Key Takeaways:

  • Learn the correct way to remove press-on toenails without damaging your natural nails.
  • Discover the tools and materials needed for a safe and effective removal process.
  • Understand the importance of aftercare to maintain healthy, natural nails post-removal.

Press-on toenails have become a popular alternative to traditional pedicures, offering a quick and easy way to achieve a professional-looking nail design home. However, when it comes time to switch up your style or return to your natural nails, knowing how to properly remove press-on is crucial to avoid damage. This article will guide you through the process, ensuring your natural nails remain healthy and intact.

How do you get rid of press on toenails

Preparing for Removal

Before you begin the removal process, it's important to gather all the necessary tools. You'll need pure acetone, a small bowl, warm, soapy water, a nail polish remover, cuticle oil, and an orangewood stick or cuticle pusher. Having everything on hand will make the process smoother and more efficient.

Step 1: Loosen the Edges

Start by soaking your nails in warm, soapy water for about five minutes. This will help to loosen the glue and make the press-is easier to remove. You can add a few drops of dish soap to the water to enhance the soaking process. After soaking, gently wiggle the edges of the press-on nails to test if they've loosened sufficiently.

Step 2: Apply Cuticle Oil

Next, apply cuticle oil around the nail beds. This will not only protect your skin but also help in breaking down the adhesive, making it easier to remove the press-on. A few drops should suffice, and you can gently massage it in with your fingers.

How do you get rid of press-on toenails

Step 3: Use Acetone

If the press-ons are firmly attached, it's time to bring out the big guns: pure acetone. Soak a cotton ball in acetone, place it on the nail, and wrap it with tin foil. This will concentrate the nail polish remover on the press-on, helping to dissolve the glue. Leave it on for about five minutes before checking if the nail is ready to come off.

Step 4: Gently Pry the Nail

After the acetone has had time to work, take the orangewood stick or cuticle pusher and gently pry the edges of the press-on nail. Be careful not to force it, as this can damage your natural nail bed. If the nail doesn't come off easily, you may need to soak it longer.

Step 5: Remove Remaining Adhesive

Once the press-on nails are off, you'll likely have some leftover adhesive on your natural nails. Soak your nails again in warm, soapy water to soften the remaining glue. Then, use the orangewood stick to gently scrape off any excess glue. Be gentle to avoid scratching your natural nails.

Step 6: Aftercare

After all the press-ons are removed, it's important to take care of your natural nails. Soak them one last time in warm water to ensure all the adhesive is gone. Then, apply a generous amount of cuticle oil to hydrate your nails and cuticles. This will help to repair any damage caused by the nail glue and prepare your nails for your next set of press-ons or polish.

How do you get rid of press on toenails

Tips from a Celebrity Nail Artist

A celebrity nail artist would advise you to take time with the removal process. Rushing can lead to mistakes and potential damage to your natural nails. They also recommend using a nail strengthener after removal to help restore your nails' natural health and prevent breakage.

Choosing the Right Removal Method

There are various methods to remove press-on nails, but the most effective and least damaging is the acetone soak method. This involves soaking the nails in acetone to break down the glue, allowing for easy removal. Other methods, such as peeling or ripping the nails off, can cause significant damage to the natural nail bed.

How do you get rid of press on toenails

The Importance of Nail Health

Maintaining the health of your natural nails is paramount. After removing press-on nails, give your nails a break before applying a new set. This allows your nails to recover and reduces the risk of fungal infections or other complications from back-to-back artificial nail applications.

When to Seek Professional Help

If you're struggling to remove your press-on toenails or if you experience pain during the process, it's best to seek professional help. A licensed nail technician will have the tools and expertise to remove the nails safely without causing harm to your natural nails.


Removing press-on toenails at home can be a simple and safe process when done correctly. By following the steps outlined in this guide and using the right tools and materials, you can ensure that your natural nails remain healthy and undamaged. Remember to practice patience and aftercare to keep your nails in top condition.

How do you get rid of press on toenails

FAQ Section

Can I reuse press-on toenails after removing them?

Yes, you can reuse press-on toenails if they are still in good shape after removal. Clean them thoroughly to remove any remaining adhesive, and store them properly until your next application.

How often should I change my press-on toenails?

It's recommended to change your press-on toenails every 1-2 weeks to maintain nail health and hygiene. However, this can vary depending on the growth rate of your natural nails and the quality of the press-on.

Is it safe to remove press-on toenails without acetone?

While it's possible to remove press-on toenails without acetone, it is the most effective way to dissolve the nail glue without causing damage. If you prefer not to use acetone, try the warm, soapy, water-soaked method, but it may take longer and require more effort.