How to Get Nail Glue Off Skin: Quick and Easy Guide

There are many perks of having a home manicure and putting on artificial nails; however, you must be extremely careful using nail glue. Although it is perfect for making those manis last for weeks, it can also end up on your skin and create a problem. Since it can be hard to remove, we have decided to show you how to get nail glue off skin, so keep reading to find out more.

What You Need to Remove Nail Glue From Skin

Whenever you decide to have your nails done, you undoubtedly expect your manicures to be damage-free. One of the main things keeping your nails strong is the nail glue you use since it is designed to last and let you enjoy your perfect manicure as long as you want to. However, the fact that these nail glues are so durable also makes them hard to remove. 

What’s more, they are fast-drying, so if you accidentally get some on your skin, you should act fast or know precisely how to get nail glue off your fingers once the glue has dried. Or, if you don’t want to risk it, you may opt for using some of the top-grade gel nail kits and avoid having to glue fake nails. If you still prefer to use the first option, we have listed several ways to show you what removes nail glue best. To do this efficiently, you will need these products (most of which you probably already have at home):

  • acetone-based nail polish remover
  • petroleum jelly
  • soap 
  • hand lotion
  • salt

How to Take Off Nail Glue That’s Stuck to Your Skin

Although press-on nails have been popular for years before other manicure techniques appeared, they still remain frequently asked for. Instead of at-home dip nail kits, where you get to dip your own natural nails into various colors, you can choose these artificial nails that help you get the nail length you really want. 

However, applying these nails requires using nail glue which can quickly wind up where it’s not supposed to if you are not experienced or careful enough. That’s why we have decided to make this list, so read on to find out how to get nail glue off the skin without removing nails.

Acetone-Based Nail Polish Remover

The first thought that probably comes to everyone’s mind when dealing with nail glue on the skin is to utilize a nail polish remover, which is reasonable. However, you need to make sure you use an acetone-based one since it will liquefy the glue most effectively. To do so, you will also need a toothbrush and some cotton swabs. Now, here’s how to get nail glue off skin:

First, you need to soak a cotton swab in the nail polish remover and press it onto the part of your skin that’s covered in glue. Then, you need to leave it as is for several minutes to absorb and apply more if needed. Once the glue dissolves, get a toothbrush and carefully scratch out the remains of the adhesive.

Note that you must not forcefully peel the glue off, as that may lead to skin damage. Acetone may also make your skin extremely dry, so make sure to apply it only to the area covered in glue. In the event of your skin coming into direct contact with the acetone, it would be best if you had a versatile first aid kit at hand, since this compound makes your skin red and irritated. Moreover, exposure to acetone can burn your throat, eyes, and nose, so you may want to consider wearing a mask and doing all of this in a well-ventilated area.

Petroleum Jelly

If you are curious about how to remove nail glue from the skin without acetone, you can try another technique involving petroleum jelly, water, and soap. The first step includes applying a significant portion of petroleum jelly to the affected area and then using circular motions to massage it well for several minutes until the glue starts to loosen.

After the glue softens and breaks up, take the soap and wash your hands. While acetone dries the skin, petroleum jelly moisturizes it, so you should also apply some after removing nail glue with acetone to hydrate your hands.

Soap and Warm Water

Not everyone has acetone-based nail polish remover or petroleum jelly at their home at all times. If you find yourself in a situation where you have to remove nail glue from the skin, but you don’t have these products, worry not! Soap and water can help you out as well. If you have been wondering what takes off nail glue without much effort, this is the answer!

All you need to do is pour warm water mixed with gentle soap into a bowl and soak your hands for around 15 minutes, or until you see the nail glue starting to come off. Sometimes, this may take 10 seconds, while at other times, you may have to wait for 40 minutes, depending on the glue you used and how quickly you reacted. Preventing dryness and soothing your skin is also essential, so you need to finish with hand cream for best results.

Hand Lotion

If you’ve read how to get nail glue off hands with petroleum jelly, you should know hand lotions function similarly. You need hand or body lotion, soap, and water. Start off by rubbing and massaging the hand lotion onto the glue, and continue doing that for several minutes until you see the glue peeling off. Once the glue is all peeled off, you need to wash your hands with water and gentle soap, and apply hand cream to moisturize your skin. 


Although salt can be highly effective in removing glue, it can also irritate your skin and make it dry, so you should avoid using this technique if your skin is prone to breakouts. With this in mind, here’s how to get rid of nail glue on the skin using salt. With 2 tablespoons of salt and some water, make a thick paste you will rub onto the glue for 30 to 60 seconds. You should quickly see the salt dissolving and removing the traces of the glue. Rinse everything off, and you are good to go.

What Not to Do/Precautions and Warnings

Pulling it off forcefully makes the nail glue on the skin dangerous, as it could damage the skin and create a blister. This is why you need to apply one of the products mentioned above and soften the glue before removing it. Of course, there are other things you should avoid doing:

  • Don’t use sharp objects, including knives, blades, razors, or nail files.
  • Don’t touch wet glue since you will only spread it further. 
  • Don’t use strong cleaners or abrasives to remove the glue if you have broken, chapped, or inflamed skin.
  • Don’t let children near nail glue.
  • If you get nail glue on your lips or eyes, you need to see a doctor. Don’t use an acetone-based product; instead, just rinse the area immediately and seek medical help. The same goes if you notice nail glue burns.
  • Leaving nail glue on the skin for too long can cause issues like irritation, skin burns, rashes, etc. 


If you have ever tried to do your manicure and apply faux nails by yourself, you are aware of all the accidents that can happen, including spilling the nail glue on places other than your nails. Don’t rub it off or try any untested methods if you accidentally do that. Instead, please take a look at this guide since it will show you why it is essential to know how to get nail glue off skin.

Jelena holds a bachelor's degree in English language and literature. Although she wanted to be an English teacher, Jelena found herself in creative writing. She loves to travel and wander around unfamiliar places, while in her spare time, she loves watching movies, reading books, playing with her two dogs, and discovering new music.