How to Get the Smell of Fingernail Polish Remover Off Your Hands

by Kimberly Johnson
Sometimes washing your hands isn't enough to get rid of odors.

Sometimes washing your hands isn't enough to get rid of odors.

One whiff of nail polish remover, and you know exactly what it is without even looking. Most women are resolved to having this smell linger on their hands for hours after removing their polish. Instead of covering up the chemical smell with lotion or perfume, get rid of it by using household items with a slightly abrasive action. Not only will your hands smell better, there won’t be chemical residue left on your skin.

Wash your hands using 1 to 2 teaspoons of shampoo and water, while scrubbing all surfaces of your hands with a nailbrush. Make sure to clean around the edges of each nail and underneath them where the nail polish remover residue may be. Rinse your hands well and dry them.

Dampen your hands and pour 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar or salt into one palm; add 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil. Rub your hands together gently for 30 to 60 seconds. Work the sugar or salt granules over the backs of your hands and around your nails. Rinse well and dry.

Squeeze a teaspoon of toothpaste into one palm. Rub your hands together to distribute the paste over all surfaces, especially around the nails. Rinse well with water. Wash your hands with soap to remove any remaining stickiness from the toothpaste.

Fill a bowl with 2 to 3 cups of warm water, and add 2 to 4 tablespoons of baking soda. Stir up the mixture with your hands until the baking soda dissolves. Insert both hands into the bowl and let them soak for five minutes. Remove your hands, and rinse with lukewarm water before drying.

Items you will need

  • Shampoo
  • Nailbrush
  • Sugar or salt
  • Olive oil
  • Toothpaste
  • Baking soda
  • Distilled vinegar


  • Remove all rings and bracelets before beginning, so they are not damaged by any of the cleaning methods.
  • Try rinsing your hands with distilled vinegar before removing your nail polish. Then rinse them with vinegar again after removing it. Follow that by washing with soap and water. Rinsing before and after with vinegar sometimes makes odors come out of the skin easier.
  • Try using acetone-free nail polish remover, which has a slightly weaker smell.

About the Author

Kimberly Johnson is a freelance writer whose articles have appeared in various online publications including eHow, Suite101 and Examiner. She has a degree in journalism from the University of Georgia and began writing professionally in 2001.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images