How to Clean Under Acrylic Nails

How to Clean Under Acrylic Nails

When you have spent a lot of money on getting your nails done, it would be a shame to get an infection of the nail. You will not be surprised to know that dirt and bacteria can easily get trapped under an acrylic nail, especially seeing as how much we use our hands every day.

Not only can an infection hurt or look horrible, it will totally ruin that clean and polished feeling of having a manicure. 

If you have recently just treated yourself to a stint at the salon and come out with some luscious new nails, then you are going to want to know how to clean them properly. Well then, you have come to the right place. Read on to find out how to keep them sparkly clean.

How to clean under acrylic nails

What Are Acrylic Nails?

The popularity of having acrylic nails has boomed within the last decade. It is a great option for those who want to have beautiful looking nails that appear longer in length and will last for at least a few weeks, if not months – the latter being more prone to nail infections.

They are fixed to a natural nail by using a gel coat that is dried. The acrylic nail is then placed on top. Unlike an at-home acrylic nail kit, the ones done at the salon will be difficult to remove. This means that cleaning the nails can be a bit of an issue because you cannot just remove a nail to clean underneath and then return it.

The Problems With Acrylic Nails

Our hands are used every day in different situations, from washing dishes and holding door handles, to every day picking things up and cleaning the home. All these things play a role in adding debris and bacteria under the nails.

You can prevent a buildup of dirt, but it will happen to some degree no matter what. Even so,  that does not necessarily mean you will get an infection after wearing acrylic nails for 3 weeks. 

The best thing to do is try to prevent most of the dirt buildup by regularly cleaning under the acrylic nails. It is extremely important to remove any dirt as quickly as you can to stop the debris from piling up. 

Preventing the Issue

One of the ways to prevent bacteria from lurking under the nails is to wear rubber gloves when you can. Whilst this might not sound like the best option, you want to show those nails off after all, it is more to do with when you are cleaning the home, washing the dishes or doing something that is particularly bad for getting bacteria under the nails like gardening.

Having acrylic nails should not stop you from enjoying life, after all, you have had the work done to enhance the beauty of your nails. As much as you need to stop fungal growth and bacteria from entering under the nails, keeping them clean can do wonders to prevent any major damage. 

How Can Those With Acrylic Nails Get Fungal Infections?

Fungal infections are a lot more common than we think with acrylic nails. Some people get an infection whilst they have the plastic nail attached, whilst others may find it happens when the nails get taken off.

When you have something attached to your nail like acrylic, water may get into the crevices which you cannot dry. Because fungi love moist places, it will start to grow and cause a fungus infection.

Obviously you cannot avoid water, but just making sure you dry your fingernails as much as possible can help with the situation. 

Symptoms of a Fungal Infection

At first, you may not even know you have a fungal infection, but do look out for any of these symptoms:

  • A bad smell that comes from around the nail area
  • The nail is thickened or seems brittle when the acrylic nail is removed
  • Discoloration of the nail: green, yellow, black or white
  • Redness, swelling or itchiness
  • Painful when putting pressure onto the nail bed

Ways to Clean Acrylic Nails

Let us take a look at a few ways to get those nails super duper clean before bacteria takes a hold of them.

Soap and Water

It might sound obvious, but using an antibacterial soap, or any soap for that matter is a great way to clean under those nails. We love Mrs. Meyer’s hand soap which is made with aloe vera and essential oils to keep hands happy, plus it is cruelty free and biodegradable. 

You can even use a bar of soap like the antibacterial Dial hand soap which kills bacteria but keeps the hands moisturized. 

Whilst you want to avoid getting the acrylic nails wet all the time, when washing your hands, you will need to expose them to water to clean away any debris and bacteria. So remember to expose the underneath of the nails to the water.

Either squirt soap to go under the nails, or scratch at a bar of soap. Clean your hands and nails as you usually would, and then rinse. 

Make sure not to spend too long on this process as you really want to limit the amount of water that is exposed to the nail. Once complete, dry the nails as much as possible. If any moisture remains, get it with the towel!

Too much water may cause your acrylic nail to slowly loosen and this can cause more water and moisture to get in and under the acrylic nail where you cannot reach.

Nail Brush

A brush like the Greenth Pro bamboo nail brush is ideal to use to remove larger pieces of debris from underneath the acrylic nails. To do this, you will need to insert the brush gently underneath the nail and slowly move the brush back and forth for a few seconds.

To make the brush even more helpful, dampen it first so it can collect the dirt from underneath the nail better. 

It also may be handy to have one in your bag for times when you may need it on-the-go. However, do not forget to clean the brush with soap to avoid it from building up its own bacteria on the bristles.

Rubbing Alcohol Wipes

Whilst most people will put rubbing alcohol on a cotton ball, it is much easier to use a rubbing alcohol wipe like these from KubWipes which use 75% of plant-based alcohol. This is because you can get under the acrylic nail better.

Whether you use a wipe or a cotton ball, wipe all around the nail: underneath, the sides and on top. 

Other Ways to Prevent Infection

Keeping them clean is the best way stop infections, but here are a few other simple ways to prevent a problem:

  • Limit what gets put underneath the nail. For example, do not place another fingernail underneath another fingernail. You are basically transferring bacteria
  • Get your nails done at a reputable salon with great hygiene standards
  • After swimming or bathing, dry the acrylic nails extremely well, though it may be best to avoid these two things if you plan to keep acrylic nails on for a long time
  • If you have quite a few fungal infections, it may be worth investing in an antifungal spray or putting powder on the nails to stop it from becoming moist

If you do find that you are getting an infection, do not keep the acrylic nails on. Always have them removed and make sure you treat the issue at hand (sorry, it had to be done). 

Final Words

Having acrylic nails can enhance the beauty of your natural nails, as well as help the color to last, and nails to be longer. This is great if your nails naturally break off too quickly, making them short, or if you want to go on holiday and have beautiful nails for a week, and not return with chipped nail polish.

They only turn ugly when bacterial infections are present, and nobody wants that. The best thing to do is to work on prevention to avoid having to target something like a fungi issue.

Keeping the acrylic nail clean of debris and bacteria, as well as making sure it is completely dry after being in water, are two ways to help prevent your recent manicure from turning nasty. You have spent a lot of money on getting those nails to look gorgeous, so take good care of them!

Last update on 2022-09-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API