8 Ways to Remove Nail Polish with Sustainable Methods

Ways to Remove Nail Polish

In this article post we have listed Eco-friendly ways to remove nail polish the next time you want to change your nail color.

Imagine painting your nails while you’re curled up in your loungewear on the weekend. The scent of the polish… the soothing color of the nail lacquer… just pure bliss!
The satisfaction of having freshly painted nails is totally unmatched!

Having your nail game on fleek is therapeutic; no matter what, a good (and eco-friendly) manicure and pedicure always do the trick! 

If you’re into nail polish, you’d probably relate to one problem — a good mani doesn’t last forever. Ugh! As much as you love your nails, the struggle to maintain the nail paint is real. 

It begins with a little bit of chipping (here and there), that you wish to hide on your dinner date or at that important meeting. Wearing the same shade for an extended period of time can get a tad boring.
And who even likes boring nails; no effin body!

nail polish
Efetova / Canva Pro

Now, given that acetones are loaded with chemicals and unwanted toxic ingredients, what do you do? Peel your polish off and make it worse, or look for ways to remove nail polish without the acetone. We recommend the latter. 

To ‘nail’ your nails, we’ve listed some of the best sustainable and zero waste ways below, to remove nail polish easily while saving money and reducing waste. But before that, let us tell you why acetone is bad for you (and the planet). 

The Problem with Acetone Nail Polish Remover

acetone nail polish remover
The Problem with Acetone Nail Polish Remover

We all have beauty cabinets overflowing with stunning nail colors, along with acetones that help in removing these polishes. These chemical-based acetones are so accessible and easy to use that it was one of our hot favorite ways to remove nail polish too. Until now!

Unfortunately, you must have noticed that the health of your nails after using these conventional acetones isn’t that great. This is because these beauty products are loaded with chemicals that your nails DO NOT deserve. 
These nail polish removers also make the nail beds weak and dry. This makes it difficult to have those pretty nails polished for a longer time. Some even experience headaches, eye irritation, and nausea while using acetone. Plus, the waste added to the landfills with these plastic bottles is terrible. 

Worse, the acetone-dipped cotton balls used along with the acetones have harmful chemicals, which are bad for the planet. Fortunately, this list will help make your nail sessions sustainable and how! Let’s find out. 

Ways To Remove Nail Polish to Make Your Mani-Pedi Eco-Friendly

easy ways to remove nail polish
VladimirFLyod / Getty Images

From using hairspray to lemon juice, these go-to ways to remove nail polish methods will do the trick from the comfort of your home. Read on to find out the replacement for acetone you can use for your nails. 

1. Try Non-Toxic Nail Polish Removers 

If you’re someone who’s obsessed with an at-home manicure or can’t entirely get rid of acetone, there’s good news for you. 

Thanks to certain beauty brands, non-toxic nail polish removers have actually become a thing.

soy polish remover by ella + mila
Ella + Mila

We love Ella  + Mila and Olive & June’s sustainable acetone alternatives for nail polish remover. They’re easy (and sustainable) to use when you want to take off that chipped or dull nail color.

Ella + Mila is a brand we’ve trusted for all our beauty products. Their $12 soy-based nail polish remover is no different. With a fine blend of nourishing vitamins and lavender, you’d want to add it to your nail care regimen, RN!

nail polish remover pot
Olive & June

We also tried and loved Olive & June’s magical pot of heaven. This $10 acetone-free polish removal is designed with a foam sponge that you’d love to use repeatedly to remove your nail polish. 

The next time you use nail polish removers, pair them with your pretty non-toxic nail polishes for healthier nail beds and some pretty nails. 

Pro Tip: Look for oil-based polish removers that contain natural oils like avocado or jojoba. They’re very effective and will also help you fall in love again – with your nourished hands and pretty nails. 

Our Good Recommendations: 

  1. Soy Nail Polish Remover – Ella + Mila 
  1. Polish Remover Pot – Olive & June

Ways To Remove Nail Polish from The Skin Without Acetone?

Struggling with that nail color on the side of your fingers after painting your nails at home? Rub some alcohol, or use hair spray, perfume, or even warm water to wipe the polish clean.

2. Opt For Reusable Cotton Pads

reusable cotton pads to remove nail polish
Freon Collective

Considering how millions of people love using cotton pads to remove nail polish, these disposable cotton balls or wipes can get wasteful. But, if you’re someone who follows zero waste living, you’d already know how reusable cotton pads are convenient and great for the planet, too.

They are one of the best ways to remove nail polish as they’re easy, save you dollars, and reduce waste in landfills. 

Our favorite thing about reusable cotton pads is that they are eco-friendly and can be used for months (or even years) with proper care. 

We love Freon Collective, a Canadian Etsy seller with rave reviews! They have some amazing reusable nail polish remover pads made from 100% bamboo rayon felt. 

We’ve also been fans of The Sign Tribe’s lacquer removal wipes. One box of their sustainable remover can last you about 16 months!

Our Good Recommendations:

Or, you can use items easily available in your home 

One of the most sustainable ways to remove nail polish is by utilizing the items you already have at home. You’d be surprised to know that items like deodorant, toothpaste, and even vodka, can work best to get rid of that (chipped) nail lacquer, especially in a crisis when you don’t have access to eco-friendly alternatives.

3. Lemon & Vinegar

lemons and vinegar are great ways to remove nail polish
Tasha_Nicole_Photo / Getty Images

You would’ve probably used lemon for growing your nails. But did you know that lemons can also be used to remove old nail polish? It is one of the most effective substitutes for acetone nail polish remover, and when combined with vinegar, you’d be ready to flaunt your new polish too.

How To Make Homemade Nail Polish Remover at Home With Vinegar And Lemon Juice? 

When choosing this zero waste method to remove nail polish, use reusable make-up remover pads along with lemon and vinegar.

Mix equal amounts of lemon juice and vinegar well in a bowl. Now take your reusable pads and let them soak in the mixture. While at it, soak your nails in a different bowl of warm water. Doing this for a good 10 minutes will help the nail polish be softened for easy removal. 

Once done, wipe your nails repeatedly (for quite some time) with reusable makeup-remover pads. Then, voila, you’re done!

4. Toothpaste

toothpaste to remove nail polish
Tamara Velazquez / Studio Spain & Zolga_F / Getty

The answer to the easiest way to remove nail polish was lying in your bathroom cabinet until now. If you are looking for ways to remove nail polish without any fuss, this is your cue to opt for toothpaste. It is another great nail polish remover replacement that is sustainable and easy to use. It has ethyl acetate that effectively dissolves paint and varnish for easy nail polish removal. 

How To Remove Nail Polish with Toothpaste? 

Just take some toothpaste and rub it thoroughly on your nails. Now take an old toothbrush and brush your nails gently like you do your teeth. Do this for a couple of minutes or until the polish starts to come off. Now use some warm water to wash the nails and wipe them with a soft cotton cloth.

5. Deodorant

woman wearing deodorant
Pixel Shot / Canva Pro

Yes, deodorants make for one of the best substitutions for nail polish remover! The alcohol and acetone in it make it a good polish remover. 

How To Remove Nail Polish with Deodorant? 

For this method, you’d need some cotton balls and a deo. First, spray the deodorant onto your nails and then wipe it off right away with the cotton balls. Keep repeating this until you’re back with your gorgeous nails.

6. Hydrogen Peroxide and Warm Water

woman removing nail polish with hydrogen peroxide and water
Pixland / Photo Images / Canva Pro

Hydrogen peroxide is already popular in beauty products for skin lightening and acne; it’s good for nail polish removal as well. The lightening properties in it help in removing the lacquer. 

Alert: Do not use hydrogen peroxide on your finger cuts or open wounds. 

Can Hydrogen Peroxide Really Take Off Nail Polish?

Oh, yes! This homemade solution works best when you fill the bowl with hot water and hydrogen peroxide to remove the chipped manicure. Then, soak your nails in the bowl for about 10–20 minutes to soften the nail color. Once done, wipe it all off using a cotton ball.

7. Hairspray

hairsprays ways to remove nail polish
Syda Productions

Hairsprays contain rubbing alcohol, making them a popular nail polish removal method. 

Ways To Remove Nail Polish with Hairspray and Cotton Pads?  

Just spray some hairspray on your pretty painted nails and wipe it all off with cotton pads. You’d have to be quick while doing this, as you would not want the hairspray to dry and become sticky. This has been our go-to method even for removing nail polish stains from clothes.

8. Use Rubbing Alcohol or Hand Sanitizers

rubbing alcohol or sanitizers ways to remove nail polish

We bet you’d have a lot of sanitizers lying around in your house at this moment. But, for this sustainable polish removal method, you’d need some of it or rubbing alcohol to do the trick for you.  

Ways To Remove Nail Polish with Hand Sanitizer?

You need some cotton balls. First, dip them lightly in hand sanitizer. Then, rub your nails with these cotton balls back and forth gently for about 10 seconds, to take the polish off completely.  

Do not forget to wash your hands after, as the left alcohol can dry them out, and crackled cuticles aren’t what we want for you. Use some natural moisturizers on your nail beds and hands once done! 

Alert: The smell of plain rubbing alcohol can be a tad overwhelming, so this polish removal method should be your last choice. 

Our Good Recommendations:

  1. Hand Sanitizer Spray – 100 Percent Pure 
  1. Hand Sanitizer Set – by Humankind 

However, these popular nail polish methods didn’t prove to be as effective as non-toxic nail polish remover for us. But, no doubt, they come in handy, are inexpensive, and contribute less to harming the planet.


Thanks to many nail polish remover hacks and non-toxic removers in the market, you can finally have a green mani and pedi.

If the above-listed methods seem like a drag or something you’re sick of trying, give press-on nails a chance. If you’re wondering whether non-toxic press-on nails are actually a thing, the answer is yes!

loa nails press on nails
LOA Nails

Our favorite is LOA Nails. This brand has some fantastic reusable press-ons that are sustainable and easy to wear. These nails can last you weeks without getting chipped. (Finally!) 

The brand offers a range of non-plastic and non-smelly nails that will stand out. With a range of different shapes, lengths, colors, and designs, you know you’re in for good with these press-on nails. 

Our Good Recommendations: 

Frequently Asked Questions: 

What is a substitute for acetone? 

Instead of acetone, you can use toothpaste, deodorants, hair sprays, and hydrogen peroxide (with water), to remove your old or chipped nail polish easily. You can also keep painting your nails until a thick layer is formed that can be peeled off to get rid of the polish altogether. 

How do you remove nail polish at home? 

Use alcohol or alcohol-based products to peel away nail polish at home. You will need a cotton ball or swab that can work great with rubbing alcohol or even hand sanitizers.

Can sanitizer remove nail polish? 

Yes, as most hand sanitizers contain a bit of alcohol, they can help to soften the polish on your beautiful nails. Soak your fingers in it and rub them with cotton balls; Boom, you’re done!

What are other ways to remove nail polish? 

Non-acetone nail polish remover, nail filing, stain-fighting detergent, and spirits like vodka are the other best ways to remove nail polish off.

We hope you love the products we recommend! All products featured on GoodGuilt are independently selected by our editors. If you buy something through our retail links, we may earn a commission on the sale. Oh, and FYI — prices are accurate and items in stock as of the time of publication.

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