When acrylic paint gets on you and you’re in the middle of making your masterpiece, it’s easy to ignore it and then you’ve got a problem. That stuff sticks like crazy! Can nail polish remover take off acrylic paint? Yes it can! Nail polish remover, provided that it contains acetone, can be used to remove acrylic paint from most surfaces that you are looking to clean. It will even clean rust off metal, incidentally, should you require that. It’s not ideal for skin, however, and I’ll touch on this later.
In this article I’ll give you the scoop on acetone, rubbing alcohol, and other methods that you can use if you want to remove some acrylic paint that’s gotten somewhere that you didn’t want it to go.
Follow me, and we’ll take a look at the options!
Does acrylic paint dissolve with acetone?
Yes, indeedy, it does. Acetone is like kryptonite for paint and this is why it’s in most nail polish removers that are commercially available today. Professional painters often keep it handy to remove spots of paint that have splashed out of hand during the course of work.
That said, it’s not really ideal for skin, because hey… it’s a strong solvent!
If you want to remove some paint from your skin, you’ve got more suitable options available to you. If it’s a water-based paint such as acrylic, then the good old-fashioned option is usually going to be soap, water, and a handy nail brush. I usually keep a little soapy water in a bowl nearby in case I need to do a quick rinse, because once acrylic dries then you pretty much have to peel it or scrub it off.
Just don’t use acetone. Yes, it will work, but it will dry out and crack your skin if you aren’t careful and you definitely don’t want dermatitis for your troubles!
Does rubbing alcohol remove acrylic paint?
Next up on the roster is another popular acrylic removal option – rubbing alcohol. So, does it work? It sure does! Rubbing alcohol can remove latex paint quite quickly and acrylic will break down pretty well with it too. As a bonus, you can use it on wood too!
Rubbing alcohol is certainly safe to use in cleaning your skin and it also sanitizes it in the process, since that’s pretty much what it’s designed to do. So, if you’ve got some acrylic paint on your skin and you really, really hate the ‘soap and water scrub-fest’ method of removal then just stock up on some rubbing alcohol and use that instead.
Just use a little lotion too if you’re really gonna soak yourself in it. It never hurts an artist to take a little extra care of those magical hands!
How do you get dried acrylic paint off? Alternative options
Now that we’ve talked about acetone and rubbing alcohol options, I thought it might be nice to give a few alternatives before we say our goodbyes and we both get back to painting. Here are some other methods for cleaning up acrylic paint:
- Denatured alcohol – Rubbing alcohol’s big brother, denatured alcohol is stronger than Isopropyl because it uses methyl and ethyl alcohol in it and it doesn’t contain water. Not suitable for skin, this stuff is a bit toxic so only use it in a ventilated area and keep it away from flames – it’s concentrated alcohol so it’s extremely flammable.
- Lacquer thinner – This is possibly the strongest solvent on the list and it’ll strip acrylic paint from metal and glass. The caveat is that you should only use this stuff outdoors and as a last resort. Its contains a chemical called Toluene, unless you look for the ‘greener’ varieties out there. Toluene is super-bad for your health and those green versions of lacquer thinner work, so it’s worth the extra time to look for those varieties instead.
- Ammonia – Ammonia will clean off acrylic paint like a champ, but as we all know it produces strong fumes and you should never use it on wood or aluminum (it will actually blacken aluminum).
In closing – Nail polish remover really does work
Today we’ve talked about whether or not nail polish will remove acrylic paint and the verdict is in. Nail polish remover will remove acrylic paint as long as it has acetone in it. Rubbing alcohol works in a pinch as well and is good for your skin, too, if you don’t feel like a soap and water scrub.
Never clean your skin in acetone, unless you want it to dry up and flake away in the wind, and the best defense is a good offense – keeping soap and water at hand lets you clean that paint off in seconds, rather than spending a half hour of cursing at scrubbing at plasticized, dried acrylic.