How to get nail glue off your skin

How To Get Nail Glue Off Your Skin: The Best Methods

Do you love your artificial nails but hate unwanted glue spread? Here's how to get nail glue off your skin.
Updated: January 18, 2023
Share article:
Article Contents

Learning how to get nail glue off your skin is essential if you enjoy flaunting your creativity and style by regularly wearing big bold nails. It doesn’t matter how skillful you are at applying them, sometimes mistakes will be made and you’ll end up with nail glue in places it shouldn’t be.

Thankfully, removing nail glue from the skin is straightforward and quick, and once you learn the best methods you’ll never have to worry about dealing with unwanted glue spread ever again.

Let’s dive in.

The properties of nail glue

The artificial nail industry is huge, and it’s growing all the time. In fact, business experts predict that by 2030, the global artificial nails market is set to be worth $2.23 billion. Not bad, right?

One of the reasons for this massive growth is the fact that artificial nails have become a trusted product in the eyes of millions of women worldwide, and the strength and performance of nail glue has a lot to do with that.

Nail glue is difficult to remove from the skin because of its incredibly potent ingredients. Cyanoacrylate, one of the main components of super glue, can be found in the formulas of many nail glue products. Nail glue, along with super glue, is designed to form a tight adhesive grip in rapid time, which is what makes it so useful and reliable. Therefore, learning how to get nail glue off your skin safely and easily is incredibly important.

How to get nail glue off your skin

Here we go, enough with the fluff. This is what you’re here to learn so let’s get to it!

Removing nail glue can be tricky, but with a few simple methods, it can become easier over time. Much like getting rid of wig glue, the process is rather similar.

Here are some of our best techniques.

Nail polish remover

Okay, this one sounds obvious, but it’s on our list because it works. Nail polish remover isn’t just capable of washing away actual varnish on your nails, it’s actually a very effective way of clearing your skin from unwanted nail glue spread.

Grab yourself the following tools:

  • Toothbrush
  • Cotton swabs
  • Nail polish remover (acetone-based)

Before you start, make sure you have an acetone-based nail polish remover, as this will work best at cleaning away the glue.

Firstly, use your cotton swab and dip it into the nail polish remover before applying it to the area of your skin affected by the glue. Keep applying pressure, and add more remover if needed, until the glue begins to dislodge from the skin. Once the glue becomes weak enough, use the toothbrush to gently but thoroughly scrape it off the skin. Repeat this process until all the glue has been removed.

Be aware that acetone-based products can dry out the skin quite easily, so take care when using significant amounts of it. Perhaps have a moisturizer on standby to apply to your skin afterward for safety.

Soap and water

Again, this may seem like an obvious solution, but you shouldn’t underestimate the power of good old soap and water. Ultimately, this method requires speed and fast action, as waiting too long after a glue spillage may make this technique harder than it should have been.

To make the best use of the soap and water method, you need to be heading to the sink as soon as you detect a glue mishap. Don’t sit around and wait a few minutes, as this will allow enough time for the glue to activate its adhesive properties on the skin.

Simply apply lukewarm water and soap to the affected area and gently rub it in. Additionally, you can fill a small bowl full of warm water and leave your skin submerged for a while so the soap has a better chance of being absorbed. Either way, time is of the essence. If you act fast, you can have the glue removed in under 10 minutes. However, failure to seize this opportunity could result in you scrubbing away for significantly longer.

The biggest advantage of the soap and water technique is that you don’t need to go out and buy additional products like nail polish remover. Also, no harsh chemicals such as acetone are being used, which will give your skin a much better chance of staying soft and hydrated, rather than dry and tight.

Petroleum jelly

Our final recommendation on how to get nail glue off your skin is the use of a product named petroleum jelly.

What is petroleum jelly? It’s a jelly-like mixture filled with waxes and mineral oils. Traditionally it has been used for moisturizing and skin-healing purposes, but it also has the ability to clean and wash the skin effectively.

To use petroleum jelly to remove nail glue from the skin, simply apply a generous heap of jelly to the problematic skin and dried glue, and rub it in a circular motion until the glue begins to crumble away and dissolve. From there, wash both the jelly and the glue remnants off the skin using lukewarm water and soap. Easy peasy!

Petroleum jelly is a game-changer in this area, as it can effectively wipe away nail glue, as well as remove excess wax from the skin with relative ease.


Getting nail glue off your skin isn’t as challenging as it may appear to be. With a few simple techniques and a couple of helpful products, you can make short work of clearing away that troublesome dried nail glue.

Now go out there, stick those big, bossy nails on, and hit the town!

Read more:
Let's take this to the inbox!
Get our latest skincare news, best product recommendations & brand-exclusive discount codes directly to your inbox.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.
Staying Medically Accurate!
This article has been reviewed by the in-field experts on our Medical Content Advisory Board to ensure everything is up-to-date and accurate.