Can You Use Alcohol As a Nail Dehydrator?

Part of any manicure and pedicure is applying a nail dehydrator. It prepares the nails’ surfaces for better adhesion of nail enhancements. 

You can find plenty of these dehydrator products in the market, but what if you are at home, want to do your nails, and cannot get your hands on one? 

Then, you would want to know the answer to, “Can you use alcohol as a nail dehydrator?” After all, alcohol is an ingredient that you would more likely have already lying around the house.

To get the answer, though, you would have read on! 

Can You Use Alcohol As a Nail Dehydrator?

YES, you can use alcohol as a nail dehydrator. However, it has to be used in a mixture with acetone to get the job done. 

Most nail dehydrators in the market contain ‘Isopropyl alcohol’, which also goes by the name “rubbing alcohol.” It is what helps dissolve the oil sediments on your nails. Thus, it is possible to use alcohol as a nail dehydrator. 

In addition, alcohol can prevent fungal infections, which are rather common for people with artificial nails, as mold can develop from the cracks and crevices of the real (natural) nails and fake nails. 

But as mentioned in the beginning, it must be used with acetone to complete the job. Acetone, a highly inflammable liquid, dehumidifies the nail plates and hence, facilitates the evaporation of moisture on your nails. 

We will show you how to use it along with acetone in this article so keep reading to get the steps and information on what materials to prepare. 

But before we get to that, let’s look at what a nail dehydrator is. This will assure you understand why the answer to, “Can you use alcohol as a nail dehydrator?” is yes. 

It is possible to use alcohol as a nail dehydrator
It is possible to use alcohol as a nail dehydrator

How to Use Alcohol & Acetone As a Nail Dehydrator? 

Prepare the following: 

  • An old but clean nail polish brush 
  • Some pure rubbing alcohol
  • Some acetone 

Once you have all these ready, proceed by following these steps: 

  1. First, apply a coat of rubbing alcohol onto your nails. 
  2. Then, wait for it to evaporate completely. 
  3. Next, apply a coat of acetone on your nails. Avoid using cotton balls or cotton pads for the application because they can leave cotton remnants on your nails. 
  4. Again, give it a few seconds to evaporate. 
  5. After the acetone has evaporated, apply your nail polish. 

That’s it! Just 4 steps to use alcohol and acetone as a nail dehydrator. As you can see, this is a super easy and quick method to dehydrate your nails for any type of enhancement. 

With this DIY nail dehydrator, the natural oils on your nails will be dissolved and the surfaces will become clear canvases for easy adhesion.

The dehydration lasts for up to 30 minutes, which is usually enough time for any nail enhancement to stick, secure, and harden. 

You should use this nail dehydrator (1) before you apply nail polish, (2) after you apply gel polish, including UV or LED gels, and (3) before acrylic primers if your nails easily lift.

And remember: This should be used along with nail bonders and primers. They are the first step, followed by bonders (which boost the nails’ pH levels), then, primers (which help secure the attachment of any nail enhancements). 

Use alcohol and acetone to dehydrate nails 
Use alcohol and acetone to dehydrate nails


Do I really need to use a nail dehydrator? 

While you can go without a nail dehydrator, you will miss out on several benefits: 

  • Longer Manicure Lifespan 

Nail dehydrators make nail polish and enhancements stick better. So, without it, your nails are more likely to quickly lift, peel, chip, or break.

If you do use them, you can maintain your manicures for a longer period of time. 

  • Consistent Nails 

Your nails can be kept consistent with the help of nail hydrators. The way this is builds from the same notion as the benefit mentioned above.

Essentially, since hydrators keep your nails from lifting, peeling, chipping, and breaking, it remains as-is for a longer time.

  • Save money 

If you have spent big bucks on getting your nails done, you would want to keep it for a long time.

If it lifts, peels, chips, or breaks the moment you step out of the nail salon’s door or just a day after because it did not adhere well, you will surely be very upset and disappointed.

So, if using a nail dehydrator can keep that from happening, it does not make sense to not use it, right? 

What concentration of alcohol and acetone should I use? 

You should use concentrated alcohol because the higher the concentration, the less water it contains. If you use a low concentrated alcohol, moisture can be left on your nails.

The best option is pure rubbing alcohol or a 99 percent one. If you do not already have some, get yours here: 

As for acetone, you should get pure acetone. If this is not possible, go for the 99 percent one. Consider these:

Can alcohol damage my nails? 

Using too much rubbing alcohol on your nails can damage them. This is the same for acetone and literally any other product. You must use it within the suggested quantity. 

Excess alcohol on nails can cause them to dry out and become brittle and weak. As a result, they are more prone to chipping and breaking.

Moreover, alcohol can irritate your skin and be cytotoxic. So, it is necessary to always use just enough alcohol. 


Now, you should not only know that the answer to, “Can I use alcohol as a nail dehydrator?” is yes, but also know how to use it and other relevant information.

Hopefully, this article has been helpful. Leave your thoughts or questions (if you have any) with us in the comments.


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