Woman hands with black manicure

For many years now, people young and old have been using press-on nails to enhance their appearance. These acrylic imitators are stronger than natural nails, simple to apply, affordable and fashion forward. All you have to do is choose the nail pattern that is right for you and place it on top of your original nail, securing it with nail glue. However, when positioning the nails, it is all too common to end up with a bit of nail glue on your finger. There are a number of diy methods you can use to remove nail glue off at home.

Warm Water

Begin by soaking the affected area in hot, soapy water. Put one teaspoon of liquid soap in a large bowl. Add water that is as hot as you can bear to touch, until the bowl is three-quarters full and sudsy. Submerge the glued skin in the water. Let it soak for at least 15 minutes to loosen the adhesive, and then scrub the wet glue with a nail brush or old toothbrush. This method is less harsh on your cuticle, but using cuticle oil after any of these methods is advised. Repeat if necessary, removing the glue one bit at a time.

Acetone-based Nail Polish Remover

Use acetone on a cotton ball to remove the nail adhesive glue. Place the cotton swab over the glue and hold it in place for 5 to 10 minutes. Acetone nail polish remover is a powerful solvent and will break down the bonds of the nail glue. However, the adhesive will need to remain covered for a few minutes, which could be uncomfortable if it is located next to a break in the skin, such as a hangnail. This method can also be used to soak off a manicure, if ever needed.

Special Products

Check the nail care section of your local beauty supply store. Many specialty stores stock products designed specifically for detaching false fingernails. If you must, you can buy many of these products on amazon. Apply fake nail remover to any residual glue for quick removal.

Use acrylic nail remover, if you can find it. This product is intended for those who frequently use artificial nails and would benefit from having a ready supply of it on hand. The product works a bit like an eraser. It is applied directly to the area where the nail glue has been erroneously applied. The skin is then rubbed vigorously with a towel until the dried glue pulls away from the skin and forms a small ball, which is discarded.


If you are unsuccessful in removing the glue on your own, a nail salon should be able to do it for you. However, before you resort to this, you may pick up a nail file for getting nail glue off skin, below it or not. If it is a thin layer, you may be able to gently buff the glue off your skin using the file. Using a hand cream or hand lotion after this is crucial, as your skin will become dry.