How To Get Rid Of Nail Polish Smell On Nails?

How To Get Rid Of Nail Polish Smell On Nails? That lingering smell of nail polish can really hang around on your nails, hands, and nails tools! While some enjoy the scent, others find it overwhelming and want it gone ASAP after polishing.

I’ve tried many methods over the years to remove or mask the stubborn polish scent from clients’ nails and my salon. So, I’ll share techniques I’ve found that actually work to get rid of nail polish odor from nails and tools. With the right products and steps, you can send that smell packing!

Why Does Nail Polish Smell So Strong?

Why Does Nail Polish Smell So Strong?

First, let’s look at why nail lacquer has such a pervasive, chemical-like aroma:

  • Nail polish contains volatile solvents like formaldehyde, toluene, and dibutyl phthalate that evaporate as it dries. The vapors they release are what you smell.
  • The specific scent depends on the particular solvents and ratios used in a polish formula.
  • Pigments, glitter, and certain dyes can also influence the aroma strength and qualities. Very dark polishes often smell strongest in my experience.
  • As you polish, these odor-releasing components get dispersed into the air and absorbed into your nail beds, hands, and tools.

While some find the scent pleasing, many want it gone fast after finishing their manicure. Luckily, there are effective solutions.

How To Get Rid Of Nail Polish Smell On Nails?

How To Get Rid Of Nail Polish Smell On Nails?

Method #1: Baking Soda Scrub

One of my tried-and-true odor eliminators is a simple baking soda scrub. It works great for removing polish scent from nails. Just mix:

  • 1 tablespoon of baking soda
  • Enough water to form a gritty paste

Gently massage the mixture onto your nails for 60 seconds, then rinse thoroughly and pat dry.

The baking soda absorbs and neutralizes odor compounds. The light scrubbing action also lifts lingering traces from the nail surface. I like using a soft nail brush for the scrub to avoid damaging nails.

Method #2: Lemon Juice Soak

Citrus juices like lemon contain acids that help break down and dissolve nail polish scent molecules. Just follow these steps:

  • Fill a bowl with warm water and squeeze in fresh lemon juice.
  • Soak nails for 5-10 minutes allowing the solution to penetrate.
  • Rinse very well and dry nails thoroughly with a clean cloth.

The fresh lemon scent also helps cover any lingering chemical notes. It leaves nails smelling clean and bright!

Method #3: Rubbing Alcohol

For a super quick way to strip polish odor traces, try using some rubbing alcohol:

  • Pour a bit of 70% isopropyl alcohol onto a cotton pad or round.
  • Gently wipe over the entire nail plate surface, concentrating on cuticles and nail edges where formula collects.
  • Allow to completely air dry. The alcohol evaporates rapidly, pulling odor with it!

This takes just seconds and is great for odor emergencies when you need nails scent-free immediately. I always keep a bottle on hand.

Method #4: Essential Oil Solution

You can also make a aromatherapy soak using cleansing essential oils like lemon, tea tree, or mint. Just mix:

  • 1⁄2 cup warm water
  • 8-10 drops of your chosen essential oil(s)

Stir to blend, then submerge nails for 5 minutes. Rinse clean.

The antiseptic oils help destroy odor molecules while leaving a fresh, pleasant scent behind. I love this method for tools too!

Method #5: Coffee Grounds Scrub

Used coffee grounds are also excellent natural deodorizers. For a nail polish scent removal scrub:

  • Combine 1 tablespoon used grounds with 1 tsp olive oil and enough water to form a paste.
  • Massage over nails for 60-90 seconds, then rinse well.

The grounds lift and absorb odor, while the oil conditions nails. Be sure to scrub tools too!

Method #6: Mask With Stronger Scent

You can also cover up lingering polish smell with another fragrance like:

  • Cologne, perfume, or scented lotion – apply to hands and nails.
  • Essential oils – add to moisturizer and massage in.

The goal is to overpower any remaining odor. Reapply as needed when you notice the smell returning.

With the right techniques and products, you can conquer stubborn nail polish scent and get your nails smelling fresh again. Find the solution that works best for your needs. And be sure to treat your tools and workspace too!


That stubborn nail polish scent can really linger on your nails, hands, clothes, and workspace long after finishing your manicure. While some enjoy the aroma, many find it overwhelming. L

uckily, with the right household ingredients and techniques, you can effectively eliminate lingering lacquer odor. Gentle scrubs, citrus soaks, antimicrobial oils, and masking fragrances help remove and neutralize the tenacious smell.

Be diligent about treating your nails, tools, and environment to fully erase any traces. With the proper products and methods, you can finally achieve odor-free nails and refreshing scents you’ll look forward to after polishing.

For more DIY beauty tips and nail care advice, check out the Villa Nails blog.

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