How To Clean Acrylic Nail Brushes

Having the correct tools when applying your acrylic nail manicure is one way to ensure your nails come out looking great.

To professional nail technicians and DIY fanatics getting the hang of acrylic application, acrylic nail brushes are the magic for creating awesome art on your nails. However, how you handle your brushes can make or mar your acrylic nails.

Nothing is more annoying than dealing with clogged brushes during a nail session. Dirty brushes can interfere with your application process, and the last thing you want is to appear unprofessional before your clients.

Thankfully, we’ve helped you streamline your cleaning process by sharing practical ways to clean and maintain your acrylic nail brushes. Let’s carry on.

Working with Acrylic Brushes

Depending on your level of nail application experience, the type of brush you wield matters. Many nail product manufacturers offer different styles and sizes of brush bristles, each performing specific functions.

Usually, the best acrylic brushes are usually produced using natural kolinsky hair fiber or sable hair. Brushes made of synthetic fibers are also a good option but are best suited for gel application.

Using top-quality brush bristles guarantees the best outcome for your nails. You can easily pick the perfect acrylic beads, and your acrylic extension can be sculpted nicely into your desired shape and length.

Unfortunately, acrylic residue can linger in the brush bristles, causing them to harden. In some situations, this can damage your bristle’s fibers.

Cleaning them is the best way to keep them in good condition and ensure their durability. Make it a habit to clean your brushes regularly, so they remain flexible and soft.

Do you Clean Acrylic Nail Brush with Water? 

The bristles you have determines how you clean them after use. When cleaning clogged or stiff acrylic brushes, you can clean with a brush cleaner, acrylic liquid monomer, rubbing alcohol, acetone nail remover, and water can be used. 

While water may be a gentle and safe option, it is less effective than other chemicals. Water is insufficient to remove all the acrylic bits stuck to your brushes. You may try to soak your brushes in water overnight to clean them, but this only causes your bristles to mishappen or fray. 

You will need soap and a paper towel if you must use water. Wet the brushes in warm water and apply a drop of mild liquid soap to your bristles. Massage thoroughly, but avoid pulling on them as it can result in damage. Afterward, rinse with warm water and pat dry using a paper towel.

Can you Use Rubbing Alcohol to Clean Acrylic Nail Brushes? 

You can clean your acrylic nail brushes after every use with 70% to 90% Isopropyl alcohol. While this may work, it is not the safest option for an acrylic brush.

As you’ve learned, most acrylic and nail art brushes are made using Kolinsky natural hair rather than synthetic ones, so alcohol may not be suitable for their texture.

Repeated exposure to alcohol can dry out your bristles, leaving them brittle. So while it can be used to disinfect your nail tools, it can weaken your bristles and decrease their performance in the long run.

If you need to use it, it’s best to only soak your brushes in this liquid for a few minutes and avoid using it daily.

Alcohol is better suited for gel brushes as they are mostly synthetic brushes. Dip the gel brush bristles in rubbing alcohol and wipe it on a paper towel during use. This will help maintain their condition and get rid of gel residues.

How to Use Rubbing Alcohol to Clean Acrylic Nail Brushes

Rubbing alcohol should be the last resort for cleaning your brushes. Again we recommend you use alcohol to clean gel brushes and not acrylic brushes.

However, if you must clean with this liquid substance, you need your Isopropyl alcohol, a soft bristle toothbrush, and a lint-free cloth or cotton pad.

Here is a step-by-step guide to follow.

  • Before you begin cleaning, assemble the requirements listed above. Take out your lint-free cotton pad and set it on your workstation.
  • Next, gently pour the right amount of Isopropyl alcohol on the cotton pad and wait 30 seconds for it to soak completely.
  • Next, swipe the cotton pad on the handle of your brush to clean out any acrylic residue. Before going to the bristle, spread your soaked cotton pad on your counter or tabletop.
  • Then gently wipe your bristles over the cotton pad, going back and forth till the dirt is cleared. Afterward, rinse the brush with water and allow it to air dry.
  • For a deep clean, a nail artist may recommend soaking your brush in a small dish of alcohol for some minutes, then pressing it against a dry cotton pad to remove excess moisture. Again, this method is effective for synthetic brushes and not natural hair brushes, as it can cause them to dry out and become brittle.

Can I Use Acetone to Clean Acrylic Nail Brushes? 

Yes, you can. One of the fastest ways of cleaning brushes is by using acetone nail remover. However, while it can effectively rid synthetic nail brushes of dirt, it is unsuitable for Kominsky natural hair brushes. 

Acetone is a powerful liquid that contains harsh chemical properties. This substance can potentially damage your brushes as it can cause your bristles to split, fray, or dry out.

Working with split brush hairs can be nerve-wracking for a nail artist as it may be difficult to form an acrylic bead. It can also make the finishing work appear rough.

However, if you’ve tried other unsuccessful cleaning methods, you can use acetone as your last resort.

How to Clean Acrylic Nail Brushes With Acetone 

Again, high-quality brushes made from Kominsky’s hair should avoid acetone as it can dehydrate its strands or contaminate them.

However, if you are dealing with stubborn product buildup or cured acrylic, you can clean with acetone nail remover using these simple guidelines.

  • The first thing you need to do is pour out some acetone into a shallow dish. Ensure the container is deep enough to allow you to soak the brushes.
  • Next, hold the brush and dip the dirty strands in acetone for a few minutes, swirling them to coat the brushes. Note, ensure it is only the bristles of the brush that is soaked and not the body of the brush. This is because acetone is potent enough to weaken the glue holding your bristles in place.
  • Once the brush is submerged in acetone, gently use your fingers or a cuticle pusher to break up acrylic or hardened polish.
  • Next, wipe the acrylic brush onto a clean, dry paper towel to remove any leftover acrylic and acetone.
  • Once your brush is clean, dip them into some liquid monomer to rehydrate and restore lost moisture. Finally, lay flat your brushes on a dry paper towel and let them completely dry.

What is the Best Way to Clean Acrylic Brushes After Every Use? 

There are two ways to keep your brushes squeaky clean, and tip-top.

By Using Liquid Monomer

Using the liquid monomer itself is the safest way to eliminate dirt. Its chemical properties can easily soften and break down acrylics. However, before cleaning, you must check if your brushes come with specific care instructions.

Below is how to clean your brushes with monomer.

  • Get a separate bottle and fill it with fresh monomer liquid. Dip your brush in with your bristles facing downwards. Ensure it is only the bristles that should be soaked in the monomer.
  • Allow the brushes to soak for about one hour. If there is product buildup, you can let them soak overnight.
  • Afterward, remove and gently rinse the bristles with warm water. Do not pull on them or try to scrub them harshly, as they can get damaged in the process.
  • Once that is done, place the brushes on a towel, and allow them to air dry completely.

By Using a Professional Brush Cleaner

Brush cleaners are specifically formulated to clean acrylic and gel nail brushes, so it only makes sense to clean with them.

Also, follow the care instructions beforehand for specific cleaning guidelines.

  • First, pour a small quantity of brush cleaner into a shot glass for proper measurement.
  • Next, soak the dirty brushes into the solution to remove grime or any stuck acrylic.
  • Use your fingers or a wooden tool to scrape any acrylic residue carefully. For easy cleaning, gently press the brush tip on a flat platform, so the bristles fan out.
  • Next, wipe your bristles gently on a paper towel to remove the brush cleaner.
  • Finally, dip your brush into some monomer to gently reshape the brushes.

How to Clean Acrylic Brushes From a Product Buildup 

Product buildup in your brushes can cause them to become clogged and hardened, which can be annoying. As a result, cleaning and restoring the condition of your brush can be time-consuming. To prevent this type of situation, cleaning your brushes immediately after every use is best.

However, follow these simple steps to clean your acrylic brushes after a product buildup.

  • Firstly, you need a cotton pad or lint-free cloth, monomer liquid, a shot glass, or a small dish.
  • Pour just the right amount of monomer to soak your acrylic nail brushes. Then dip your dirty brush bristles in the monomer and allow to soak for an hour. If the product buildup has hardened, you can soak it overnight. However, position your brush upright so as not to misshapen the bristles.
  • After the long soak, remove the brushes and rinse in a bowl of warm water. Next, gently pat them dry using a cloth or paper towel. Avoid the temptation to rub the brushes vigorously with the towel for a fast drying time. That can damage your brushes.
  • Finally, dip the clean brush in fresh monomer to restore their condition. Once done, set it down to air dry.

How do I Clean Gel Nail Brushes? 

Unlike acrylic nail brushes, most gel nail brushes are made from synthetic fibers rather than natural ones. They are more durable and not as super delicate as acrylic nails.

This means that they don’t require intense cleaning as their counterparts. You must ensure they are clean and free of leftover gel, so they are readily available for your next appointment.

The best solution to clean a gel brush is gently wiping the bristles with a folded, lint-free paper towel.

If the handle has a sticky residue, gently wipe it with your cotton pad soaked in rubbing alcohol. However, while gel brushes can withstand alcohol, you must use them sparingly and not regularly.

Using alcohol on the bristles too often will dry them out and harden them. Also, avoid using acetone and monomer as their harsh properties can damage your gel brushes faster. Synthetic brushes are not as resistant to these chemicals as natural fibers.

How to Properly Care for Your Nail Brushes

Certainly, brushes do not last till infinity. However, if you care for them, you can significantly increase their lifespan. Caring for your brushes regularly should be a smooth process.

From preparation to fixing artificial nails to the actual nail process, you must take practical steps to handle your brushes carefully.

Firstly, using a separate acrylic nail brush for specific purposes is always best. Secondly, clean your brushes during and immediately after use to prevent product buildup. 

When cleaning, be careful not to oversoak them to prevent them from dehydrating and drying out. After cleaning, gently wipe off the moisture with a dry paper towel and store your acrylic nail brush with its cap on.

Also, get a protective storage system for your brushes to prolong their longevity. Most brushes come with matching caps or plastic tubes over the bristles, so when shopping for supplies, look out for those.

Additionally, store your brushes in a brush case or pouch to prevent the bristles from getting damaged amongst your other nail supplies.

Finally, keep your tools away from UV or led light as they can cause gel or acrylic products to cure in your brush, thus hardening them.

How to Reshape Your Acrylic Nail Brushes

Acrylic brushes are manufactured in different shapes and sizes. However, constant usage or improper cleaning can cause them to misshape. A mishappen brush can affect the nail form and finished look of your acrylic nails. But don’t give up just yet.

There are ways to reshape your brush for longer usage; let’s show you. You need the misshapen brush, paper towel, water in a small dish, and bar soap.

  • Firstly, dip the brush in water, and get rid of excess moisture by running the bristles along the length of the dish.
  • Next, rub the wet brush on a bar of soap. Do this in a back-and-forth motion.
  • Afterward, dip the brush in the water and wipe it down on a paper towel. If the bristles fan out, you can use your fingers to bring the edges closer.
  • Next, set the brush on a flat surface to air dry overnight. Afterward, dip the brush in water to wash out the soap.
  • Finally, dip in liquid monomer and wipe in the same manner before setting to dry.

How to Store your Acrylic Nail Brushes After Deep Cleaning

To every nail artist, investing in nail tools is a must for your craft. If properly cared for, your brushes can last longer. So it is important to keep your brushes clean after every use to prevent acrylic products from building up in your brushes.

However, it doesn’t just end with cleaning. After deep cleaning, you must store your brushes carefully away from sunlight, UV lights, and dust to increase their shelf life.

The safest place to store your brush set is in a clean, dry brush case or container. Also, they should be stored separately from your other nail supplies to prevent damage.

Furthermore, to store your brushes, ensure the brush feral faces a downward position to prevent liquid from flowing into the ferrule and loosen the adhesive that holds your bristles in place.

This position will also prevent dust from accumulating on the surface, which can cause contamination. Alternatively, you can store them by laying them flat on their side in a drawer.


Like every profession, every professional has specific tools to help them perform their job. Having your brush set in your arsenal is a no-brainer for nail technicians.

However, it only makes sense to have your tools in tip condition to easily create fantastic acrylic nail art and designs for your clients.

Acrylic nail brushes require special care because acrylic residue can harden your bristles, making them tough to use. Plus, product buildup can attract offensive odor, dust, and bacteria. 

You must clean off the debris to avoid damage to your brushes and nails. Thankfully, this article has shared everything you need to know about caring for your brushes. We hope this article was helpful.

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