How to Remove Nail Polish Without Nail Polish Remover


@amyle.nails / Design by Dion Mills

Like socks, toothpaste, or deodorant, nail polish remover is one of those annoyingly necessary products we feel we really shouldn’t have to spend money on. Yes, we’d likely spend that $4 on an iced latte anyway, but there’s a difference: We love our coffee, and it loves us back. (Energy, productivity, health…)

Nail polish remover, on the other hand, couldn’t be less climactic if it tried. Not only does the smell give us watery eyes and a headache, but it also dries our skin and doesn’t work all that well, to begin with. Which got us thinking about whether it's possible to remove our nail polish without remover. After all, there’s a hack for everything these days.

Sure enough, a little bit of research proved that there's actually a handful of ways one can remove nail polish sans remover. And even better, you probably have most of the necessary materials right in your bathroom or kitchen. The writing on the wall? You’ll never have to sacrifice your much-needed coffee buzz for a bottle of nail polish remover, again.

Try Hair Spray

Honestly, we're not quite sure how to feel about this one—mildly horrified? But according to Bustle, this convenient removal method will definitely work in a pinch. True life: Your ride-or-die hair spray will also take off the remnants of a manicure. 


  • Hair spray
  • Cotton balls


Take your cotton ball and place it in direct contact with the nozzle of your hair spray (this will really saturate it.)

Then, simply swipe the cotton ball over your nails and repeat as needed. Wash hands thoroughly when all polish has been removed, and give your hands some extra TLC with a generous dose of hand cream.

Try Vinegar and Lemon Juice

Vinegar is extremely acidic and widely known as a healthier alternative to your typical household cleaner. So why not put it on your nails, too? When combined with fresh lemon juice (also acidic), it gets the job done quickly—and completely chemical-free.


  • 2–4 tablespoons of vinegar 
  • Juice of one lemon
  • Cotton balls
  • Shallow bowl


Combine the vinegar and lemon in a shallow bowl and let soak for 10 to 20 minutes. Use the cotton ball immediately afterward to work off leftover polish.

Don't forget to wash your hands and apply moisturizer here too.

Try Hydrogen Peroxide + Hot Water

A mild antiseptic, hydrogen peroxide is another option for removing your nail polish in a pinch. Plus, it's one of those random products that nearly everyone has stored away somewhere at home (try looking under the bathroom sink or near other cleaning/medicinal supplies.) The claim is that by naturally releasing oxygen, it helps to remove the product.

Be sure to dilute per the directions below since hydrogen peroxide can be a tad strong.


  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Hot water
  • Shallow bowl
  • Nail file


Mix two parts hydrogen peroxide with one part hot water. (Try a 1/2 cup of hydrogen peroxide with a 1/4 cup hot water to start.)

Then, soak your fingers in the solution while massaging the polish off with your hands.

Use a nail file to file off any remaining polish.

Ways to remove nail polish without nail polish remover
Emily Roberts / BYRDIE

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