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How To Clean Underneath Acrylic Nails? [ Step By Step Guide ]

It’s a common choice for women to have acrylic fingernails applied on their real nails to get a glamorous look as desired. While some people have naturally strong nails, people can not grow them too long without breaking a nail or two, and in such cases, the magic of acrylics comes to their rescue.

Acrylic nails are extensions placed over fingernails as fashion accessories. Some designs attempt to mimic the appearance of real fingernails as closely as possible, while others choose deliberately straying in favor of a more artistic look.

This faux nail method is ideal for anyone desiring long nails but cannot maintain their ideal shape or length on their own.

How to clean underneath acrylic nails?

Acrylic nails do require a lot of upkeep and high maintenance. A common issue about acrylic fingernails is that dirt does tend to get accumulated quite easily underneath them.

They seem to collect dirt from everything you touch, and there is no possibility of removing them for cleaning purposes as they are fixed securely while being placed.

Hygiene is a very important aspect regarding your health in general, and it applies to your fingernails as well, even more so when you go for acrylics. Dust and dirt buildup is inevitable.

Your nails may even give out a bad odor or show discoloration (often yellow or green) if bacteria and fungi are allowed to grow underneath them, causing infection.

Taking care of them is a tough task, especially while carrying out your daily schedule and activities or having a fun outing with your friends.

Cleaning them from time to time and enacting some preventive measures should be enough. This article suggests a few tips and methods that will help you keep your acrylic fingernails clean and prevent any fungal infection or growth.

Some measures to help keep the underneath of your acrylic nails clean as well as maintaining their glossy look are as follows:

  • Washing your hands with water as often as possible can help. It will prevent the dirt from getting accumulated. It is a good habit for keeping your hands clean and germ-free.
  • Make sure to dry your hands and nails properly after washing them. No moisture must remain, as it can cause further problems. Bacteria and fungus growth can worsen due to excess water left, causing infection and discoloration. The moisture can also result in your acrylics rising and falling off.
  • Wear gloves whenever possible, and avoid touching objects unnecessarily. A little care regarding the same will surely help with hygiene and prevent your acrylic nails from getting damaged, ensuring they last longer.
  • Do not pick your fingernails or use them to pick other things. It may cause them to get damaged or weakened.
  • Eat a healthy diet. Fingernails are a representation of the nutrition that you consume. A balanced diet rich in essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals keeps them glossy as desired and prevents them from drying, getting brittle, and cracking.
  • Moisturize your nails. Nail lotions, hand lotions, and oils rich in vitamin E can moisturize dry nails and keep them glossy. Although apply the moisturizer and let it absorb only after thoroughly removing the dirt around the cuticles and under the nails.

Following up on the above-recommended measures does help to prevent your acrylic fingernails from getting damaged and dirty.

Although, as mentioned previously, it is always impossible to follow up on the same due to your everyday commitments. Some top ways to clean your fingernails, even if it does get dirty as listed below for your assistance:

The Antibacterial Soap Method

Antibacterial soaps are very cheap to purchase and very effective for cleaning purposes. Soaking your nails in antibacterial soap, or even with any regular soap in general, destroys any bacteria or fungus that may be present underneath your fingernails.

To apply the same, first, soak your hands, place them under a lukewarm water tap, and make sure that your nails are exposed properly to the flowing water, especially the portion under the acrylics.

Then take the bar of antibacterial soap and apply it underneath your fingernails.

There are two ways to do this: First, by using the nails of one hand to scrape the dirt with soap of the other hand, and the do the same for the other; Second, and probably the better way, to scratch the surface of the bar of soap, making sure that chunks of soap get underneath your nails, allowing it to do its magic. Rinse the soap thoroughly, removing the soap and the dirt under a tap of flowing lukewarm water, making certain that no residue is left.

Finally, use a towel to dry your acrylics thoroughly.

It’s important to make sure no moisture is left over as it can cause your nails to come out and fall off, something you will certainly want to avoid. You can also use an orange stick to scrape off any leftover pieces of soap bits that may remain after this whole process.

The Nail-Brush/Soft-Bristle Toothbrush Method

A designated nail brush or even a toothbrush (if the former is not readily available) are excellent tools to clean the underneath of your acrylic fingernails.

They easily get to all the hard-to-reach parts where the soap may not reach and where the dirt generally accumulates, mainly due to their size and shape. You can use toothpaste as a medium to clean these parts, as it is easily available.

Before its application, it’s probably a good idea to dampen the brush with water and get your nails beforehand; the cleaning process requires you to brush the underneath of your nails in slow motion, giving each nail a few minutes before moving on to the next.

It is to go slow through the whole process, as rushing it may cause damage to your acrylics or may even end up hurting you.

Make sure to keep washing the brush as well in between, from time to time, to remove any dirt particles that may stick to the brush surface itself.

The Rubbing Alcohol Method

Rubbing alcohol is an excellent resource to disinfect any surface, including the area under your fingernails. The solution kills any germs or bacteria present in that area and is readily available and affordable.

You can use this method on its own and in combination with any (or both) of the methods described above.

You can use nail polish removal as an alternate option, although it has the added risk of ruining your acrylics if used in excess.

To apply the same, pour a small amount of rubbing alcohol onto a cotton bud or a cotton ball.

Using just a little amount does the job and goes a long way, so try not to pour extra to avoid wasting it unnecessarily. Gently rub the corners and the area around your fingernails, making sure of removing all the dirt and disinfecting it properly.

There is no need to press too hard; gently sweep the bud back and forth (similar to how you go about it with the toothbrush method). You can also use a toothpick or an orange stick and the alcohol-dipped cotton buds to access hard-to-reach parts, which may be difficult to go about just using your fingers.


Acrylic fingernails give a beautiful look and make your hands look well-cared for, but only if maintained properly. Dirt underneath your nails and the growth of bacteria and fungi on the surface gives out a bad look and can damage your nails and endanger your health if not cared for properly.

Taking care of them should be a part of your daily grooming activity. It would help if you gave time and affection to them regularly to carry out their proper maintenance.

After all, preventing the damage is always better than worrying about curing it later.