Acrylic nails are best removed by a professional nail technician, but if you really can’t make it to the salon, you can do it at home … if you’re willing to take your time and follow the steps needed to protect the health of your natural nails.

Grab your supplies and get comfy—it can take 30 minutes to an hour or more. Cover your work area with a cloth or newspaper to absorb any accidental spills or drips.

Things You'll Need

Using nail polish remover, remove nail polish completely from your nails.

Cut the acrylic nails as short as possible with a pair of strong and sharp nail clippers.

File your nails as short as you can to make removing the acrylic nails as easy and painless as possible.

Fill a glass bowl from 1 to 2 inches deep with acetone nail polish remover.

Apply a thin coat of petroleum jelly to the skin surrounding your nails, avoiding the acrylic nails since it can slow the removal process.

Set a timer for 15 minutes. Place your fingertips in the glass bowl, making sure the acetone nail polish remover covers the entire acrylic nail. Soak for the entire 15 minutes.

Remove your fingertips from the acetone. Scrape off the top layer of the acrylic nails using a cuticle pusher or similar tool.

Set your timer for another 15 minutes and soak your acrylic nails in the acetone again. Let soak for the entire 15 minutes. The key to removing acrylic nails at home is taking your time and not rushing the process.

Gently try and peel the acrylic nails off the surface of your natural nail. Do not force the acrylic nail to separate from the natural nail. If they don’t peel off easily, scrape off the top layer of acrylic. Repeat the steps until the acrylic nail has been completely removed.

Wash your hands to cleanse any acetone nail polish remover and petroleum jelly from your skin and fingernails. Allow to dry completely.

Lightly buff the surface of your natural fingernails with a nail buffer to remove any residual acrylic and glue.

Put on a coat of clear nail polish. This protects your natural nails since they tend to be delicate after the removal process. Let the polish dry completely.

To prevent your skin from drying out after soaking in acetone, massage moisturizer onto your hands, paying special attention to your fingertips.