Can Apple Cider Vinegar Remove Gel Nail Polish?

Apple cider vinegar is known for its numerous health benefits, from aiding in digestion to promoting healthy skin. Now, many are wondering can apple cider vinegar remove gel nail polish?

Is apple cider vinegar effective in removing gel nail polish from your natural nails, and if it does, how best to do it, for the best results?

If you’ve run out of nail polish, can you use apple cider vinegar to remove nail polish without nail polish remover?

Can Apple Cider Vinegar Remove Gel Nail Polish?

What Is Gel Nail Polish, and How Is It Different from Regular Nail Polish?

Gel nail polishes offer a longer-lasting manicure compared to traditional nail polishes.

They typically last for around 2–3 weeks with minimal chipping, while regular nail polishes may show signs of wear within a week.

This is because the ingredients found in gel manicures are much stronger and adhere to your nails tighter, making them more resistant to daily wear and tear.

Another significant difference between the two types of nail polish is the drying process.

Gel nail polishes require you to use an LED or UV lamp to cure, allowing them to harden and bond properly.

This polymerization process is not present in your traditional nail polish, which dries through the evaporation of its solvents.

The curing process makes the gel manicure tougher and more resistant to chipping.

Gel nail polish removal involves a different method compared to regular nail polish.

Soaking your nails in acetone for at least 15 minutes and then gently scrubbing the polish off is required for gels, whereas regular nail polish can be easily removed using a simple polish remover.

However, gel manicures and shellac nails are not the same. Shellac nails involve a hybrid formula combining the characteristics of both gel and regular nail polishes, offering you a slightly different experience.

Using gel nail polish offers you the following advantages over regular nail polish:

  • Longer-lasting manicure (2-3 weeks)
  • Greater resistance to chipping and daily wear
  • Requires an LED or UV lamp to cure

While regular nail polish has its benefits, like easy removal and no need for a curing lamp, the switch to gel nail polish can offer you a more durable and longer-lasting manicure experience. 

What Is Apple Cider Vinegar, and How Does It Work as A Nail Polish Remover?

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is a versatile liquid made from the fermentation of crushed apples. It is not only used in culinary endeavors but also famous for its numerous health benefits.

But did you know that it can be used as an alternative to acetone-based nail polish removers? Let’s explore how ACV works as a nail polish remover and its benefits.

The secret lies in the acidity of apple cider vinegar, which helps in breaking down the components of nail polish, allowing you to remove it with ease.

While it may not be as quick and strong as traditional acetone-based removers, ACV is a natural and gentler option for your nails.

To use apple cider vinegar as a nail polish remover, here’s what you need to do:

  1. Choose an organic apple cider vinegar, as it contains the “mother,” which has all the nutrients for an effective removal process.
  2. Mix equal parts of ACV and water in a small bowl.
  3. Soak your fingers in the solution for 20–30 minutes.
  4. Gently rub your nails with a soft cloth or cotton ball to remove the polish.

Opting for an ACV-based nail polish remover has some advantages:

  • Non-toxic: Unlike acetone, ACV is a non-toxic and environmentally friendly alternative. It’s safe for you, your family, and the planet.
  • Gentle on nails: ACV is a natural and mild acid that doesn’t harm your nails or cuticles. It maintains the health of your nails while effectively removing the polish.
  • Cost-effective: You don’t need to buy expensive, acetone-free nail polish removers when you have apple cider vinegar at home.

ACV might not be as effective on non-toxic or gel nail polish, as these formulas are designed to be more resistant to removal.

But for regular nail polish, apple cider vinegar can be an exciting and natural way to remove it while keeping your nails healthy and strong. 

How To Use Apple Cider Vinegar to Remove Gel Nail Polish

Can Apple Cider Vinegar Remove Gel Nail Polish?

You may be able to remove gel nail polish using apple cider vinegar.

While it’s not as effective as acetone nail polish removers, it can still get the job done with a little patience.

To get started, mix equal parts apple cider vinegar and water in a small bowl.

This will dilute the vinegar, making it more gentle on your nails. Soak your fingertips in this mixture for at least 5 minutes, or up to 30 minutes if needed.

Next, you’ll want to prepare your nails for the removal process. After soaking and rinsing off the vinegar mixture, mix a few drops of vitamin E oil into a couple of tablespoons of coconut oil.

Spread this nourishing concoction onto your nail beds and let it sit for at least 5 minutes.

By now, your nails should be softened and ready for gel polish removal. You’re going to want to take a cotton ball soaked in acetone and place it over each nail.

Pro-tip: you can use plastic food wrap to keep the soaked cotton in place, as it creates a tighter seal than foil, reducing the chances of the acetone dripping off.

Keep the wrapped nails soaked for about 10 minutes. After you remove the plastic wraps, you should notice that most or all of the gel nail polish has loosened.

Use a cuticle pusher to gently push off any remaining gel polish, making sure not to damage your nails in the process.

How To Use Apple Cider Vinegar to Remove Gel Nail Polish

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to use apple cider vinegar to remove gel nail polish effectively and safely.

  1. Gather your supplies:
    • Apple cider vinegar
    • Cotton balls or cotton pads
    • Aluminum foil
    • Nail file or nail buffer
    • Orange stick or cuticle pusher
  2. Prepare your nails: Start by washing your hands in soapy water to ensure your nails and nail beds are clean. Use nail clippers to trim your nails if necessary.
  3. File the top layer of nail polish: Gently file the surface of your nails to remove the shiny topcoat of the gel polish. This will allow the apple cider vinegar to penetrate the polish and work more effectively.
  4. Soak cotton balls in ACV: Saturate the cotton balls or cotton pads in apple cider vinegar. You may also add a few drops of ethyl or isopropyl alcohol to enhance the effectiveness.
  5. Apply ACV to your nails: Place the vinegar-soaked cotton balls or pads onto your nails, ensuring they cover the entire surface of the gel polish.
  6. Cover with aluminum foil: Tear pieces of aluminum foil to wrap around your fingertips, securing the cotton balls in place. This helps keep the apple cider vinegar in contact with your nails and prevents it from evaporating quickly.
  7. Soak your nails: Allow your nails to soak in the apple cider vinegar solution for at least 15–20 minutes. If needed, you can increase the soaking time for stubborn gel polishes.
  8. Check the progress: After soaking, gently remove the aluminum foil and cotton. Your gel nail polish should start lifting from the nail plate. If not, reapply the cotton and foil and soak for a few more minutes.
  9. Remove gel polish: Use the orange stick or cuticle pusher to gently scrape away the softened gel polish from your nails. Be careful not to damage your nail beds or cuticles during this process.
  10. Clean your nails: Rinse your hands in warm water and use a nail brush to clean any remaining polish residue. Finally, apply nail oil to moisturize and strengthen your nails.

And that’s it! Now you know how to use apple cider vinegar as a DIY nail polish remover for gel polishes. Not only will this leave your nails strong and healthy, but you’ve also avoided harsh chemicals found in acetone-based nail polish removers.

Side Effects of Using Apple Cider Vinegar as A Nail Polish Remover

While some claim that mixing equal parts of vinegar and lemon juice can help remove regular polish, you may find it not as effective for removing gel polish or fake nails.

Gel polish is more resilient and may require stronger solutions or a visit to your trusted nail salon for professional removal.

ACV is an acidic substance, so prolonged exposure and rubbing on your nails and skin may cause irritation, especially if your nails are already brittle.

As for acrylic nails, the acidity in apple cider vinegar might affect the adhesive properties, potentially damaging the fake nails and causing them to lift or become weakened.

Another concern when attempting to remove nail polish with vinegar is the smell.

You may not find the vinegar scent as pleasant as the typical nail polish remover, plus the lingering smell afterward may not be desirable.

Here are some alternative methods to remove polish from both natural and fake nails:

  • Soak your nails in lukewarm water for a few minutes, then gently push the polish off with a cuticle pusher. This should work for regular polish, but may not be effective for gel polish.
  • Use a gentle, alcohol-free nail polish remover to minimize the risk of irritation and damage to your nails.
  • Rubbing alcohol can remove regular polish, though it may not work on gel polish easily.

While ACV might help remove some types of nail polish, it’s not the most effective option and could have some side effects.

How To Condition Your Nails And Cuticles After ACV Gel Polish Removal

How To Condition Your Nails And Cuticles After ACV Gel Polish Removal

Now that you’ve successfully used apple cider vinegar (ACV) to remove gel nail polish, it’s essential to take care of your nails and cuticles to keep them healthy.

Gently buff your nails to smooth out any uneven surfaces or ridges created during the removal process. This will help prevent further peeling, especially at the tips.

Next, it’s time to pamper your cuticles. Soak your fingertips in a mixture of warm water and lemon juice for about 10–15 minutes.

You can also add a few drops of lemon essential oil or use a lemon slice to boost the benefits.

Lemon is a great natural option for rejuvenating your cuticles, as it’s packed with antioxidants and nutrients that promote healthy nail growth.

After your cuticle soak, pat your hands dry before applying a nourishing cuticle oil. This will help restore moisture and protect your cuticles from further damage.

Look for oils containing vitamin E or jojoba oil, as they are highly effective in maintaining hydration.

Try to give your nails a break between gel manicures, so try keeping them polish-free for a few days after using the ACV method.

If you need to have them polished, opt for a nail polish that’s free from harsh chemicals, such as acetone-free nail polish removers or those with an alcohol base.



It is possible to use apple cider vinegar to remove gel nail polish. While ACV may not be able to completely remove the polish, it can help loosen and break down the formula for easier removal.

However, it is important to note that this method should be used with caution due to its acidity and potential skin or nail irritation.

Although, conditioning your nails and cuticles after ACV removal of gel nail polish is essential for maintaining healthy nails.

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Gemma Etc.
Gemma Etc.

Hi, my name is Gemma, and I’m the writer behind I’m a true beauty obsessive, and love writing about anything to do with beauty. In addition to Gemma Etc., I also own, and love sharing my thoughts and feelings about beauty and lifestyle products.

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