Removing soak-off UV gel

In a salon, your nails will probably be filed, wrapped in lint free cotton swabs soaked in a branded remover, tightly covered with strips of aluminium foil then either placed in a heated glove or under UV light to speed the process.  You can do this at home with your UV lamp but I found it very fiddly doing my own nails like this – as soon as you wrap one hand, you’re unable to use that hand to do the other!

DIY REMOVAL – do this all on an old towel

  • Find a small glass bowl which will hold all your fingernails
  • Pour about 1 inch (2.5 cm) of pure acetone into the bowl
  • Use a coarse nail file to break the surface of the gel on each nail
Roughen gel surface

Roughen gel surface


  • Dip all your fingernails into the acetone – and be patient
  • Wait 15 minutes then remove hands from liquid
  • The gel will bubble and lift from the nail
Gel lifts off

Gel lifts off

Pushing off the gel

Pushing off the gel

  • Push the gel off with a wooden orange stick
  • Remove any stubborn gel by giving affected nails another five minute dip
  • Last remains can be gently removed with a fine nail file or buffer
  • Wash hands thoroughly

TIP   Do your soaking while watching TV (on a tray on your lap) – the minutes rush by.

Dispose of acetone (flush down sink) or recycle by lining a funnel with tissue and straining liquid back into bottle.  Wash dish and funnel thoroughly.


For toenails you will have to soak cotton pads (I cut them in half) and clamp on your toenails while the gel softens.  I find that while the gel lasts much longer on my toenails – six weeks or so compared with two for fingernails –  the gel loosens in the bath/shower over time and can almost be peeled off.

HINT  Skin soaked in acetone may go white – BUT it disappears as soon as you wash your hands/feet.  Salon products are just as powerful.


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