How to Remove Nail Polish Without Using Remover

If you’re desperate to remove nail polish, but you don’t have any nail polish remover, don’t worry. You can get your old nail polish off using a variety of common household products.

Using Household Products

  1. 1Use alcohol and alcohol-based products to peel away polish. The stronger the alcohol content the better this will work. Of course, your first move should be to use isopropyl alcohol, also known as rubbing alcohol, but there are other products that contain alcohol (or ethyl glycol) in them. If you see this listed as an ingredient on a product in your home, that product may be effective in removing nail polish:
    • Perfume
    • Hair-spray
    • Hand sanitizer
    • Spray-on deodorant
    • Rubbing alcohol
      • While alcoholic spirits shouldn’t be your first option, clear, high-alcohol drinks like vodka, grappa, or gin will all battle nail polish. You may have to soak your nails for 10-20 minutes in the liquor for the best effects.
  2. 2Use white vinegar, or a vinegar solution mixed with lemon juice, to fight nail polish. Vinegar is an acid and all-purpose, all-natural cleaner around the house. So it makes sense that it could be used to strip away nail polish. For added effect, squeeze in half a lemon, or even some orange juice, to get powerful citrus cleaning power as well.
    • Soak your fingers for 10-15 minutes before trying to remove. however, do not pick away the polish with your other nails as it can weaken them.
  3. 3Use some basic toothpaste to scrub away polish. A dollop of toothpaste is all you need. Then start scrubbing with an old toothbrush or a paper towel. In general, white toothpastes work best as they lift and pull the color off your nail.
    • Furthermore, toothpaste with baking soda, a well-known natural cleaning solution, often has the best results.
  4. 4Mix two parts hydrogen peroxide with one part hot water and soak for 10 minutes. This means that, if you use roughly one cup of hot water, you use two cups of hydrogen peroxide. Soak in the hottest water you can find, lightly working the nails with your free fingers, then file the polish off with a nail file.
  5. 5Use a powerful solvent or paint remover alternatively, though it is not recommended. This is not a solution for every day, as these chemicals can be dangerous. That said, they will work to remove nail polish, often just as fast as nail polish remover would. The following products should be a last resort, and should be applied in a well-ventilated area:
    • Acetone
    • Paint thinner
    • Fluid Thinner

Using Your Remover

  1. 1Apply your chosen product with a cotton ball. Once you’ve found a product that can act as nail polish remover, soak a cotton ball or paper towel in that product. Then, gently dab onto your nails on each hand. Add more product to the cotton ball or paper towel as needed. If the cotton ball of paper towel becomes saturated with color, replace it.
  2. 2Let the product sit for a minute. As you’re not using conventional nail polish remover, you’ll need to let the product sink in. Leave the product resting on your nails for about a minute.
    • The longer you let the product sit, the better.
    • If you’ve tried this already, or need stronger remover, soak your nails directly in the solution for 4-5 minutes beforehand, then continue from this step.
  3. 3Wipe the product off your nails, scrubbing to remove polish. After the product has been sitting for a minute, wipe your nails dry. Once again, use a cotton pad or paper towel. It may take a bit more effort than would be needed with regular nail polish. Thicker or glittery nail polishes may take longer to remove. You may have to repeat the process if not all the polish is removed the first time.
    • An old toothbrush can aid in scrubbing.
    • Paper towels are generally sturdier than cotton balls, and may help get rid of some tougher polishes.
  4. 4Soak your hand in hot water, rubbing and chipping at the polish, and try again. Hot water will loosen the polish, allowing you to get another nail under it and remove chunks of polish. This is great for finishing up any last bits or weakening the polish for another round of DIY remover.
    • Get the water as hot as you can tolerate without burning yourself for best results.
    • You may need to soak for 20-25 minutes, so put it in while watching some TV and then wipe when the show is over. Reheat water when necessary.

Using New Nail Polish to Remove the Old

  1. 1Select another nail polish that will not dry too quickly. Nail polish dries due evaporation of the solvents it contains. Applying the second coat effectively softens these same solvents. This allows the polish to return to a liquid state and be wiped away. The best type of polish for this method is thin and slow to dry. A clear top coat would work, as they tend to dry slowly. Avoid quick dry nail polishes or sprays or drops that cause nails to dry faster.
    • Some blogs suggest that darker colors than the polish you’re removing often have the best effects. That said, the rate at which a polish dries is the most important factor. It should be slow.
  2. 2Apply the polish to one nail at a time. Paint the nail, covering the old polish. You do not need to take as much time applying the polish as you normally would as you are going to wipe it off anyway. Do not allow the new polish to dry. If it dries on, the nail polish will be even more difficult to remove which will take even longer.
  3. 3Wipe the new polish off quickly. Immediately after adding new polish, wipe off the old nail polish. For the best results, use a paper towel.
    • While many people typically use cotton balls when using nail polish remover, you should avoid cotton balls when using this method. They are likely to break apart or get stuck to the wet polish, leaving the polish stuck on.
    • You may have to apply some force for the best effect. While using a second layer of nail polish is effective, it may require slightly more effort than using normal remover to wipe up the old paint
  4. 4Repeat painting and wiping until your nails are free of polish. This method may take a few tries before it works correctly. Keep adding another layer of nail polish and rubbing it off. It may take two or three rounds before polish is fully removed. Difficult to remove polishes, like glitter-based polishes, will require more care.
    • This method is often a good start, removing the main chunks of paint.

Taking Preventative Measures with Glitter Polish

  1. 1Make a base coat with glue and water. If you struggle to remove nail polish due to a preference for glittery polishes, there is a way to take preventative measures to make removal easier. This method must be done before you paint your nails but can be a great way to avoid nail polish removal problems down the road. You make a mixture of glue and water that you apply prior to glittery nails.
    • You will need white elementary school glue, an empty nail polish bottle, and water. Fill the bottle with about a third of the way with glue. Then add water and swirl around until the mixture is thin enough to be spread on your nails.
  2. 2Apply and dry the glue base coat before putting on polish. Paint your nails with one layer of the glue base coat before adding your polish. Wait about five minutes for it to dry thoroughly before applying the next coat. If you normally use another kind of base coat, such as one to prevent staining, apply that after your glue base coat.
  3. 3Apply nail polish. When you are done with your glue-based coat and any other base coats you use, apply your glittery nail polish as you normally would. The glue has hardened on the nail, and the polish hardens on the glue. Luckily, the glue comes off of your nail easily with some force, making it much easier to remove.
  4. 4Soak your nails when you’re ready to remove your polish. Place your nails in warm soapy water for a few minutes. You can also run your fingers under a tap while lathering with soap. This will soften the polish so that it is much easier to remove without damaging your nails.
  5. 5Peel off your old nail polish. You can peel off the nail polish using your fingers. However, you can also use a cuticle pusher, a toothpick, or some other thin, blunt object if you’re having trouble doing so. Gently push it under the nail polish at the base of your nail until the old polish slides off. It should be easy to pop off completely all in one sheet.


  • Pure acetone or nail polish remover will always be more effective than these alternatives. It only makes sense to use them if you’re pressed for time or otherwise unable to buy more remover.
  • Applying a layer of certain popular quick-drying top coats over dry polish can cause enough lifting that the polish may come off in sheets. However, this effect is not universal and forced peeling may damage your nails.
  • You may choose to use a different traditional base coat to thin a glue base coat instead of water. Acetone or nail polish thinner should never be used as a substitute.
  • Too much nail polish remover (high in acetone) can weaken your nails, so use a base coat to prevent nail polish from sticking.
  • You should soak your nails in baking soda lemon and warm water then your nail polish will come out by itself after apply a moisturizer or lotion to your hands so they don’t get dried up by the lemon.
  • Rub an alcohol based product (i.e. hand sanitizer) on your nails with a cotton ball. Continue the process untill polish is completely removed.
  • Picking off nail polish is not a good choice because this could weaken your nail and cause roughness if you decide to paint your nail again. If it is too late and roughness has already occurred try using a nail file with a buffer on it, and then try alternating between filing and buffering the top of your nail.
  • A good solution is: Warm water, alcohol and toothpaste. This works especially well if you have glitter polish.
  • To prevent having nail polish all over your fingers, brush on some glue or liquid latex around your whole nail. You can then peel this off after you have finished doing your nails.


  • Always “spot test” a solution before trying it. Put a small pat of the cleaner on your inner arm and wait 10 minutes. If you don’t get irritated, go ahead and move on.


  1. http://www.cosmeticsinfo.org/ingredient/isopropyl-alcohol-0
  2. http://www.bustle.com/articles/56760-the-best-ways-to-remove-nail-polish-with-or-without-remover-so-dont-worry-if-you
  3. https://beautyhealthtips.in/alternatives-for-nail-polish-remover/
  4. https://beautyhealthtips.in/alternatives-for-nail-polish-remover/
  5. https://beautyhealthtips.in/alternatives-for-nail-polish-remover/
  6. http://www.bustle.com/articles/56760-the-best-ways-to-remove-nail-polish-with-or-without-remover-so-dont-worry-if-you
  7. http://www.bustle.com/articles/56760-the-best-ways-to-remove-nail-polish-with-or-without-remover-so-dont-worry-if-you
  8. http://www.brighthub.com/environment/green-living/articles/77010.aspx
  9. http://www.bustle.com/articles/56760-the-best-ways-to-remove-nail-polish-with-or-without-remover-so-dont-worry-if-you
  10. http://nails.allwomenstalk.com/ways-to-clean-up-nail-polish-without-remover
  11. http://theindianspot.com/best-ways-to-remove-nail-polish-without-remover/
  12. http://www.nailsmag.com/article/108693/chemists-corner-quick-dry-drops-and-sprays
  13. http://nails.allwomenstalk.com/ways-to-clean-up-nail-polish-without-remover
  14. http://www.bustle.com/articles/56760-the-best-ways-to-remove-nail-polish-with-or-without-remover-so-dont-worry-if-you
  15. http://www.sassyshelly.com/2014/04/easy-glitter-polish-removal-how-to-make.html
  16. http://www.labmuffin.com/2012/08/notes-on-essence-peel-off-base-coat-and-how-to-diy-it/
  17. http://www.sassyshelly.com/2014/04/easy-glitter-polish-removal-how-to-make.html

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Check Also
Back to top button