A Guide: How To Clean White Acrylic Nails

Whilst white acrylic nails are a popular choice, they can be the most difficult to maintain in our every day-to-day lives. They look wonderful and smart when you first get them done, but give it a couple of days and they might become tired and old.

Just like with a pair of white pants, they can become stained easily. If you think about it, you are using your hands all the time, so the white nails are bound to pick up dirt and debris, just like other acrylics.

A Guide How To Clean White Acrylic Nails

The difference with the color white is that it shows more, and this can be a problem if you want to keep that manicure looking clean and fresh for at least two weeks, if not more. 

If your white acrylics have started to discolor, then they are probably more ugly than elegant. Whilst not attractive, they can be cleaned to look as good as new. 

In this article we shall explain why they turn the color they do, and various ways to help them clean up their act.

Methods Of Cleaning White Acrylic Nails

Methods Of Cleaning White Acrylic Nails

It is difficult to avoid staining white acrylic nails, especially because we use our hands all day, every day. Whilst there are ways to look after your acrylic nails (see at the bottom of this article), cleaning them should be an easy task. 

Most of the cleaning products will be items available in your kitchen cupboard, otherwise you will be able to find them easily at the local grocery store. 

The easy option is to go and see your nail technician, but if you want to avoid that scenario for the time being, then read on. 

Soap, Water And A Brush

Soap, Water And A Brush

If you have a fresh stain that you want to remove, such as from food or mud from the backyard, then using a simple nail brush, warm water, and soap should do the trick of removing it quickly.

If it requires scrubbing, then use a light pressure otherwise you may accidentally take some nail polish off. 

If it is a stain that has been sitting on your acrylic nail for more than an hour, then this is likely not to be a good method, though it is worth trying as the nail brush may be able to remove it, even if it is dry. 

Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen Peroxide

Whilst this should not be a first go-to, it can be useful to clean white acrylic due to its ‘whitening’ properties – you do use this stuff on the hair, for example.

Fill a bowl of 100ml of hot, not boiling, water. It needs to be at a comfortable temperature that will not harm the skin. Mix in one teaspoon of the hydrogen peroxide and stir together to mix.

Once the mixture is ready, place the fingers (or the one dirty nailed finger) into the bowl and let it soak for around 10 minutes. 

Once the time is up, rinse your hands thoroughly under water and use soap as well. 

Due to the drying effects of this product, moisturize those hands to keep them super smooth and supple. 

Rubbing Alcohol

Rubbing Alcohol

If you have stains from something like a pen or hair dye, then rubbing alcohol may be the solution to remove them. 

Soak a cotton pad with the solution and rub it gently across the nail to lift the stain. This should remove it completely. 

Baking Soda

Baking Soda

Using baking soda is a widely used method to clean acrylic finger nails and keep them maintained on a weekly basis. It is even stated that they can lift acrylic a shade or two, so it is a great option for white nails. 

Run your fingers under the faucet to dampen the nails. Apply some baking soda onto an old or new toothbrush and gently scrub at the nail. It can help to lift off gunk and clean under the nail too.

Once finished, rinse under the tap. 

Lemon Juice

Lemon Juice

Lemon juice is another common way to clean white acrylic nails. Not only does it clean the nails, it naturally lightens them too. Also, you can find this inexpensive ingredient already in your kitchen, otherwise it is easy to find at the grocery store.

Cut a lemon in half and squeeze the juice out into a bowl or cup. Take a Q-tip and soak one end into the juice for around 10 seconds. 

Once it has soaked up some lemon juice, gently wipe it across the affected nail – or all of them for a quick clean. 

Once this process has been done, let the lemon juice sit on your nail for around 2 minutes. After the allotted time, use a dry lint-free washcloth to scrub away at the nails softly. 

If you catch your skin, you may find it stings or is super drying, so make sure to moisturize those hands. 

Lemon Salt Scrub

Lemon Salt Scrub

If you need a stronger clean, then a lemon scrub may just do the trick. Whilst the lemon juice will give the nail a clean, the scrub will buff the nail and help to remove any stubborn dirt. 

In a bowl, add two tablespoons of lemon juice, followed by two tablespoons of salt. Mix the two ingredients together to form a paste. Apply it to each nail and gently rub it in to start the scrubbing process.

Do not over scrub by keeping it to under a minute. Once you have finished that step, leave it on for up to 5 minutes and then wash it off using soap and warm water.

Just like with the regular lemon juice, moisturize those hands because lemon can be very harsh on the skin.

Buffing The Nail

Buffing The Nail

If you do not want to try any wet methods, then you could lightly buff the top of the acrylic to gently lift a stain away.

The only issue with this is it will require you to potentially repaint the top surface, so you could just repaint the stain anyway – though it might show through with white acrylic.

Other Quick Methods

Other Quick Methods

Here are a few tried and tested methods to do if the above fail:

  • Use apple cider vinegar to clean the acrylic nail.
  • Salt and olive oil scrub similar to the lemon salt scrub.
  • Use whitening toothpaste on a toothbrush to gently rub at the stain.
  • Soak a cotton pad in either castor oil or coconut oil to help lift and remove the stain.
  • Use an essential oil like tea tree mixed in water to remove the stain, though this can be a slow method which needs to be repeated daily.

Why Do White Acrylics Turn Yellow?

Why Do White Acrylics Turn Yellow

You may find that acrylic nails like to soak up anything they come into contact with, and this can prove a big problem when you have chosen to have them in the color white.

Whilst not everyone will find that their white acrylic nails are an issue, those who tend to be more hands-on may find that their nails are discoloring faster than the Flash can move from one side of the room to another.

If you are finding that your white acrylics are turning yellow, then you are going to want to find out what is causing it to do so. 

One major reason is UV rays. Exposure to the sun can, and most likely will, cause your beautiful new acrylic nails to start to yellow a couple or so weeks after you have had them done.

You can avoid this happening by using  sun lotion on each nail every time you leave the house, and remember to reapply it. 

Yes, you will need to do it over fall and winter too!

Other reasons can include chemicals you are exposed to such as cleaning products around the home, washing the dishes, hair dye, cigarettes and even the quality of the nail gel. 

If you opted for a bargain priced nail technician, then you may find that he or she has used cheaper products, and because of this the gel on your acrylic manicure has started to discolor.

The best way to avoid this is to do your research before you get your nails done next time. 

How To Maintain White Acrylic Nails

How To Maintain White Acrylic Nails

Maintaining white acrylic nails is key to keeping them free of discoloration and clean. As we have stated previously, white acrylics are more likely to look less fresh as time goes on compared to other colors.

So, let us take a look at ways to keep them from looking less than brand-new:

  • Always wear gloves when you clean the dishes or the home. This will protect the nails from any harsh chemicals that may turn them yellow.
  • Avoid eating using your hands to stop stains appearing on the acrylic. Any other color is fine, but for white acrylic, that is an absolute no-no.
  • When you cook food, wear gloves when possible if you are creating sauces or dealing with messy food that may get onto the hands. This goes for baking too!
  • Make sure you practice good personal hygiene by washing your hands when you should be doing. Always remember to dry your hands fully afterwards, especially around the acrylic nails to avoid an infection.
  • Every week, use a nail brush and warm water to scrub at the acrylic nails. This can stop a build up of dirt in its tracks. Do not do it too often to avoid the polish from chipping away.
  • Apply a clear coat of polish every day, or every other day to prevent the acrylic nails from chipping. This helps to make the manicure look brand-new every day. 

How To Clean Underneath A White Acrylic Nail

How To Clean Underneath A White Acrylic Nail

Whilst it is really important to clean the top of a white acrylic nail, you also do not want dirt to build up underneath the nail. There are a number of factors why, but the two main reasons are the dirt will look terrible, and it can be a good breeding ground for bacteria.

So, here is how to clean under an acrylic nail:

  • Wash your hands regularly with warm soap and water. If you have some stubborn dirt trapped under the acrylic nail, use a nail brush gently to remove it.
  • If your nails are dry and you can see the dirt, a cuticle stick can be used to attempt to remove it, but your first step should be to wash your hands.
  • You can use a lemon scrub to thoroughly clean all around the nails, including under the acrylic. Do this once a week to keep on track with cleaning.
  • A whitening toothpaste can also be used to do a similar job, though may not give the same scrubbing effect and overall clean as a lemon scrub.
  • Always remember to dry the acrylic nails fully to avoid any infections. If you find that your nails are becoming infected, get the acrylic removed properly and let the nail heal. 
  • Keep fingernails moisturized and healthy. You do not want to have to deal with dry and peeling skin around the area of the acrylic nail. At night, use a moisturizer that is extra hydrating. 
  • Lastly, as stated above, get into the habit of cleaning your nails thoroughly at least once a week, though do remember to clean and dry your hands just generally. 

Final Words

Cleaning white acrylic nails might not seem like an easy task, but it is with the know-how. There are many options to choose from, no matter what type of stain has been acquired on top of the nail. 

Due to stains being hard to remove from a light color such as white, if it does refuse to move, then it is time to either repaint the surface or ask your nail technician to replace them, with the latter being a good choice if they really do look too worse for wear.

So, do not avoid getting white acrylic nails, just look after them. 

Miranda Cole
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