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    How to Take Off Acrylic Nails with Hot Water

    Have you ever wondered how to take off acrylic nails at home? You're in the right place! Today, we'll walk you through the safe and easy DIY process of removing acrylic nails using hot water. Let's dive in!


    Acrylic nails are a popular choice for those who desire long, perfectly shaped nails.

    However, the time may come when you wish to remove them, either to replace them with a new set or to let your natural nails breathe.

    Removing acrylic nails can be a daunting task, especially if you're doing it for the first time.

    But don't worry, we'll guide you through the hot water method, a safer and less damaging alternative to using harsh chemicals or tools.

    Preparation for Acrylic Nails Removal

    Before you start the nail removal process, it's essential to prepare your nails and gather the necessary nail tools.

    This will not only make the process smoother but also help to minimize potential nail damage.

    Step 1: Trim Your Nails

    Start by trimming your acrylic nails as short as possible using a nail clipper. This will make the removal process easier and less painful.

    1. Hold the nail clipper at a straight angle to your nail.
    2. Begin cutting from one side of the nail and work your way to the other side.
    3. Be gentle and patient to avoid causing any damage to your natural nails underneath.

    Step 2: File the Top Layer of Your Nails

    The next step is to file the top layer of your acrylic nails using a nail file. This helps to break down the acrylic material and allows the hot water to penetrate more effectively.

    1. Hold the nail file at a 45-degree angle to your nail.
    2. Start filing in one direction only to prevent causing splits or cracks.
    3. Continue filing until you've removed the shiny top coat and the nail surface feels rough to the touch.

    Step 3: Prepare the Hot Water

    Now, it's time to prepare the hot water. Remember, the water should be hot, but not boiling, to avoid burning your skin.

    1. Fill a large bowl with warm water from the tap.
    2. Heat the water in a kettle or on the stove until it's hot but not boiling.
    3. Pour the heated water into the bowl until it's deep enough to fully immerse your nails.

    The Removal Process

    With your nails prepared and your hot water ready, it's time to start the acrylic nail removal process.

    Step 4: Soak Your Nails in Hot Water

    Immerse your nails in the hot water. Ensure that your nails are fully submerged to allow the water to soften the acrylic.

    1. Soak your nails for around 15-20 minutes.
    2. You might feel a slight discomfort initially due to the heat, but it should subside quickly. If the discomfort persists, remove your hands and wait for the water to cool down a bit before resuming.

    Step 5: Gently Pry the Edges

    After soaking, the acrylic nails should be soft and pliable. Now, you can gently pry the edges using a cuticle stick.

    1. Start from the cuticle area and work your way towards the tip.
    2. Be careful not to force or pull the acrylic nail off as it may cause damage to your natural nail.

    Step 6: Repeat the Process

    If the acrylic nails are still firmly attached, don't worry. Simply repeat steps 4 and 5.

    1. Soak your nails again in the hot water for another 15-20 minutes.
    2. Then, try gently prying the edges again.

    Step 7: Remove the Acrylic

    Now that the acrylic is softened, you can start removing the nails.

    1. Using a cuticle stick or tweezers, gently lift the edges of the acrylic nails.
    2. Start from the cuticle area and slowly move towards the tip.
    3. Be very gentle and patient. Never force the acrylic off as this can lead to nail damage.

    Step 8: Repeat if Necessary

    If the acrylic nails are still firmly attached, you may need to repeat steps 4 to 7. Soak your nails again in the hot water for another 15-20 minutes, then try gently prying the edges again.

    Post-Removal Care

    After successfully removing the acrylic nails, you need to clean and care for your natural nails to maintain their health.

    Step 9: Clean and Buff Your Natural Nails

    1. Wash your hands thoroughly with warm water and soap to remove any remaining acrylic residue.
    2. Buff your natural nails using a nail file or buffer to smooth out any rough edges or leftover adhesive

    Step 10: Hydrate and Moisturize Your Nails and Cuticles

    The process of removing acrylic nails can be drying to your nails and the surrounding skin. Thus, it's important to restore the moisture.

    1. Apply cuticle oil to your nails and cuticles, and gently massage it in for a few minutes. This helps to nourish and protect your nails and cuticles, promoting stronger and healthier nails.

    2. Follow up by applying a moisturizer to your hands, focusing on your nails and cuticles to further hydrate and soften the skin

    Assessing the Polish Situation

    Before you dive into the process of removing your acrylic nails, it's crucial to first assess the type of polish on your acrylics. This will determine the exact requirements for your removal process.

    If your acrylics are covered with regular nail polish or lacquer, you can move right onto the soak-off process. However, if you have gel polish or powder on your acrylics, you'll need to break through that top layer of color before proceeding.

    To do this, use a regular nail buffer or file to carefully saw through the topcoat. This will allow the soak to penetrate properly, making the removal process easier. Here's a quick checklist:

    • Regular nail polish: Proceed to soak-off process
    • Gel polish or powder: Use a nail buffer or file to break through the top layer

    Alternatives to Acetone

    While acetone is commonly used for removing acrylic nails, you can also consider a non-acetone nail polish remover.

    However, it's important to note that non-acetone polish remover will require a longer soak time — around 40 minutes.

    Removal Method Soak Time
    Acetone 15-20 minutes
    Non-acetone polish remover ~40 minutes

    Proper Removal Techniques

    It's incredibly important to resist the urge to break, rip, or bite off your acrylic nails manually. This can lead to significant damage to your natural nails and potentially cause inflammation, irritation, or even infection.

    If you're finding it difficult to remove the acrylic nails at home, consider going to a professional nail technician for an acrylic removal service. This service typically costs around $10-20, but it gives you peace of mind knowing that your natural nails will be minimally impacted.

    Acrylic Nails Aftercare

    After successfully removing your acrylic nails, it's time to care for your natural nails and promote their health. Here are a few steps you can take:

    • Use Cuticle Oil: If you're not planning on immediately applying gel polish or more acrylics, add a few drops of cuticle oil to the bowl during the soak-off process for added nourishment.

    • Use a Nourishing Hand-and-Nail Cream: Use a nourishing hand-and-nail cream at night to further heal your nails and keep them healthy.

    • Avoid Using Your Nails as Tools: This can cause unnecessary harm and damage to your nails.

    Remember, healthy nails are smooth, shiny, and a translucent pink color. If your nail tech notices any red flags such as excessive nail thinning, fungus, or a generally run-down state, it's best to wait before getting a new set of acrylics.


    Acrylic nails are a fantastic way to achieve long, elegant, and stylish nails without the hassle of growing out your natural nails. However, there comes a time when these beautiful extensions need to be removed.

    The hot water method offers a safe, effective, and DIY-friendly approach to acrylic nail removal that requires no harsh chemicals or professional assistance.

    By following the steps outlined in this blog post, you can successfully remove your acrylic nails at home, leaving your natural nails healthy and damage-free. Remember, patience is key throughout this process.

    Never force the acrylic nails off, as this can lead to damaged nails and cuticles. Instead, take your time, follow each step carefully, and enjoy the satisfaction of revealing your natural, healthy nails underneath.

    We hope you found this guide helpful in safely removing your acrylic nails with hot water.

    If you have any tips, tricks, or experiences to share, we’d love to hear from you! Share your thoughts in the comments below, and let’s continue learning from one another to ensure our nails stay healthy and beautiful.


    1. What materials do I need to remove acrylic nails at home? You will need a bowl, a towel, nail clippers, a nail file or buffer, cuticle oil, moisturizer, and a pair of tweezers or an orangewood stick​.

    2. What is the process to remove acrylic nails at home with hot water? First, trim and file your acrylic nails. Then prepare hot water, warm enough to soften the acrylic, in a bowl. Soak your fingertips in the hot water for about 15-20 minutes. After soaking, gently lift and remove the acrylic nails with a pair of tweezers or an orangewood stick. Finally, clean and buff your natural nails and hydrate and moisturize your nails and cuticles​.

    3. Is it safe to remove acrylic nails at home with hot water? Yes, removing acrylic nails with hot water is considered safe and effective. It doesn't require any harsh chemicals or professional assistance. However, patience is key throughout this process to avoid causing damage to the nails and cuticles​.

    4. Can I use acetone to remove acrylic nails? Yes, you can use 100 percent pure acetone to remove acrylic nails. You need to submerge your fingertips in the acetone for around five minutes, then start pushing away the softened acrylic with tweezers or an orangewood stick​.

    5. What should I do if I can't get acetone? If you can't get 100 percent pure acetone, a non-acetone nail polish remover may work, but it will take longer — around 40 minutes for the soak. However, it's important to remove the acrylics properly and not resort to breaking, ripping, or biting them off manually, which can cause damage to your natural nails​.