Acrylic nails are durable and attractive, but inevitably require costly and time-consuming replacements and fill-ins. Though acrylic nails should be removed entirely every so often for the health of the natural nail, following these steps will help you make your set last as long as possible and cut down on trips to the nail technician.

Get a shorter length manicure if you work with your hands a lot. Even the pressure applied to nails from typing can accumulate into breaks over time. Keeping the acrylics short can help alleviate stress to the nails.

Wear gloves when doing housework and using chemical cleaners. Yes, it’s a pain to have to don ugly rubber gloves every time you wipe down the counter, but each time those cleaners come into contact with your manicure, the acrylic breaks down a little more. At minimum, wear gloves while doing dishes and cleaning bathrooms.

File “lifted” areas immediately, before moisture and microbes have a chance to get into the open space. Don’t glue these areas, as this can introduce bacteria and fungi into the nails.

Get hand massages to increase circulation, and take calcium supplements to improve the health of the natural nail. This can cause your natural nails to grow faster and thus increase the need for fill-ins, but keeping your real nails healthy will ensure the acrylic has something to attach to.

Use non-acetone polish removers on acrylic nails. Acetone breaks acrylic down and it is what professionals often use to remove acrylic nails. Also avoid products with a high alcohol content, as this will dry out the nails and make them brittle.