How to Remove Nail Polish Without Nail Polish Remover

The worst thing about a manicure is that they never last quite as long as you hoped they would. When your nail polish starts to chip, it can make you question why you bothered doing your nails in the first place. Instead of letting it peel off, you could use nail polish remover, except for that awful smell. So are there other ways to get rid of nail polish without plugging your nose? Here are a few methods you can try. 


Toothpaste is a household item that you likely already have lying around. Try to use a toothpaste that is basic or one that contains baking soda. This is considered to be a gentle abrasive substance. You may use a nail file to scrub the nails, a Q-tip, or an old toothbrush.

Scrub your nails with the toothpaste for a few minutes at a time. Afterward, wipe your nail off with a dry cloth to remove the polish residue. This works because toothpaste generally consists of ethyl acetate, which is an ingredient found in most nail polish removers. 


Deodorant is another helpful alternative that you will likely already have in your medicine cabinet. Although, for this method to work, you’ll need to have deodorant spray. The other material you’ll need for this to work is cotton balls. Be careful if you have any allergies to the ingredients in a deodorant spray. 

Spray the deodorant onto your nails at a close range. Then, wipe it off right away with a cotton ball. The ingredients in the deodorant like alcohol and acetone will help remove the polish from your nails effectively. Repeat this method for each nail until you are left with clean fingers. 

Hand Sanitizer

Right now, we’re willing to bet that you’ve got some hand sanitizer in your house (probably a lot). For this method, you’ll also need cotton balls on hand. The first thing you’ll need to do is dab a small amount of sanitizer onto your nails. Rub the nail with a cotton ball until you start to see the polish loosen. You can add more sanitizer as needed. 

After you have finished the process, wash your hands thoroughly. If the alcohol is left on your nails, it will dry them out, and you’ll be left with cracked cuticles. Moisturize your nail beds and hands once you’ve completed removing the polish. 


This method of removing nail polish isn’t the most cost-effective. However, if you’re in a bind, it will do the trick. Most perfumes have an alcohol base, which makes them useful for removing polish. You might need to use a large amount of perfume if the percentage of alcohol is too low. 

First, spray the perfume onto a cotton ball or paper towel. Saturate it so that it is fully damp but not soaking wet. Use the perfume-soaked cotton ball to scrub the polish off your nail. It should start to dissolve as you go, and the polish will vanish from your nails. Bonus point, your hands will probably smell delightful. 


Many hairsprays contain rubbing alcohol that is an alternative to nail polish remover. Simply spray the bottle onto your nails and wipe it off with a cotton pad. Make sure you remove the hairspray before it dries and becomes sticky. 

This method also works if you are trying to remove nail polish from clothing. If you are looking to do this, use a pair of tweezers to remove the polish after the hairspray dries. After that, you can wash the clothes as normal. 

Lemon Juice

Lemon contains citric acid that is helpful with removing nail polish. The first thing you’ll want to do is soak your nails in warm soapy water for five to ten minutes. After soaking, squeeze a lemon slice onto your nails. The citric acid will soften the polish and allow it to come off more easily. 

Wipe the polish off with a cotton pad or a paper towel. You might need to re-soak your nails to keep them soft. The acid of the lemon will dry out your fingers, so you’ll want to moisturize your cuticles and hands afterward. 

Vinegar Mixture

White vinegar also contains acid that can break down nail polish. You can either use vinegar on its own or combine it with lemon juice as a mixture. You’ll need to soak your nails for at least 15 minutes in warm water. Next, mix equal parts of lemon juice and vinegar. 

Soak a cotton ball into the mixture and put it onto your nails. If you don’t have a cotton ball, you can soak your hands in the solution itself for about 15-20 minutes. After this, make sure you moisturize with nail oil to keep your cuticles healthy. 

Hydrogen Peroxide And Hot Water

Hydrogen peroxide is often used in beauty products and cosmetics. Its lightening properties will help remove the polish on your nails. Be careful allowing hydrogen peroxide in open wounds. 

First, you’ll need to fill a bowl with hot water and hydrogen peroxide. Soak your nails in the bowl for 15 minutes to soften the polish. After this, you should be able to wipe it away with a cotton ball or use a file. 

New Polish

This may sound a little redundant, but you can actually use new nail polish to remove old polish. This works best with a clear coat if you’ve got any. Quickly apply the nail polish on top of the old polish and then wipe it off. This should remove both of the nail polishes and leave you with a blank canvas. 

Try not to use a quick-drying polish for this method, as it will defeat the purpose. Only wait to remove the polish for about 20-30 seconds. Repeat this process until all the polish is gone. If you want to see how a new polish would look on your finger but aren’t ready to commit, try it out during this method. 

Different Types Of Nail Polish Removers

There are really only two types of nail polish remover. One is acetone-based, and the other is acetone-free. Acetone is an extremely potent solvent that is effective for removing polish. However, it removes a lot of the oils in your skin, and it stinks. This kind of remover will be best for people who have dark-colored nail polish or shellac manicures. 

Non-acetone polish removers contain ethyl acetate, which is a less aggressive type of solvent. These kinds of removers sometimes also contain moisturizing agents that can help reduce drying. This method won’t work on shellac nails and is less effective than acetone removers. 

Different Types Of Nails

There are many different ways to get your nails done. The most basic one is with regular nail polish. This method doesn’t last nearly as long as other ones, but it is the cheapest option. This polish can be removed with any of the methods above. 

Gel nail polish requires a UV light to cure the polish onto your nails. It’s more durable than regular nail polish. Some formulas need to be soaked off for up to 30 minutes. You can buff the top-coat off with a nail file and soak the nails in acetone to remove them. 

Dip powder nails involve a colored powder and clear sealant. These nails last much longer than regular polish and will stay chip-free for up to a month. Dip powder nails require a bit more patience. You can soak these off with acetone as well, but you should also file them down as much as possible. 

Acrylic nails are made with liquid monomer and powder that are combined into a dough-like substance. This mixture is shaped onto your nails and then air-dried. These kinds of nails don’t require a UV lamp to cure them. To remove these, file away the tips of the nails and then soak them in acetone. Hydrate your nails after removing them to prevent cracking. 

Alternative To Removing Polish

If all of the methods we’ve mentioned seem like a drag, why not skip them all? There is a mess-free alternative for beautiful nails that don’t require nail polish remover. Clutch Nails are re-inventing the way press-on nails work. These nail sets are reusable and will last weeks without ever chipping. 

These nails last five times longer than a polish miniature and will convince you never to step foot in a nail salon again. We’ve got endless selections to choose from, and each kit comes with 24 nails and a file for perfect application. 

The Wrap Up

No matter what you’ve got on hand, there is bound to be something readily available for you to remove nail polish with. However, if removing nail polish altogether is something you’re sick of, try press-on nails for a change; you won’t regret it!


How to Remove Nail Polish Without Nail Polish Remover | Pure Wow

The Best Ways to Remove Nail Polish With Or Without Remover, So Don't Worry if You Can't Find A Bottle | Bustle

The Best Ways to Remove Any Type of Nail Polish at Home | BHG 

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published