remove dip nails at home

Acrylic powder was designed as a professional solution to longer lasting nail polish. Which is why it’s no surprise that it’s super hard to remove once you’ve got it applied! We’re going to go over a few different methods you can use to remove your dip powder nails at home (these methods work the same for acrylic powder applied by both the dip method and the monomer method), with and without using harsh chemicals such as acetone. I’ll explain the drawbacks and benefits of each method so you can choose for yourself which method will work best for you.

aluminum foil how to remove dip nails

How to remove dip powder nails with acetone or chemicals.

Using Acetone to remove your dip powdered nails.

Acetone is a type of chemical solvent that is frequently used to breakdown organic materials. Acetone is by far the easiest and fastest method of removing your dip powder nails at home. It can be bought at pretty much any drug store or your local Walmart. Many nail salons use acetone to remove leftover acrylic powder because it’s extremely efficient. The drawback is this harsh chemical can damage your nails if used too often, so use it sparingly.

Acetone takes around 10-15 minutes to completely breakdown your acrylic nails.

Items you'll need to remove your dip nails with acetone:

  • Acetone
  • A bowl or Cotton Balls + Aluminum Foil
  • Paper Towels
  • Nail Buffer Tool

Steps to remove your dip powder nails with acetone and a bowl:

  1. Pour acetone into a bowl big enough for two hands.
  2. Leave your fingers in the bowl for 10-15min.
  3. Take your hands out and wipe away the dip powder.
  4. Dry your nails with a paper towel.
  5. Buff away any excess powder left on your nails.

Total time: 25 minutes.

Steps to remove your dip powder nails with acetone and aluminum foil.

This method is great because you can still move around freely while removing your nail polish. You may not be able to use your hands for much, but at least you can move! This method is a little slower than the bowl method because the acetone isn't saturating your nail powder as easily, so it takes longer to complete.

  1. Use cotton balls or paper towels and soak the acetone into the material.
  2. Take small strips of aluminum foil and wrap the acetone soaked materials against your fingers.
  3. Wait 15-20 minutes.
  4. Remove the aluminum foils and cotton balls from your fingers.
  5. Wipe away excess polish with a dry paper towel and remove any remaining moisture.
  6. Buff away the excess powder still on your nails.

Total Time: 30 minutes.

How to use Isopropyl Alcohol to Remove your Dip Nails.

isopropyl alcohol remove dip nails

Isopropyl alcohol is another popular choice as an acrylic powder remover. You may be wondering “well, what’s the difference between Isopropyl alcohol and acetone?”. Acetone is a chemical solvent and isopropyl alcohol is an alcohol (duh) and they are two completely different compounds. Simply put, acetone dissolves a lot more stuff than isopropyl (acetone is commonly used in labs to disinfect test tubes).

Isopropyl alcohol helps soften the nails so that they can be filed down or wiped away easier. Acrylic nails are much thicker than normal nail polish, so you’ll need to leave your nails in the alcohol for quite a long time if you want them to soften all the way (around 30 minutes). While acetone will make your polish "peel-able", isopropyl will just soften it enough for buffing away. Most people don’t want to wait this long however, so they usually spend around 10 minutes soaking their nails, then file them down the rest of the way.

Don't have any acetone or isopropyl handy? Here's how to remove dip powder nails with common household items.

We don’t particularly recommend this method, but if you can’t find any isopropyl alcohol or acetone lying around at home you could use an alcohol substitution to soften your nail color. Things like mouthwash and hand sanitizer will work (or possibly even... wine?), but they aren't nearly as quick. But sometimes desperate situations call for desperate measures, am-I-right?

Here are the items you'll need to remove dip nails with common household items:

  • Mouthwash or hand sanitizer.
  • Aluminum foil and cotton balls/paper towels.
  • Strong nail buffer.

How to remove your dip nails with mouthwash or hand sanitizer:

  1. Soak your cottonballs/paper towels.
  2. Press them to your nails.
  3. Cover with aluminum foil.
  4. Wait 30 minutes.
  5. Remove from fingers.
  6. Wipe polish until dry.
  7. Buff away the remaining nail powder.

 Total time: 40 minutes.

How to remove dip powder nails without acetone or chemicals.

Removing dip or acrylic nails without using any chemicals can be a bit tricky! Acrylic powder is made to be tough, so naturally you’re going to have a “tough” time (harhar).

remove dip powder nails without acetone

How to remove your dip nails with hot water and a nail file.

Step 1. Soak your nails in hot water.

You can microwave a bowl of water or get hot water from the tap. The hotter the better! Soak your nails for around 5 minutes. Make sure your water is still warm during the process, because if it cools off too much, it won’t work right.

Step 2. Cut down your nails.

After your nails have softened a bit, you’re going to want to use nail clippers and cut your nails down. This is especially needed if you glues falsies on. Cutting them down will help loosen the powder hold and make step 3 a lot easier.

Step 3. Start filing your nail color down.

This part isn’t especially fun. You’re going to need a nail file or an electric buffer (the electric will be much faster). File down your nails until the color has been thinned out or removed completely. You can also soak your nails in hot water again once the color has been thinned. Repeat this process until all your color is gone!

How to remove your dip nails with hot water and a fake nail.

I actually got this method from my nail salon and like it a lot more than filing my nails down.

Step 1. Soak your nails in warm water.

Use warm water to soften the nails (as explained in the previous method).

Step 2. File down the sides of each nail.

file down sides of nails to remove acrylic powder
You’re going to want to expose the edges of your nails so that you can pop them off with the next step. This requires a lot less filing than method 1, so it saves a lot of time and frustration.

Step 3. Use a fake nail to slowly lift the powder away from your nail.

using fake nail to remove dip nail powder


Now use a thin fake nail and run it under your nail color, all along the sides of the nail you just filed. The goal is to give each nail color a bit of “lift” away from the nail bed. Once you’ve done all the sides, you can pinch the nail color together and pop it away from its hold on the middle of your nail. With this method, your nails will come off in entire chunks (they look kinda like falsies). 

And That's How you Remove Dip Nails!

And that’s it! We hope this helped you remove your nail color so you can apply a new set of beautiful nails. Do you have a special method you use to remove your nails? Or a favorite method? Share with us in the comments!

August 27, 2020 — Fairy Glamor
Tags: tutorial


Clara said:

This has been the best info if all I have read . Thank You. Just getting started am a beginner. I’ve done massage therapy and hairstylist for 25 years and needing to still work though I can do some nails to be able to sit some. So am changing my game plan around.


I like to soak of my nails. I take a plastic sandwich bag and put a paper towel in it about 1/8 of a cup of acetone. get a bowl of hot water as hot as you can stand it not hot enough to burn your self. put your hands in the baggies soak them in the hot water and rub them on the paper towel while soaking it takes them off in about 5 minutes longer if you have glitter on. when I saw this on YouTube I couldn’t believe it so I timed it. It took not quite 4 minutes to get the dip off . best method ever.

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Fairy Glamor designs unique 3-in-1 dip and acrylic nail powders in Galveston, Texas. We're a 100% family owned business that was founded in 2020 and went from making handmaking powders in our spare bedroom to shipping out of a big warehouse. We believe in both quality and affordability--that's why our powders are used by both professional nail technicians and in homes. Our unique colors are hand-designed to give you gorgeous manicures that'll make your nails feel magical.