How Do I Remove Gel Nails at Home?

Soak nails in acetone for 10-15 minutes (you may use warm water in a bowl to accelerate this process.).

She suggests applying enough acetone for each nail to be fully saturated and appear bubbling before leaving them sit for 10 more minutes or so; patience will pay dividends here.


Gel nail polish can be more challenging to remove than regular polish, since it has been cured under UV lighting, giving it extra staying power and shine. While standard polish remover may work to dissolve it, cutting, filing or peeling off can damage both nails and cuticles; to properly dissolve gel nail polish it is best soaked and used a pusher gently so as not to cause excessive scraping or tugging on natural nails which could potentially be irreparably damaged in this process.

Soaking and foils are two popular home methods of removing gel nail polish – these methods require patience as it may take up to an hour for all of the nail polish to dissolve completely. Prior to soaking, nails should be filed and buffed – this roughens up their surfaces so acetone can penetrate deep into layers of gel polish to begin lifting off color and base coat layers from nail beds. A towel or terry cloth mitten may also come in handy in protecting hands from its drying effects.

Start the soaking process by setting up a small acetone tray or bowl to hold your nails in. Apply thick moisturiser or cuticle oil to protect nails, skin and cuticles from the drying effects of the acetone, before cutting a square of tin foil large enough for each finger. Soak cotton balls in acetone, place one on each nail, wrap a piece of foil around each cotton ball to hold in place, and repeat steps 3-5 until all gel polish has dissipated from each fingernail. After 10-15 minutes check each fingernail to ensure no remains; replace soaked cotton balls by replacing cotton balls soaked in acetone before wrapping again in five minute increments until all gel polish has dissipated completely from all nails.

Warm Water

If you want a less harsh way of removing gel nails at home, there are still ways to do it yourself. One effective method is soaking your hands in warm water to loosen and make the manicure easier to remove. Or you could try filing off the gel polish using a nail file; be careful as filing may damage natural nails in the process.

Utilize a coarse nail file to gradually peel the gel away from your nails. Be mindful not to scrape too hard, which could cause the acrylic to chip off as well. Once you’ve got some polish off, switch out your cotton ball for another fresh one wrapped with tin foil and wait 15 more minutes. Afterward, use an orange wood stick (a long, narrow stick used by manicurists to push back cuticles) to gently push any remaining gel off of your nails using orange wood stick (long narrow wooden stick used by manicurists used by manicurists when pushing back cuticles) gently push any remaining gel off from your nails using orange wood stick (long narrow stick used by manicurists to push back cuticles) gently push off remaining gel from nails by pushing on its tip until complete removal.

Use a clean paper towel to wipe away the remaining gel polish and dust from your nails, then use cuticle oil to nourish both natural nails and cuticles after taking off the gel polish – this will ensure they look healthy and strong post removal of gel.

Keep a kit of essentials handy, such as a coarse nail file, tin foil, cotton balls or pads, non-acetone polish remover, cuticle pusher and orange wood stick as well as nail buffer and cuticle oil in your bag for use when removing gel nails at home. Beauty supply stores or online providers sell such kits which make the task less daunting.


Dermatologists warn against wearing gel nail polish on your nails for health reasons, according to dermatologists. Not only will curing lights dry out your nails and cuticles under curing lights, but manicurists often damage them during application and removal processes. If you still want to indulge yourself with shiny stuff though, make sure that you moisturize your hands and nails regularly with cuticle oil to repair any damage to them; or visit a professional for nail care so they know how to do it without harming natural nail beds.

At home, most of the items needed to remove your gel manicure should already be on hand – paper towels, cotton balls or cotton pads, aluminum foil and an acetone nail polish remover. But just in case, take each of these items and store them easily accessible locations like kitchen or bathroom drawers – don’t forget a towel on your work space in case any accidents arise as acetone may damage surfaces!

Before applying polish, use a nail file to roughen up your nails using a file – this helps it come off more easily! After this, soak your fingers in warm water for about 10 minutes in order to loosen up and file off more efficiently the polish that has hardened.

To expedite soaking and filing, fill a bowl or small pot with hot water infused with some salt and dish soap, submerge your nails for several minutes before filing off any remaining patches of gel polish with either a nail file or small nail brush. Apply cuticle oil afterwards to rehydrate both nails and cuticles.

Cuticle Pusher

If you’re a frequent client or want to be ready in case the need to remove gel nails at home arises, here are a few tools and tips you’ll want to keep handy. From soaking to foiling or using products such as Gel No More, follow all appropriate procedures in order to protect both natural nails and skin.

Start by buffing your natural nails with a nail file to eliminate excess shine and speed the removal process. Next, apply cuticle oil such as Essie’s Apricot (one of our favorites!) before soaking. This will hydrate each nail as you remove gel, making it easier for the acetone solution to penetrate deeply enough and lift away the polish off without leaving behind dry patches on each one.

Pour the acetone directly on each nail or use aluminum foil soaked with cotton balls/pads soaked with the chemical and leave to soak for approximately 10 minutes before scraping away remaining polish with an orangewood or metal cuticle pusher.

If you don’t own a metal or orangewood pusher, use the rounded edge of your nail file instead to gently scrape away polish from your nails. Just be careful that pressure is only applied onto the surface of each nail instead of applying pressure around the base as this could cause irreparable harm to both nails and skin.

Instead of turning to acetone for removal, an oil-based solution like Gel No More may provide an easier solution that loosens gel polish without harming nails or fingers. While more costly, this product is safe enough for home use on natural nails and gentle enough not to cause harm when used alone.

Nail File

Gel nails can extend the life of your manicure, but can be challenging to take off at home without damaging your natural nail plate. Salon-based removal may always be best; however, sometimes that simply isn’t feasible; here are a few tips for safely taking them off at home!

Home Remipping of Gel Manicure by Prepping Nails To start, prepare your nails. It is important to protect the surrounding skin from exposure to acetone which can lead to dryness and peeling; use cuticle oil or petroleum jelly as protection from this harsh chemical before buffing off your top layer of gel polish with a nail file to loosen its glue so acetone can penetrate more readily and dissolve the gel polish layer.

After you have filed off the shine from your nails, it is time to soak them in acetone nail polish remover. Be sure to place some tin foil wrap over them so the acetone does not come into direct contact with any nearby skin areas; alternatively you could try softening gel nails using warm water before submerging in acetone.

After soaking your nails in acetone, it is time to start peeling off the gel nails. Be wary not to pick at them as this could damage the natural nail plate; use a clean nail file instead and slowly pull apart from each natural nail in order to avoid damaging them in any way. Doing this will prevent further harm to your natural nails.