Creatas/Creatas/Getty Images

To look polished, many women opt to have acrylic fingernails applied to their real fingernails at the nail salon. Acrylic nails are applied using a gel coating that dries over your regular nails; they are strong and difficult to remove from your fingers. Like your regular nails, acrylics tend to become dirty underneath from everyday activities such as playing with your kids, working in the yard and spending time doing the things you enjoy. You'll need to keep your acrylic nails clean to be sure bacteria or fungus doesn't get under them.

Clean the dirt from under your acrylic nails by washing your hands with antibacterial soap. Bacteria and fungus can grow under the acrylic nails. Be sure to dry your nails thoroughly. Moisture can not only cause the acrylic nails to lift off your own nails but can also promote growth of bacteria or fungus. Wear gloves when engaging in activities such as washing dishes or when using chemical cleaners.

Use a soft-bristle toothbrush or nail brush on your acrylics to remove hard to reach dirt underneath the nails. Gently run the brush underneath the nails to remove dirt. Use the brush wet or dry, and scrub for only a few seconds to remove dirt from under the acrylic. Carry a brush with you when you go out to quickly remove any dirt, food or makeup that might get under your nails.

Soak a cotton ball in rubbing alcohol, and use it to clean around your cuticles and underneath your acrylics to remove dirt and any bacteria potentially growing beneath the surface of your nails. if the alcohol dulls the shine on your nails, apply a clear coat of nail polish in the morning.