Been busy preparing for that big interview tomorrow only to notice, literally at the 11th hour, that your manicure has chipped and is coming off? With a lousy manicure being a proven faux pas for interviews, you rush to find your nail polish remover, only to discover that you’ve run out of it.

Any of this sounds familiar?


There are many scenarios other than interviews where you don’t want to sport your chipped nails. A glittery manicure for a somber occasion tends not to be appropriate, or, maybe you’ve got a date with a super hot guy, and everything has to be perfect!

In such instances, an empty bottle of nail polish remover can easily foil your plans.

Well, no need to feel defeated. There is more than one way to get rid of your old nail polish without using remover. You can make do with almost any rubbing-alcohol-based liquid.

intro remove nail polish


Here are five methods, to choose from depending on your preference and what you have on hand.

Method 1: Hairspray

Things you’ll need:

things you need

  • Hairspray
  • Cotton balls or paper towels

Step 1. Spray hairspray on a cotton ball

Spray hairspray on cotton ball

Spray a clean cotton ball until its wet with hairspray.

Step 2. Rub gently to remove nail polish

Rub gently to remove nail polish



Gently rub the hairspray-soaked cotton ball thoroughly over your nail. As you work, pay close attention to ensure that that the cotton doesn’t become saturated with the nail polish. You may need to use several with this method.

Step 3. Repeat until the nail is clean

Repeat til nail is clean

When finished with one, repeat the method to remove the polish from all your nails.


Method 2: Hand Sanitizer

Things you’ll need:

things you need

  • Hand sanitizer
  • Cotton balls or paper towels

Step 1. Drizzle hand sanitizer on a cotton ball

Drizzle hand sanitizer on cotton ball

Generously drizzle hand sanitizer on a cotton ball.

Step 2. Massage your nails clean

Massage your nails clean

Massage with new cotton ball


Use the soaked cotton ball and gently massage your nails. If the cotton ball becomes saturated with color, discard it and repeat the process with a new one.

Step 3. Repeat on all nails

Repeat on all nails

Then, use the same process to clean the old polish off all your nails.

Method 3: Perfume

Things you’ll need:

things you need

  • Perfume
  • Cotton balls or paper towels

Step 1. Spray perfume on a paper towel

Spray perfume on paper towel

Spray perfume on a paper towel.

Step 2. Rub your nail to remove the polish

Rub damp towel on your nail

Remove polish from edges

Use the dampened paper towel to gently remove the old polish. Pay close attention to the sides of your nails. It can be a bit tricky to get the polish off the edges.

Step 3. Continue until the nail is clean

Continue tilll every nail is clean

Keep at the task until your nails are lacquer-free.

Method 4: Wet Nail Polish

Things you’ll need:


things you need

  • Nail polish
  • Cotton balls or paper towels

Step 1. Coat your nails with fresh nail polish

Apply fresh nail polish

Apply a thick coat of nail polish on your nail, covering it completely. Be sure the color of the new polish is darker than your old polish. Also, use a nail polish that doesn’t have a quick-drying formula.

Step 2. Remove all the polish using a cotton ball

Remove the polish using cotton ball

Quickly wipe the fresh nail polish off with a clean cotton ball. As you do, you will see the old color coming off with it. Move fast!  Don’t allow the fresh coat of polish to clot or begin to dry. It will become more difficult to remove if that happens.

Step3. Keep at it until all of your nails are polish-free

Keep removing till nails are clean

Using fresh nail polish to remove your old one can be messy. Use more cotton balls as needed. Once you get the hang of it, clean all your nails similarly.

Method 5: Wet top coat

Things you’ll need:

things you need

  • Top coat
  • Cotton balls or paper towels

Step 1. Apply a top coat on your nails

Apply top coat on nails

A top coat dries relatively slower than the average nail polish, thus proving to be a better choice for nail polish removal. Apply the top coat to your nail.

Step 2. Clean your nail using a paper towel

Clean nails using paper towel

Clean other nails

Use a clean paper towel to wipe off the wet top coat along with the old polish.

Step 3. Repeat on all nails

Repeat on all nails

Repeat the process until all your nails are free of old polish.

Tips for removing nail polish without remover

  • After you are done cleaning the old nail polish off your nails, dip them in warm, soapy water for 2 to 3 minutes. This will remove any residue and cotton fibers stuck to your nails.
  • Do not use these methods if you have an injured cuticle.
  • Do not spray hairspray or perfume directly on your nails. They may cause freeze burns when they evaporate quickly.
  • Always use new and thin nail polish or top coat to remove your old nail polish. If it’s old and thick, it won’t work.
  • Do not scratch off chipped polish or use a file to remove it. Doing so can damage your nails, making them weak and susceptible to infections.