How To Clean Acrylic Nail Brushes: The Nail Brush Care Guide

How To Clean Acrylic Nail Brushes: The Nail Brush Care Guide

The perfect acrylic manicure demands a lot more than luck—it’s an art form that requires a skilled hand. From prepping the natural nail to securing the enhancements, every step counts. It’s a delicate process, and one wrong move can leave you with a lackluster full set. 🥀

There are many components of a good set of acrylics, including: 

    • Polish
    • Tools
    • Enhancements
    • Tools
    • Monomer
    • Tools, tools, tools

Did we mention your tools? Because any acrylic manicure is only as good as the tools you use to complete it. Nail brushes can be a major investment, which is why it’s crucial to keep them in excellent condition.

Neglecting your brushes will result in hardened, straw-like bristles that are completely worthless. You’ll have to get a replacement, which can be costly. To keep your brushes looking lovely, follow our quick guide on how to clean your acrylic nail brushes and give them some TLC. 

The Basics of Acrylic Nails 

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of nail brush cleaning, let’s make sure we’re on the same page about acrylic nails.

Put simply, acrylic nails are a special type of fake nails made from a mixture of liquid monomer and powdered acrylic. This mixture is usually applied onto a nail tip extension or a nail form, which allows you to build extra length and definition to natural nails. If you take care of your acrylic nails and apply them properly, they should last between three and six weeks

Now you know the basics and are ready to delve into the best ways to care for your trusty tools.

The Best Acrylic Nail Brush Cleaners

Step number one is figuring out what you’re going to use in order to get your brushes clean. When you mix acrylic powder and liquid monomer, you get something that clings onto your brushes like a bad ex. Removing this material from the bristles can be tricky business. 

That being said, if you want to make sure your nails come out great every time, it’s a task worth pursuing! 

Benefits of Using Liquid Monomer

The best-kept secret when cleaning your acrylic nail brushes is probably sitting in your drawer or nail toolkit right now. Liquid monomer is the overall best way to clean your nail brushes.

That’s right—the same monomer you use in your acrylic mixture in the first place. 

Liquid monomer is the best thing to use because it is incredibly gentle on your brushes. Especially if you’re working with natural hair brushes, we can’t recommend using anything else

A Quick Tip

We know you love your liquid monomer since that’s what makes the magic happen. So if you decide to use it to clean your brushes, do yourself a favor and purchase a bottle that’s only used for cleaning. This will keep the contents from getting contaminated, and you’ll always have enough on hand.

What About Using Acetone Nail Remover?

Now, if you don’t want to use monomer, there is an alternative. Many people will tell you that using acetone nail remover is the way to go when cleaning your acrylic nail brushes. That’s because some feel that monomer is too gentle and slow-acting. 

Monomer isn’t as effective as acetone at breaking down and removing stubborn, dried-up acrylic. The argument goes that since monomer is less harsh, you may have to scrub more to remove any lingering bits. If you do it correctly, this shouldn’t be an issue, but if you want to try acetone on particularly dirty brushes, it might be worth keeping in your corner.

If you value speed and efficiency, then sure, acetone might be your best bet. It’s affordable, and it does the job. 

However, if you’re using natural hair brushes, don’t use acetone (seriously). It’s too harsh, and that natural hair doesn’t like it.

A Quick Tip

If you’re working with brushes that haven’t been cleaned in some time or have very persistent bits of acrylic stuck to the bristles, make sure to soak them for a bit. Acetone is fast-acting, but your brushes might need more time in the solution for all the hardened acrylic to dissolve. 

Also, after you’ve finished using acetone to clean your acrylic brushes, make sure and soak them in liquid monomer afterward to rehydrate and recondition them. This step makes all the difference in the world and can help rehabilitate your brushes after spending time in the harsher solution.

Why You Shouldn’t Use Regular Brush Cleaners

Okay, but what about regular brush cleaners? Don’t those work just fine? It makes sense to clean your acrylic brushes with cleaners that advertise a quick, efficient, and gentle solution. 

However, traditional brush cleaners are both harsh and ineffective for professionals and individuals who take their nail art seriously. There’s no reason to use them when you can use solutions you already know and love.

First Things First: Cleanse Your Brushes Regularly

Whether you’re a seasoned professional or a newbie getting ready to try acrylics at home, learning how to clean your brushes properly is a major key to success. 

One of the most important steps to taking care of your brushes is to cleanse them after every single use. It’s as easy as quickly wiping off your brushes as soon as you’re finished. 

For this step, it’s best to use a lint-free cloth and monomer. As we discussed above, you can use the same monomer in the acrylic mixture. Though if you’d prefer an alternative, acetone nail remover is your second-best bet (though we’re putting our chips on monomer 🎲). 

Remember, when you wipe off your brushes, be sure to be gentle and avoid pulling out any bristles. 

Taking the time to quickly clean off your brushes right after you use them will help prevent buildup. However, if you notice that this method leaves some unwanted residue, you may need to do a more intensive cleaning. 

Read on for a step-by-step explanation of how to get your brushes looking good as new.

Step One: Prep Your Cleaning Setup

Cleaning your acrylic brushes may be time-consuming, but it’s worth the effort.

The first step is to prepare for the process by gathering and setting up all your ingredients. Fortunately, there isn’t much to set up.

All you have to do is fill a bowl with your cleaning product. As we mentioned above, a monomer is great for cleaning brushes. Compared to acetone and professional cleaning solutions, a monomer is super gentle. It’s ideal for any type of brush, including synthetic or natural hair brushes.

If you can, use a container of monomer that is only used for cleaning purposes. A separate bottle will be less contaminated, making it perfect for cleansing.

If you decide to use a brush cleaner, be sure your brushes can handle it. It may be too harsh for natural hair brushes.

Once you have a bowl filled with the cleaner of your choice, you should be ready for step two. 

Step Two: Soak Your Brushes 

Again, this step is pretty simple. All you have to do is place your brushes in the bowl and allow them to soak in the solution.

When using monomer, soak your brushes for at least an hour. If there’s excess buildup or hardened polish on the brushes, allow them to soak overnight.

If you decide to use a professional brush cleaner, read the instructions first! You may not need to let the brushes soak—you might just have to swish them around in the solution for a few minutes.

Step Three: Remove and Rinse Your Brushes

Next, all you need to do is remove your brushes from the bowl of cleaner.

For the monomer method, you should immediately rinse your brushes with warm water. Be careful not to scrub or pull on the bristles.

If you are using another brush cleaner, you might need to scrape off some of the buildup with any sort of wooden tool. Then, press the brush in between a paper towel to remove any extra cleaner that’s left over.

Step Four: Let Your Brushes Dry

This next step is a bit time-consuming, but it’s straightforward. If you use the monomer method, all you have to do is lay your brushes on a towel and allow them to air-dry. 

Be sure that your brushes are lying horizontally on an absorbent surface like a towel or cloth. When using monomer, you don’t want to squeeze your brushes to remove excess moisture—just be patient and allow the air to do all the work.

Step Five: Soak Your Brushes (Again)

Good news—you’re almost done. For one of the final steps, all you have to do is soak your brushes again.

If you’re following the monomer process, you should place it in a bowl of fresh monomer for two more hours. Again, this is time-consuming, but you can go off and accomplish any other task on your to-do list while you wait.

On the other hand, if you decide to use a professional cleaning solution, you probably don’t need to let your brushes soak for that long. Instead, simply dip each brush in monomer and gently reshape the bristles. Again, be sure not to pull any of them out—we want these brushes to last as long as possible!

Step Six: Let Your Brushes Dry (Again) 

Finally, you’ve made it to the last step. Like in step four, all you have to do here is lay out your brushes on a flat towel or cloth. 

Allow them to air-dry as all the cleaning liquid evaporates. 

Remember to keep your brushes horizontal until completely dry. This will ensure that excess monomer doesn’t leak into the metal connector on the brush, damaging it. Place the lid on the brush and store with the bristles facing down. 

That’s a Wrap: Shop VBP for the Best Acrylic Tools

Congrats—you did it! If you followed each of these steps, your brushes should be good as new.

Using clean tools is essential in any situation, whether working professionally in a salon or having fun at home. Now, you should be all set to get your brushes looking squeaky clean.

As you can see, cleaning your acrylic nail brushes is actually quite simple (just like removing acrylic nails). The process is relatively low-effort, which means there’s really no excuse to use dirty brushes. Although it takes a bit of time, cleaning your brushes is completely worth it in the end.

Acrylic nails are bold, fashionable, and fun. Achieving the perfect acrylic manicure can be difficult, even for the most practiced nail artists. However, using the proper tools makes it just a little bit easier. Visit our online store for all your nail art needs.