How to Remove Acrylic Nails with Hot Water: Step-by-Step Guide

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Acrylic nails are one of the best gems in the beauty industry that is loved by many—especially those who always liked having gorgeous, long, and chic nails on every occasion!

But, do you know how to remove fake nails without damaging them?

closeup view of female's beautiful hands and bowl of spa water with flowers

Though it is easy to apply acrylic manicure nails, you might face some struggles as you try to take them off. 

You might even have a hard time removing your acrylic nails without ruining your natural nails. 

According to professional nail technicians, removing acrylic nails with hot water is the best way to prevent that from happening. 

Here’s how you can effectively remove acrylic nails using hot water:

Start by putting warm or hot water in a bowl, then put your hands with acrylic nails in for approximately 15-20 minutes. Once the acrylic nails start to get loose and come off easily, you can gently remove them. 

If you want to learn more about an in-depth, step-by-step process involved in this acrylic nail removal method, keep reading this article.

As you go on, we will also give you some helpful tips, nail aftercare, and other fake nail removal methods you can try using hot water. 

Now, let’s start!

Step-by-Step Process to Remove Acrylic Nails with Hot Water

Removing fake nails with hot water is one of the safest and easiest ways to take off acrylics. Though, compared to other fake nail removal methods, it would take longer to finish. 

For an effective and pain-free experience, the entire procedure should take at least 30 minutes or more.

All you need is your time and patience, and you’re good to go!

Things to Prepare

  • A bowl 
  • Hot/lukewarm water
  • Towel
  • Any sharp or pointed object
  • Cuticle oil or nail moisturizer

Acrylic Nail Removal Steps to Follow

Step 1: Fill a bowl with hot water.  

Pour some hot water into a bowl where you can dip your fingers. But, you should be careful and make sure that the water is not hot enough to burn your fingers!

Step 2: Dip your fingers in the bowl.

After pouring the hot water into a bowl, it’s time to dip your fingers with acrylic nails. You can decide if you want to dip one hand at a time or simultaneously. 

But, dipping your hands at the same time would be reasonable if you want to save time. 

Step 3: Soak your fingers for about 15-30 minutes.

Continue to soak your fingers in the bowl with hot water and wait for 15-30 minutes—or longer until the fake nails start swelling. 

Once this happens, do not panic! It only means that the hot water is doing its job and that your acrylic nails will start to come off soon. 

Step 4: Try to remove the fake nails.

After soaking your nails in the water for a long time, you will feel the nail adhesive dissolving. 

This time, get any sharp or pointed object and pry the fake nail from your original one slowly and gently—never pull or tug your nail forcefully.

You can use a nail filer, toothpick, tweezers, or a cuticle pusher.

Step 5: Remove the glue on your natural nails. 

As soon as your fake nails are removed from your natural nails, there will be residues of nail adhesives that you should remove. 

To remove the remaining glue, immerse your fingers in warm, soapy water for about 10-15 minutes, and then you can scrape them away using a nail file and nail buffer.

Now, you have finally removed your acrylic nails effectively and safely!

Nail Care Tips After Acrylic Nail Removal

After successfully taking off your acrylic nails using hot water at home, you need to follow up with an aftercare routine that your natural nails need. 

To do that, you need to:

  1. Dry your nails. Your nails may still be weak after soaking them for a long time, so you need to be careful drying your nails. Use a soft, clean cloth to do this. 
  2. Apply cuticle oil. As soon as you dry your nails, don’t forget to moisturize your nails and the skin around them by applying rich, natural cuticle oil to prevent having damaged nails. 

Cuticle oils can help protect, strengthen, and restore your natural nails to their best state. 

Check out the highly-recommended cuticle oils available on Amazon that you should try!

CND SolarOil Nail & Cuticle Care
Editor’s Choice
  • Super-penetrating formula
  • Softens cuticles
  • Promotes strong nails
Cuccio Naturale Revitalizing Cuticle Oil
Premium Pick
  • Moisturizes and protects nails
  • Strengthens thin, brittle nails
  • Formulated with high-quality vitamins and natural cold-pressed oils
Bliss Kiss Nail Oil Cuticle Pen w/Vitamin E & Jojoba
Budget Pick
  • Fragrance-free
  • Hydrating on nails
  • Formulated with pure jojoba wax ester

Following these two simple steps will help you guarantee that your real nails are properly cared for after undergoing the entire fake nail removal process. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is using hot water the best way to remove acrylic nails?

Out of all fake nail removal methods, hot water is the healthiest and most harmless way to take off acrylic nails. This method gently removes your nails, and no chemicals will be used—causing less damage to your natural nail. 

Though the duration may be longer than other fake nail removal methods, the result will be rewarding, knowing that your nails are still healthy. 

Can nail glue be loosened with hot water?

After soaking your nails, hot water can loosen the nail glue. Over time, you will feel that your acrylics will start to soften and slowly come off—making them easier to remove. 

For great results, you can dip your nails with warm water and oil to eliminate any glue residue from your natural nails before you rinse them. 

violet acrylic nails of female in a bowl of water with violet orchid flowers

Does hot water damage your natural nails?

Water is a natural ingredient. So, it does not cause any harm to your nails. 

Since the skin layer around your nail cuticle is tender and soft, it’s only best to use water to remove acrylics instead of harsh chemicals like acetone —which can lead to itching, dryness, and skin hypersensitivity. 

Thus, using hot water is a harmless way of removing fake nails.

Conclusion: Why Use Hot Water to Remove Your Fake Nails?

If you want to prevent causing permanent damage to your nails or skin, choosing the hot water method to remove your fake acrylic nails is the best option. 

Since you use a natural ingredient—water—the process will be less damaging or harmful. 

Though this method might not be the quickest, it is still the most sustainable and safest way to take off your acrylic nails at home without causing harmful effects to your nails or skin long term. 

Plus, you can save money by skipping the nail salon. 

While trying the hot water method, be patient and wait for your nails to finally be free from acrylics!

Trying to Find Other Nail Care Tips?

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  • Stephanie Martin

    Stephanie Martin blends her beauty industry background with expertise in communications to lead in the fashion and beauty world. As a fashion and beauty editor, she is known for engaging and informative articles. Her lifelong passion for fashion, makeup, and hair shines through her work, earning her widespread respect among readers and clients. Stephanie's style, a mix of classic and contemporary, makes her a dynamic and influential figure in the industry, inspiring others with her knowledgeable and approachable insights.

  • Jasmine Moore

    Jasmine Moore, a licensed nail technician with 3 years of expertise, offers specialized services in Acrylic, Gel X, and Dip Powder applications. Trained by Lena Fam and a graduate of NexGen Nails and Beauty School, Jasmine's accolades include nominations for "Best New Nail Tech" (2021) and "Best Nail Artist" (2023). As the founder of Jazzy Belle Beauty she stays updated on the latest nail trends.

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