How to Soak Off Acrylic in Pure Acetone

by Cindy Lobert ; Updated September 28, 2017

Acrylic nails are beautiful, but they require a lot of maintenance and can be costly. What's more, the longer you wear a set, the more problems you'll have with separation, nail fungus and other issues. Sometimes you might just want a break and have your natural nails back for awhile. Fortunately, you don't have to go to the nail salon for an expensive removal. You can soak off your nails at home with pure acetone -- and maybe a few other tools -- with relative ease.

Items you will need

  • Acetone
  • Bowl
  • Nail clipper with blunt end
  • Nail clipper with pointed end
  • Orange stick
  • Moisturizer
Step 1

Gather your items and find a room with good ventilation, as acetone has a strong odor. Make sure you have plenty of time, as removing acrylic nails can take awhile.

Step 2

Clip your nails as far down as you can, with the regular blunt-end nail clippers. If they are very long, you may need to clip them in stages.

Step 3

Pour acetone in the bowl. Put your nails in and soak them for 15 to 20 minutes. You can also do each hand separately, if you'd like to read a magazine or do something while you're waiting. It will just take more time.

Step 4

Remove your fingers from the bowl and use an orange stick to gently scrape off the acrylic. If it is not soft enough, or you can't remove it all, you can either soak further or try to remove the rest with a pointed nail clipper. Repeat with the other hand.

Step 5

Wash your hands with warm, soapy water and apply a good moisturizer. Acetone is a very harsh chemical that can dry up your hands and nail beds quickly, so it's very important to moisturize.


  • Make sure you are using 100 percent acetone, not a regular nail polish remover.


  • See a professional if you can't easily remove your acrylics. Sometimes expert help is required.

Photo Credits

  • Creatas/Creatas/Getty Images

About the Author

Cindy Lobert has been a professional writer since 1986. While her background is primarily in advertising copywriting, she has also published work for national magazines such as "Women's World" and "Louisiana Life." Lobert graduated from Michigan State University with a Bachelor of Arts in communications.