Posted on: August 11, 2017 at 3:05 pm
Last updated: June 14, 2018 at 12:37 pm

Wearing nail polish can be a great way to maintain good-looking toenails and fingernails. And who doesn’t love a relaxing manicure and pedicure? But if you choose to wear nail polish, consider the chemicals that come with it, especially the common chemicals used to remove the nail polish. Nail polish remover is definitely a quick and easy way to get the polish off of your nails, but is conventional nail polish remover safe? The answer is pretty simple: No.

Conventional Nail Polish Remover

A lot of nail polish removers contain toxic chemicals such as formaldehyde, toluene and phthalates. These chemicals have long been found in conventional nail polish remover and may cause issues such as cancer, asthma, and even problems with the reproductive system. It’s no wonder the smell of a nail salon is so intense. And, of course, inhaling those chemicals can affect you too.

Another ingredient that is very common in nail polish remover is acetone. Acetone is dangerous because it is flammable and is powerful enough to dissolve plastic. Specifically, shares some important facts that you should know: “Isopropyl acetone, methyl ethyl ketone, and n-methyl-pyrrolidone, are commonly used as the solvent in nail polish removers. Evidence suggests that these chemicals may cause reproductive harm and organ toxicity.” (1)


OK — enough said. As you know, I am a big advocate of label reading and that goes for all products in and around your body and environment. If you are uncertain, you can learn more about the safety of nail polish remover products on the Environmental Working Group (EWG) website. (2)

So, how do you make your own nail polish remover? It’s easy with my DIY nail polish remover recipe. Plus you can be sure the ingredients are nontoxic.

How to Make Your Own DIY Nail Polish Remover

First, start by pouring one-third cup of organic apple cider vinegar into a small bowl. Apple cider vinegar is great for may reasons. It’s antibacterial and anti-fungal, which helps keep the nail area free from bacterial growth.

Next, add the essential oils. Grapefruit, sweet orange and lemon oils are all acidic. It’s the acid that helps remove the fingernail polish; however, they contain other attributes as well. Grapefruit essential oil is a natural antimicrobial as is sweet orange essential oil. Lemon essential oil is great too since it adds to the prevention of bacteria while offering nourishing vitamin C to the skin. Lemon essential oil contains d-limonene, which is an antioxidant that helps keep the nails healthy while removing the polish.

Lastly, add the rubbing alcohol and blend all ingredients well. The rubbing alcohol is a natural substance made up of ethanol or ethyl alcohol, but it should only be used topically.

How to Use DIY Nail Polish Remover

Now that you have made your DIY fingernail polish remover, it’s time try it. Soak a cotton ball in the solution, then begin rubbing it on the nails. It may take a bit longer than the chemical-laden version, but with patience, you can have a healthy approach to fingernail polish removal. You can also dip the nails into the solution for about 20 seconds, then use a cotton ball to wipe clean.


Once you are done, wash your hands with warm water and a gentle soap, then apply hand moisturizer on your hands and fingernails since the acidity can dry them out a bit. You can also use coconut oil. Store the remaining product in a small bottle or container.

Taking the time to make this DIY nail polish remover can make a big difference in the health of your nails and the skin that surrounds them.

DIY Nail Polish Remover with Grapefruit, Orange & Lemon Oils

Total Time: 5 Minutes



  • 1/3 cup organic apple cider vinegar
  • 3 drops of grapefruit essential oil
  • 3 drops of sweet orange essential oil
  • 7 drops of lemon essential oil
  • ⅓ cup rubbing alcohol


  1. Pour the apple cider vinegar into a small bowl.
  2. Add the essential oils and rubbing alcohol.
  3. Blend well.
  4. Store in a small bottle or container.

This article is shared with permission from our friends at Dr. Axe.

Josh Axe
Doctor of Natural Medicine
Doctor of Natural Medicine at Exodus Health Center Dr. Josh Axe, DNM, DC, CNS, is a doctor of natural medicine, clinical nutritionist and author with a passion to help people get well using food as medicine. Dr. Axe is the author of Eat Dirt and Essential Oils: Ancient Medicine , and he's also the founder of , one of the world's top natural health sites that draws more than 11 million visitors each month.

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