DIY Non-Toxic Nail Polish Remover that's safe for kids and your lungs - several options!

DIY Non-Toxic Nail Polish Remover

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DIY Non-Toxic Nail Polish Remover - Several options to fit your style
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Removing your nail polish is usually quite a simple task. That is, until you are a Scratch Mommy, and reaching for the conventional acetone nail polish remover makes you cringe with the thought of inhaling toxins (especially if you are removing polish from your little girl’s nails!).

Some of the serious offending ingredients are:

  • Acetone: headaches, dizziness, and irritated eyes, skin, and throat
  • Butyl acetate: headaches and irritated eyes, skin, nose, mouth, and throat
  • Ethyl acetate: irritated eyes, stomach, skin, nose, mouth, and throat; high levels can cause fainting
  • Isopropyl acetate: sleepiness, and irritated eyes, nose, and throat (1)

But now that you know how to DIY your own nail polish, you need to learn some methods to safely remove it.

One thing you will need to remember is that removing polish with more natural methods will ABSOLUTELY take longer than with conventional methods (since you are not chemically melting the polish away)… and it will require more effort. You’ll feel so accomplished with your DIY non-toxic nail polish remover though!

But anything worth doing is worth doing right if you ask me!

DIY Non-Toxic Nail Polish Remover that's safe for kids and your lungs - several options!
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There are a few different methods that you can try:

  • Emery board / nail file – Since ditching conventional acetone remover, this is the method I tend to use since I always have an emery board on hand. This one is pretty easy: just softly file away the nail polish, one finger at a time, until finished. This method usually leads to giggles from my daughter as it “tickles her toes” 🙂
  • White vinegar + citrus fruit – The acid from vinegar will help break down nail polish, after rubbing with / on a cotton ball it will be possible to wipe off the polish. Just pour some vinegar into a small bowl, add juice from your citrus fruit (lemon, lime, orange or grapefruit) and mix together. Use a cotton ball to apply. If there is anything left that is difficult to remove fully, then use your emery board to file it all off. Even with the lemon juice, my daughter called this the “stinky” remover.
  • Clear nail polish (topcoat or basecoat) – apply a thick layer of clear over your nails, and then wipe all layers away, one finger at a time. I have done this by accident in the past, and it absolutely does work!
  • Vodka – using a strong 80+ proof vodka can help remove nail polish. I have not had the chance to actually try this to test it out since I didn’t have vodka in the house, but it may be worth trying if you do.
  • Rubbing Alcohol – this would be my last choice, simply because even though rubbing alcohol is a natural substance and you are using it topically, it is flammable and can be toxic when inhaled…so always use extreme caution and in a well-ventilated area.

**You can increase the effectiveness of any of these removers by soaking your nails in hot water for 10-15 minutes beforehand, to help soften the old nail polish to be removed.**

If you are in a pinch and simply need to grab a bottle of ‘better’ for you nail polish remover, I have used this one and it works well. Remember, we all do as much as we can to live #LifeFromScratch, but when we have run out of steam to DIY, or don’t have ingredients, or would simply rather grab something that on the scale of “good, better, best” will work for us, I’d say this one is ‘better.’

Looking to use natural cosmetics for your entire beauty routine? We sell facial powder and facial foundation in three shades in our Pronounce Skincare shop!

(1) United States OSHA website

Comments 6

  1. Its great to try non-toxic alternatives, but more nail polishes are toxic in themselves and completely unnecessary, wouldn’t it be simpler and safer to skip the polish completely? We need to reclaim the beauty in plain nails, undied hair and no makeup 🙂

    1. Awww, I love this, Farmer Liz! Natural beauty IS so beautiful! …but, I will say it’s fun to paint my nails from time-to-time (and my 3 year old son agrees, as I recently painted his toes with some non-toxic polish). 😉 To each his or her own, I suppose! At least we are able to offer a non-toxic and fun solution here for those who do wish to paint their nails.

    2. Post

      I definitely agree Farmer Liz! And I actually say that to my daughter on many occasions. But it is nice to have some non-toxic DIY’s that we can do together as mother and daughter, and this was one of them. They give us the opportunity to bond, and for me to teach her about how to make things ourselves instead of always buying things; and I must say that I love those lessons and the time spent together creating!

  2. Hi everyone! I am 15 years old (so not a mother apart from being an adoptive mother of 5 of 7 dogs!) and I am trying to make my own nail varnishes. I have made a few (which my friend is gladly willing to help me try out!) but now I am trying to make my own nail varnish remover. Problem is, I live in Greece where it is almost IMPOSSIBLE to get white vinegar! I was wondering if there was anything else that was similar I could use? Would cider vinegar work?


    1. Hi Emily! I have heard from many people outside of the US that getting their hands on white vinegar is difficult. So sorry to hear this…how frustrating. :/ But…yes, you can use cider vinegar, for sure. Happy DIYing!

  3. Pingback: 200+ DIY Beauty Products and Recipes: The Ultimate List - The Nourished Life

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