for the reasons mentioned above.

2. Do Not Comb Out Dried Acrylic

If you have acrylic residue build-up, you need to go through the full cleaning process to soften, loosen and remove the acrylic residue. Trying to take a shortcut by either trying to comb out or scrape out the dried acrylic will damage the bristles.

3. Do Not Let Your Brushes Sit Or Dry Standing Bristle Side Up While Cleaning

Water/soap/cleaner can seep down into the ferrule (the part of the brush that holds the bristles to the brush handle) and weaken the adhesive holding your bristles on.

Whether it’s when you are leaving it for 48 hours with the dish soap to reshape, or drying it, make sure you lay your brushes flat on a clean, lint-free, absorbent surface.

4. Do Not Press The Brush Tip Onto A Surface When Cleaning Or Drying

This will bend the bristles, causing weak points and misshapen the brush.

5. Do Not Use The Same Brush For Different Mediums

If you are in the habit of doing acrylics and gel nails, for example, make sure you have a separate brush for the acrylics and a separate brush for the gels. Having leftover residue of one can mess up the manicure of the other, plus make it harder to clean.

Final Note

Brushes don’t last forever and need to be changed from time to time. But by making sure you clean them properly, you can significantly extend the lifespan of your brushes. Good ones are definitely not cheap, so keep them going as long as possible!

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Written by Kayla Young

Kayla is the founder of LuxeLuminous. She has worked professionally in the tanning industry for years. She has been interested in esthetics since childhood, and has tried every hair, skin, and makeup product ever produced (more or less).