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How to Remove Nail Polish Without Remover

How to Remove Nail Polish Without Remover (12 Ways)

When you plan to switch up your nail color but find yourself without a bottle of remover, don’t fret! There are several household items you can use to strip away the old polish. Here’s a detailed guide on how to remove nail polish without a remover, using simple items you likely have around your house.

1. Toothpaste Trick

Toothpaste isn’t just for your pearly whites, it can work wonders on your nails too. Opt for a toothpaste that contains ethyl acetate, which is commonly found in commercial nail polish removers. 

Apply a small amount of toothpaste to your nail, and use a toothbrush (preferably an old one) to gently scrub the polish away. The mild abrasive nature of toothpaste helps lift the polish from the nail surface.

2. Lemon Juice

Lemon juice is a natural acid that can help break down nail polish. Mix one tablespoon of lemon juice with one tablespoon of white vinegar. Soak your nails in the solution for about 10-15 minutes, and then use a cotton ball or a soft cloth to rub the polish off. The acidity helps to dissolve the polish, making it easier to wipe away.

3. Vinegar and Orange Juice

The acidic combination of vinegar and orange juice is another natural polish remover. Soak your nails in a mixture of equal parts of the two liquids for about 10 minutes. After soaking, rub your nails with a cotton ball or a dry cloth, and the polish should peel away.

4. Alcohol Swabs

If you have rubbing alcohol or hand sanitizer at home, they can be effective substitutes for nail polish remover. Soak a cotton ball with the alcohol or hand sanitizer and press it onto your nails. 

Hold it there for about a minute, then rub the nail while applying pressure. It might take a little longer than acetone-based removers, but with a bit of patience, the polish will come off.

5. Perfume

Perfume contains alcohol, which can work against nail polish. Spray a bit of perfume onto a cotton ball or tissue and press it against your nail. Hold it for a moment and then rub; the nail polish should come off. Be mindful that perfumes with a high alcohol content are more effective for this method.

6. Warm Water

Sometimes, all you need is warm water. Soak your hands in warm, soapy water for about 20 minutes. Then, use a dry cloth to rub the nails. The warm water softens the polish, making it easier to remove with the cloth. 

7. Hair Spray Hack

A quick spritz of hair spray can help in a pinch. Spray it onto your nails, let it sit for a few seconds, and then rub it off with a cotton ball or paper towel. Since hair spray contains alcohol and other solvents, it can dissolve the nail polish. 

8. Fresh Nail Polish or Top Coat

It may sound counterintuitive, but applying a fresh coat of nail polish over the old nail polish and quickly wipe it away with a cotton ball while it’s still wet. The solvents in the top coat will soften the old polish, making it easier to remove. Let it sit for 20-30 seconds to soften the underlying polish, then wipe it off before it dries. Repeat if necessary.

9. Baking Soda Paste

Create a paste using baking soda and a little bit of water. Apply this to your nails and let it sit for a few minutes. Using a nail brush or an old toothbrush, scrub your nails gently. Baking soda is mildly abrasive and can help lift the polish from your nails.

10. Deodorant Spray

Similar to hair spray, a deodorant spray that contains alcohol can help remove nail polish. Spray it on your nails, wait for a few seconds, and then rub the polish off with a cotton ball or tissue.

11. Warm Oil

Warm a bit of olive oil or coconut oil and soak your nails in it for a few minutes. The oil can help loosen the nail polish, and you can then gently rub it off with a cloth. 

12. Prevention with Peel-Off Base Coats

For future ease, consider using a peel-off base coat under your nail polish. This allows you to simply peel away the polish without the need for removers when you’re ready for a change.


The absence of nail polish remover doesn’t have to halt your beauty routine. With a little creativity and some common household items, you can effectively remove your nail polish and give your nails a fresh start. 

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