Time to take off your acrylics and take a break? Well, you could go to the nail salon and get it done! but a lot of people are choosing to remove acrylic nails at home to save themselves the expense and the time. At the salon, they typically use acetone to remove acrylics, gels, polishes, and dip powder nails.
With acetone being so drying to nails, a lot of people are looking for acetone-free alternatives. Using vinegar to remove acrylics has become one of the many endorsed DIY acrylic nail removal methods.
In this article, we are going to talk about how to take off acrylic nails with vinegar, what you’ll need, along with answering some frequently asked questions along the way.
What’s The Easiest Way To Take Off Acrylic Nails At Home?
The easiest and most effective way to remove acrylic nails at home is to use an acetone-based nail polish remover .
That’s why they use it in salons, rather than vinegar or the other countless DIY acetone-free removal methods you may have seen online.
It’s reliable, inexpensive, and convenient.
Why Is Acetone Getting A Bad Rap, And Is It Warranted?
Acetone is harsh on nails, there’s no denying that.
As taking off acrylics requires you to soak your fingertips in acetone for 15-20 minutes, it can dehydrate the nail plate, cuticles, and the surrounding skin. It makesa the nails dry and brittle, and the cuticles dry, flaky, red and irritated.
Prolonged exposure to acetone has also been associated with nail splitting and white discoloration of the nails.
It can also cause overall thinning and severe brittleness of the nails if used too often in this manner.
So it’s no wonder that people are in search of acetone-free methods to remove acrylic nails!
You’d probably be surprised to hear that acetone is an organic compound that occurs naturally in the human body as a byproduct of metabolism, and is normally present in both the blood and the urine.
Acetone is definitely not good for your nails. But the real question is – are acrylic nail removal methods without acetone better for your nails?
The real question is: are acrylic nail removal methods without acetone better for your nails?
As it turns out, they really aren’t.
Acetone-free methods are much less effective. They require a longer soak time and they make acrylics harder to remove. This can cause those who are overzealous and impatient to try to remove them before they’re ready to come off, resulting in nail damage.
They also require more scraping and filing to remove the residue. All of this is much more damaging to the nails than dehydration from acetone, which can be remedied by properly taking care of your nails and cuticles.
Ask yourself this – Why do you think nail salons use acetone to remove nails? Surely, if there were a better, more effective, less harsh method, they would be using it instead.
How To Take Off Acrylic Nails With Vinegar
Still don’t want to use acetone (or just run out?). Well here’s our guide to taking off acrylic nails using vinegar.
Before we get into how to take off acrylic nails with vinegar… there are a few interesting things to note about using vinegar to remove acrylic nails:
- Mixing rubbing alcohol and vinegar together creates ethyl acetate, which is the active ingredient in most acetone-free nail polish removers.
- Vinegar has the added benefit of being antifungal (important for acrylic nails!), but can be drying to the skin.
- It’s best to use white vinegar, as coloured vinegar can stain your nails if you’re soaking in it for an extended period of time.
- You will often see the suggestion to use apple cider vinegar, but white vinegar is just as effective and much less expensive. Save the ACV for your salad dressing!
There are two “recipes” for removing acrylics with vinegar.
- Method 1 – Vinegar & Lemon Juice: Mix 1 part white vinegar and 1 part lemon juice in a bowl.
- Method 2 – Vinegar & Rubbing Alcohol: Mix 1 part white vinegar and 1 part alcohol in a bowl.
What You’ll Need
- nail clippers
- cuticle pusher
- a nail file and buffer
- a bowl
- aluminum foil & cotton balls (if you prefer to soaking in a bowl)
- nail & cuticle oil or balm
- white vinegar
- lemon juice or rubbing alcohol
How to Remove Acrylics With Vinegar
- Trim back your nails
- Soak your nails in as warm water as your fingers can tolerate without discomfort for 10 minutes. Pat dry and then file the tops of your nails to remove as much of the shiny topcoat as you can.
- Then soak your nails again in vinegar solution for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes….
- Use a cuticle pusher to scrape off the acrylic. If it’s being stubborn, stop and keep soaking for another 10 minutes and try again. Keep soaking until you are able to remove the acrylic without pain or excessive force.
- Most importantly – be patient! If you’ve removed acrylics or have had them removed at the salon with acetone before, don’t expect them to come off as quickly. It will take a lot longer.
- Once you’ve scraped off as much as you can – don’t scrape too much or too hard, or you’ll damage your natural nail! – use the coarse side of your buffer to remove any acrylic residue
- Apply a nail and cuticle oil or balm and massage into your nails and cuticles and use the soft side of your buffer to shine them up.
- Re-apply cuticle oil or balm and massage it in.
Don’t Try To Substitute Ingredients
Just a final caution if you are removing acrylics at home:
With all the DIY hacks around, sometimes it can feel like you can make a homemade version of almost anything. But this is where you should NOT get creative and start trying things on your own, especially when it comes to making homemade cleaning or removing products.
If you don’t have lemon juice or alcohol around, go out and buy some or maybe just use regular nail polish remover. Don’t be thinking you can just look through your cabinets and decide you can substitute one of these ingredients with another cleaning product.
You may think that of all the things you have in your house, bleach might work. After all, it’s great at cleaning and disinfecting and it’s super strong. And if you’re cleaning with bleach it’s highly recommended to use gloves so the bleach doesn’t ruin your acrylic manicure because it can cause the nails to lift or pop off.
So, no harm in trying it, right?
WRONG! Never use bleach or any other household cleaning product to try and remove acrylics either on their own or mixing them together, or with other things.
Mixing bleach with vinegar or lemon juice produces potentially lethal chlorine gas.
Mixing alcohol and bleach produces chloroform, which can knock you out and damage your organs while you’re lying there on the floor, unconscious, inhaling the fumes.
Hydrogen peroxide is another commonly used ingredient in DIY hacks for all sorts of things. But if you mix it with vinegar, it creates peracetic acid (also known as peroxyacetic acid), which is a HIGHLY CORROSIVE CHEMICAL.
Any contact with the skin and eyes can cause severe burns, leading to permanent damage. It can also cause damage to the upper respiratory tract from inhalation of fumes.
So, if you are trying to remove acrylics, stick with either an acetone nail polish remover or one of these vinegar combinations (with alcohol or lemon juice), which you know are not dangerous or could possibly kill you.