Nail polish remover alternatives

Nail polish remover alternatives

If you’re anything like me and you have super sensitive fingers due to dermatitis or any other skin condition then the idea of using nail polish remover makes you wince. Nail polish remover often contains acetone which can be very irritating to the skin and can often dry out the cuticle.

I’m a lazy nail painter, I rarely paint my nails and when I do I continually just paint over with the same colour when little chips appear. So when it comes to removing my nail polish, I end up chipping away at the polish to remove it with my fingers. I know, I know, this does damage to the nail itself which is what we are trying to avoid.


The simplicity of being able to remove your nail polish any time you want, if it doesn’t go with the dress your wearing for that night out with the girls, and that’s all well and good obviously ignoring the chemicals involved in this process.

Your fingertips which you use when you eat, when you apply your makeup (for some of us), when you do anything in your day to day life, they contain organic solvents which can actually be harmful to your skin, and they also weaken the nail.

Some of the serious offending ingredients in that polish are:

  • Acetone: headaches, dizziness, and irritated eyes, skin, and throat
  • Butyl acetate: headaches and irritated eyes, skin, nose, mouth, and throat
  • Ethyl acetate: irritated eyes, stomach, skin, nose, mouth, and throat; high levels can cause fainting
  • Isopropyl acetate: sleepiness, and irritated eyes, nose, and throat

I looked around at numerous alternatives for how to take this darn polish off, with very limited success.

I will list them here for you to try out, maybe you will have more luck than me (possibly cos I was trying to remove 40 layers of the polish). So here are my homemade removers, made from all natural products and best part is they ate often easily available at home. They don’t contain any harmful chemicals that can harm your skin, they are eco-friendly and safe to use.

Nail polish alternatives



This one sounded super weird to me as well. But break out the vodka now for another reason, to get that polish off! Simply put a piece of cotton dipped in alcohol and rub it over your nails. The polish will slowly but surely start coming off from the surface of your nails. Another good thing is that alcohol is also a disinfectant, so aside from removing that stubborn polish, it also protects the skin from bacterial infections.

Rubbing alcohol is especially effective at removing that polish, as it contains 70% ethanol, and is a denature alcoholic, which means you can’t drink it. It may take some time to remove the polish but the good news is that it doesn’t contain all those nasties found in commercial nail polish remover.


This one is pretty easy and have you smelling like a fish and chip shop. All jokes aside. All you do is dip a piece of cotton in vinegar and rub over the nails. Or you can use the vinegar in a bowl and add some lemon juice to it or orange if that’s easier for you. Soak your fingers in it for 10-15 minutes and start rubbing the nails inside the solution. The two combined contain essential acids that break down the polish layer.

Boiled water


Be careful with this one as it relies on a high temperature water. Boil a cup of water and dip your fingernails into it. This one is obvious but not while it is boiling hot, but at a temperature you can tolerate as you will be soaking those fingers in there for 10 minutes. While your fingers are in the water be sure to rub the nail with cotton. The best part about this one is, 1. It’s free 2. You can just go to the tap and 3. That is softens the polish and what’s more natural than the good old H2O?



Now I’ve heard of toothpaste to treat pimples but for nail polish removing too. It’s as easy to taking a small amount of toothpaste rubbing it over the nail with cotton. However if the toothpaste gets dried it might not be that effective. The nail polish should come off with the paste, and will have your fingers smelling minty fresh.



Don’t throw out that little bit of perfume you have left in that expensive bottle you just can’t bring yourself to throw away. Wet the cotton with perfume and rub the nails with it. Now perfumes do contain small amounts of acetone, which I know that is what we were trying to avoid at all costs, but that’s it. It doesn’t contain all those other nasties, so if you like use this one as a last resort.



So far we have listed numerous things that you obviously wouldn’t be expecting to be putting all over your pretty fingers. Hairspray is one of them, or deodorant. Spray a small amount of hair spray over the cotton and rub the polish off. This one will one take a few minutes to remove it, as it actually does contain some ingredients for making a commercial nail polish. So for those of you without the sensitive fingers feel free to give this one a go as an alternative.

Nail polish


Bare with me, did I really just say nail polish removes nail polish? But nail polish itself contains ingredients that help in its removal..Wait…what? It’s actually true, so take a new nail paint, apply it over the old one and immediately start rubbing it with a piece of cotton. The old paint will even remove some of the old paint itself. Thought I better leave this one till last as it had my head spinning as well.

So these are my top tips for removing that nail polish with ingredients you most likely have lying around the house. All I can suggest is try them out, see what works for you, but be patient with it, as most of this list is all natural so it will take a bit longer than if you were to use that commercial nail polish remover.

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