How To Clean Acrylic Nail Brushes (For Beginners)

acrylic nail brushes from Kiara Sky

If you’re a beginner to acrylic nails or a DIY nail enthusiast, then it’s important that you know how to clean acrylic nail brushes the right way. If you clean them the wrong way with the wrong product, you could end up ruining your brush completely — which is a total waste of time and money.

While you should be cleaning your brush before, during, and after use, there are times when the product still ends up stuck within your bristles. When this happens, you need to “deep clean” your acrylic nail brush. To help you with this process, we’ve laid out a simple guide on how to clean acrylic nail brushes.

What You’ll Need To Get Started

  • Your acrylic nail brush
  • Liquid monomer
  • A shallow dish
  • Paper towels (or lint free cloth)

liquid monomer

Your Super Simple 7-Step Process 

Step 1

Use a paper towel and some monomer to gently wipe down your brush. Do not be too harsh or aggressive. You want to avoid fraying or damaging the brush bristles.

Step 2

Fill your dish with liquid monomer.

Step 3

Leave the bristles soaking in the monomer. 

Depending on how dirty your brush is, this could take up to a few hours. You want to give the monomer the chance to seep into any hardened, leftover product. If the bristles are completely hardened, then don’t hold back — let it soak for up to 48 hours.

Pro Tip: Keep the brush at an angle, so the bottom of the dish doesn’t mess with the shape of the bristles.

Step 4

Remove your brush and gently rinse the bristles off with warm water. 

You may prefer to fill up a cup with warm water and swirl the bristles around inside the cup. Whatever you prefer, just remember to do it gently and not to scrape, pull, or scrub the bristles. 

Step 5

Air dry the brush on a clean paper towel and rinse out your dish.

Step 6

Once your acrylic nail brush is dry, put some new liquid monomer into your dish and soak your brush for another hour or two.

Step 7

Remove your brush from the liquid and once again, leave the brush to air dry on the towel. Do not rinse the brush off this time around.

Keep Reading: Easy Dip Powder Nail Designs To Try

Can you use acetone to clean acrylic nail brushes?

different size acrylic nail brushes

Yes, you can use acetone to clean acrylic nail brushes. But… you can also use mud, glue, or whatever else your heart desires. What you need to ask yourself is: 1) Does it work? 2) Will it damage the brush?

When it comes to acetone, in particular, it can clean your acrylic brush, but it can also damage your brush. Because of this, acetone should always be considered a last resort and only after you’ve tried cleaning it with monomer. 

If you do end up ditching the monomer for acetone, then it likely means that your brush is completely caked in leftover product. If this is the case, here’s what you can try:

  1. Pour some acetone into a small dish and leave your brush soaking in it for a few minutes. Heads up — the longer it stays in there, the more dried up and frayed the bristles can become.
  2. Remove your brush from the dish and use a paper towel to gently wipe dislodged bits from the bristles. Lay it down on a clean paper towel when you’re done.
  3. Using a cuticle pusher (or similar tool), gently push down the bristles. The goal is to push the remaining chunks of product out of the bristles and onto the paper towel.
  4. If you can tell that there are still remaining bits in the bristles, then you can gently swish the brush around in the acetone and try the cuticle pusher again.
  5. After you’ve gotten all the leftover product you can get out of your bristles, soak it in a dish of monomer for two hours and leave it to air dry on a clean towel

Keep in mind: Acetone can really have a negative effect on acrylic brushes, so be prepared to end up with a brush that’s not at 100%. When you’re resorting to acetone, it should mean that your brush would be a goner without it anyways. 

Final tips for cleaning your brushes

  • Read the care instructions. Most, if not all, high-quality acrylic nail brushes come with care instructions. These instructions should tell you exactly how to keep your brush clean and what is considered the best cleaning solution for that particular type of brush.
  • Clean your brushes regularly. You should do your best to avoid caked-on products, and the best way to do this is by cleaning your brushes before, during, and after use.
  • Invest in good brushes. If you’re starting off with a low-quality brush, then you can expect frayed, dried out bristles sooner rather than later.

Additional resources for beginners