A close-up shot of a pair of white acrylic nails being gently scrubbed with a soft brush under running water, capturing the process of cleaning and restoring their pristine appearance.

How To Clean White Acrylic Nails

If you just got a fresh set of white acrylic nails, keeping them looking pristine can be a challenge. Acrylic nails tend to show dirt and stains more than natural nails. Luckily, cleaning white acrylics is easy with the right tips and products.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to keeping your white acrylics clean: Use a nail brush and mild soap when washing hands, wipe nails with rubbing alcohol daily, avoid darker foods and drinks that can stain, and get them professionally cleaned every 2 weeks.

Use a Nail Brush When Washing Hands

Scrub nails gently with a soft brush

Using a soft-bristled nail brush when washing your hands is key to keeping acrylic nails clean. The brush allows you to gently scrub around and under the acrylic nails to remove dirt, oil, and bacteria. Avoid using anything too abrasive on the nails as that can create scratches in the surface.

Instead, opt for a brush with soft nylon or boar bristles to lightly scrub the nails and lift grime away. Take care around the cuticle area and avoid scraping the skin. Give each nail 15-20 seconds of scrubbing to fully cleanse the area.

It’s an easy habit to build into your regular hand washing routine.

Use a mild liquid hand soap

When washing acrylic nails, select a mild liquid hand soap, rather than a heavily fragranced or exfoliating bar soap which can be too harsh. Liquid soaps evenly coat the nails and rinse cleanly without residue. Look for gentle cleansers like glycerin soap or Castile soap.

Avoid soaps with chunks of exfoliant or pumice which could scratch the nail surface. Dish soaps are also too abrasive for acrylics. Stick to liquid hand soaps labeled “gentle”, “moisturizing”, or “nourishing” for the safest acrylic nail cleansing.

Dispense a dime-sized amount of soap into your palm, lather between the hands, and scrub onto the nails using your brush.

Rinse nails thoroughly

After washing the hands and scrubbing the nails with a brush and soap, it’s essential to rinse very thoroughly. This prevents any soap residue from clinging to the nail surface. residue can cause buildup and yellowing over time.

Rinse the nails under comfortably warm running water for at least 30 seconds, letting the water flow over the top and underneath each nail. Make sure to also rinse in between the fingers where soap and grime can hide.

Shake off excess moisture after rinsing and follow up by gently patting nails dry with a clean towel. Thorough rinsing helps keep acrylics looking like new!

Wipe Nails with Rubbing Alcohol

After applying acrylic nails, it’s important to properly clean them to remove any dust, oil, or debris that may be left over from the application process. Using a 70% isopropyl alcohol solution is an easy and effective way to cleanse new acrylic nails.

Use 70% isopropyl alcohol

70% isopropyl alcohol, also known as rubbing alcohol, is the ideal concentration to use for cleaning acrylic nails. Higher concentrations like 90% can dry out the nails too quickly, while lower concentrations like 50% contain more water and won’t evaporate as readily.

The 70% concentration offers the right balance of cleansing power and quick drying.

Rubbing alcohol can be purchased cheaply from any drugstore or supermarket. Opt for a bottle specifically labeled “70% isopropyl alcohol” rather than the more general “rubbing alcohol” which can sometimes be other concentrations.

Dip a cotton pad and gently wipe nails

After removing nails from the nail form, saturate a cotton pad, cotton ball, or small piece of cotton with the 70% isopropyl alcohol. Gently wipe the surface of each acrylic nail with the cotton to remove dust and oils.

Make sure to wipe all over the nail, including underneath the free edge and around the cuticle area.

When wiping, use a light touch. Pressing too hard or rubbing vigorously can disturb the acrylic before it fully sets. The alcohol will do the cleaning work for you!

Allow to fully dry afterward

Once all nails are wiped clean, set them aside and allow 2-3 minutes for any residual alcohol to fully evaporate. Attempting to work on or shape the nails while still wet with alcohol can lead to a tacky surface or other issues.

If any white residue is left after drying, do a final wipe with a clean dry cotton pad to remove it. This ensures no residue is left behind.

Properly cleaning nails with a disinfecting 70% isopropyl alcohol solution helps prep acrylic nails for a long-lasting, beautiful manicure. Follow up with regular nail care like moisturizing and filing to keep tips looking their best!

Avoid Foods and Drinks That Can Stain

Keeping your white acrylic nails looking freshly manicured can be a challenge. Certain foods and drinks contain pigments that can cause stubborn stains on white nails. Being mindful of what you consume can help prevent embarrassing discoloration.

Skip dark berries, tomatoes, soy sauce

Dark-colored fruits like blackberries, blueberries, and strawberries contain anthocyanins, the pigments that give them their deep hue. Tomatoes and tomato-based products like salsa and marinara sauce also have high levels of anthocyanins.

Even soy sauce contains color compounds that can stain light nails. It’s best to avoid these foods when sporting pristine white nails.

Stay away from coffee, tea, red wine

Beverages like coffee, tea, and red wine contain tannins, which can leave behind yellowish or brown stains on white acrylics. White wine and clear spirits like vodka and gin are less likely to discolor nails.

When enjoying your morning joe or happy hour drinks, use a straw to minimize contact with nails.

Rinse after meals if consuming staining foods

If you want to indulge in berries or tomato sauce, be diligent about rinsing your hands and nails immediately after eating. Use an old toothbrush and baking soda to gently scrub any lingering stains. You can also apply fresh lemon juice to your nails before rinsing – the acidity helps break down pigments.

Taking these steps right after eating can prevent permanent discoloration.

By being choosy about what foods and drinks you consume with pristine white nails, you can keep your manicure looking freshly painted for longer. Avoiding berries, tomatoes, tea, coffee, soy sauce, and wine will help prevent stubborn staining. If you do indulge, rinse nails thoroughly afterwards.

With some mindfulness about your diet, you can rock gorgeous white acrylics!

Get Regular Professional Cleanings

Visit salon every 2 weeks

Getting your acrylic nails professionally cleaned every 2 weeks is highly recommended to keep them looking pristine (visits every 14 days is optimal). By seeing your nail technician regularly, they can gently buff away any superficial stains or buildup using soft file buffers and avoid the need for harsh chemicals or scrubbing that could damage your nails.

This quick maintenance helps prevent stains from becoming stubborn and etched into the acrylic.

Technician can remove stains and buildup

An experienced nail tech has all the right tools and techniques to safely remove discoloration without thinning out your nails. They can expertly identify any yellowing, dullness or product residue stuck underneath and buff them away with a gentle touch.

This prevents the need for you to pick or scrape at them yourself, which risks lifting and cracks.

Some of the techniques your tech may use include:

  • Light surface buffing with soft file buffers
  • Gentle cleaning under the free edge with a fine debeader
  • Using small brushes and acrylic liquid to dissolve and wipe away buildup
  • An acrylic powder refill to refresh the color if very stained

Opt for gentle cleaning methods

Always remind your nail tech that you want the most gentle approach possible when cleaning your white acrylics. Though abrasive drill bits or intensive soaking in acetone may work faster, they also thin and weaken nails, making them prone to cracks and breaks.

Request simple techniques like:

  • Quick buffing over harsh drilling
  • Gentle wipedowns instead of soaking
  • Foil wraps with vitamin E oil rather than removing significant product
  • A nourishing cuticle treatment

The occasional stain is normal, so focus on keeping nails strong versus aggressively erasing imperfections. With regular easy cleanings every 2 weeks, you’ll keep those tips looking squeaky clean!

Other Tips for Keeping Nails Clean

Apply cuticle oil daily

Applying cuticle oil daily is a great way to keep your acrylic nails looking clean and well-maintained. The oil moisturizes the skin around the nails and prevents hangnails or dry cuticles from developing. Gently massage a few drops of oil around each nail and cuticle every day.

This helps keep the nail beds soft and prevents lifting or peeling of the acrylics. Opt for a nourishing oil like vitamin E, jojoba, or an oil blend specifically formulated for cuticles. Consistent oil application keeps the acrylic-skin connection intact.

Use a top coat for added protection

A quality top coat is essential for keeping acrylics looking freshly done. The top coat creates a protective barrier over the nails that prevents chipping or scratching. It also provides a smooth, glossy finish. Apply a fast-drying top coat like Seche Vite or Essie Gel Couture after polishing nails.

Reapply the top coat every 2-3 days or when it starts looking dull. The extra layer of protection keeps dirt, grime, and oils from building up on the surface of the nails. A fresh top coat keeps those acrylics shining!

Carry wipes when on-the-go

One of the best tips for keeping nails clean when out and about is to carry portable nail wipes or a mini nail brush. Pop one in your purse, car, gym bag, or desk drawer. That way, you can give nails a quick wipe down anytime you notice dirt building up.

Opt for wipes that are designed specifically for nails and contain acetone or alcohol to dissolve grime. Brush away surface debris using a stiff, pocket-sized nail brush. Also, bring along a tiny bottle of hand sanitizer.

The antimicrobial gel prevents microbes from getting trapped under free edges or around cuticles. Regular nail cleansing while on the go helps extend the life of your flawless acrylic manicure!


While white acrylics require a little more maintenance, taking the right steps will keep them looking freshly done. Be gentle yet thorough when washing nails, wipe them down daily with alcohol, and avoid staining foods and drinks.

Getting them professionally cleaned every couple of weeks also helps immensely. Follow these tips, and your bright white nails will stay pristine.

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