Are you a messy painter? Whether you’re painting your living room, a rustic furniture piece, or canvas, no matter how careful you are, there’s this inevitable moment where you always manage to get paint on your skin and under your fingernails.
Although turpentine and paint thinners are great for removing paint, they are toxic and harmful to humans. Instead, use warm water and soap to remove water-based paint. For oil-based paint, use oils, scrubs, citrus fruits, mayonnaise, butter, Vicks Vapor Rub to remove paint from under fingernails.
It’s always a challenge removing paint from off your hands and fingernails, out from under your nails. Fortunately, it’s possible to remove paint with a variety of solutions. So, let’s take a look at them.
Removal Methods According To Paint Type
First things first, the best way to remove paint from your hands and under your fingernails vastly depends on the type of paint.
The second tip is the sooner you start to remove the paint from your hands and under your fingernails, the easier the paint removal process will be.
Let’s take a look at the different paint types accompanies by removal methods.
How To Remove Water-Based Paint From Under Fingernails?
Water-based paints, also known as latex paints, consist of a pigment, binder, a water carrier. Water-based paints are the most common and environmentally friendly paint options.
Water-based paints include the following:
- Latex paint
- Acrylic paint
- Tempera paint
- Finger paints
Fortunately, most water-based paints are washable using only soap and warm water, especially when the paint is still wet.
However, once the paint dries, it hardens and requires a more intense treatment to remove (especially in those hard-to-get-places like under your fingernails.
So, when water-based paint is still wet, simply use a moderate amount of soap, warm water, and loofah if necessary to remove the wet paint from your hands. Then, use a nailbrush to scrub away the reaming paint pieces under your fingernails.
Repeat if necessary.
If the water-based paint has already dried on your hands and under your fingernails, it may be more challenging to remove. There are several methods to consider:
Mineral Oil Removes Paint From Under Fingernails
Mineral oil is a clear, seethrough, and odorless liquid that is made from highly purified, refined, and processed petroleum.
- Start by scratching the painted area to remove the larger paint pieces and wash your hands with soap and warm water, following the procedure above.
- Dry your hands thoroughly.
- Apply a few drops of mineral oil to the paint area.
- Use your fingernails to scrape the paint lightly off areas on your hands.
- Take the nail brush to scrub the pain underneath your nails.
- Rinse away the paint and mineral oil residue with warm water and soap.
Sugar Scrub Removes Paint From Under Fingernails
Another effective remedy to remove tough water-based paint stains under fingernails is using a sugar scrub.
In addition, the scrub serves as an excellent exfoliating agent. Your hands will love you for it!
- Wet your hands slightly and place a tablespoon of white sugar into your hands.
- Gently massage the sugar into the skin, and be sure to get some under your nails too.
- Use a nail brush if needed to get into the tricky spots underneath your nails.
- Rise with water.
Citrus Fruits Can Remove Paint From Under Fingernails
Citrus fruits like lemons, grapefruit, and oranges are full of natural acids, which give them the ability to dissolve tough paint stains on the skin.
- Slice up the fruit, squeeze some of the juice directly onto your hands. Or press the juice into a bowl and soak your fingertips in the liquid.
- Rub your fingers together until you notice the paint detaching from your skin.
- Use a nail brush or orange stick to scrub off the stubborn pieces of paint.
- Rinse and dry your hands.
Butter Removes Paint From Under Fingernails
Jip, even butter can do the trick! If water-based paint dries on your skin, using soft butter will remove the dry paint.
- Apply a good amount of butter to your hands; ensure to get some under your fingernails too.
- You’ll notice that the paint starts to loosen.
- Peel the loose paint off or use an orange stick to scratch off the pieces of paint underneath your fingernails gently.
- Rinse the butter off with soap and warm water.
How To Remove Oil-Based Paint From Under Fingernails?
Oil-based paint contains natural oils like linseed oil or synthetic oils like synthetic alkyd. It also consists of a pigment, resin, and a solvent thinner. When the solvent thinner evaporates, the resin forms a hard coating.
Oil-based paints include the following paint:
- Artists oils
- Exterior paints
- Stains for home improvement
Oil-based paints are hardier and more difficult to remove than water-based paints, as the paint firmly adheres to your skin.
Although turpentine and paint thinner can work wonders when removing oil-based, it’s a good idea to rather avoid using these products on your skin. Both products contain harmful chemicals that can cause respiratory problems and cancer.
Here are several methods to consider removing oil-based paint from under your fingernails:
Household Oils Remove Paint From Under Fingernails
Fight oil with oil! Household oils like mineral oil, olive oil, vegetable oil, or coconut oil are great natural alternatives to remove stubborn oil-based paint from your skin and under your fingernails.
- Soak a cotton ball or rag with mineral oil or vegetable oil.
- Next, rub the oil onto your skin in a circular pattern for a few minutes to start loosening the paint. Finally, use a nail brush to scrub under your nails.
- Keep the oil on your hands and nails for a few minutes.
- Rub off the oil and paint from your skin and nails using a paper towel.
- Rinse and repeat until all the paint stains come off.
Tip: Consider adding an equal amount of coarse sea salt to your oil to quicken the scrubbing process and exfoliate your hands.
Mayonnaise Removes Paint From Under Fingernails
Mayonnaise is an oil-based compound and can, therefore, also break down and dissolve oil-based paint.
- Apply and gently rub a teaspoon of mayonnaise onto your hands and under your fingernails.
- Allow the mayonnaise to soak for three to five minutes.
- Scrub the skin and nails with a generous amount of soap, warm water, and a nail brush.
Vicks Vapor Rub Removes Paint From Under Fingernails
Vicks Vapor Rub is another unusual but effective alternative to remove oil-based oil from skin and nails.
1. Start off by thoroughly washing and drying your hands.
2. Apply a thin layer of Vapor Rub to the paint areas.
3. Allow the Vicks mixture to sit for at least five minutes.
4. Use an orange stick wrapped in a thin layer of cotton to wipe away the paint.
5. Lastly, wash your hands with a generous amount of soap and warm water.
Essential Oils Remove Paint From Under Fingernails
Essential oils like lemon, orange, rosemary, and lavender are great for removing oil-based paint from under your fingernails.
- Add approximately three drops of essential oil to a carrier oil (coconut oil).
- Apply the mixture to your skin and nails and leave it to soak for 5 minutes.
- Thoroughly scrub your hands and fingernails with a nail brush.
- Rinse your hands with soap and warm water to remove the oil and remaining paint.
Paint Removing Wipes Remove Paint From Under Fingernails
Paint removing wipes will remove all oil-based paints before they cure. So, if the oil-based is still wet, you can quickly use a paint removing wipe to wipe the paint from under your nails.
Regular paint removers are highly toxic and should not be used on the skin. Luckily, there are various methods to remove pain under your fingernails.
With simple hand washing, you can easily remove most water-based paints, but always try to catch the paint before it dries!
To remove more challenging, oil-based paint, consider using the home remedies above before opting for turps.
I have a bachelor’s degree in Film/Video/Media Studies, as well as an associates degree in Communications. I began producing videos and musical recordings nearly 15 years ago. I am a guitarist and bassist in Southwest MI and have been in a few different bands since 2009, and in 2012 I began building custom guitars and basses in my home workshop as well. When I’m home, I love spending time with my three pets (a dog, cat, and snake) and gardening in my backyard.