10 Easy Steps To Cleaning Gel Nail Brushes | Without Cleaner

how to clean polish off of nail art brushes

Here is the best way to clean gel of of nail art brushes when you don't have a brush cleaner on hand Keeping nail art brushes clean is a must, and you are here because you are wondering how to clean gel polish off of nail brushes effectively.

First, let's talk about gel polish. There are different formulas and steps that are used for a gel manicure. A base coat, then the gel color and a final top coat.

If you have been using the same brush for all of these applications without cleaning after each step, it can really mess up the adhesion of the gel to the natural nail. This can cause lifting and other problems.

The solution is to keep a dedicated brush for each step. If that is not an option at the moment, you can clean your brushes in between the steps of the manicure.

how to remove gel polish from brushes

We are going to show you the absolute best way to keep your gel polish brushes clean and ready for use for your next manicure. 

The best way to clean gel polish off of a brush is to either wipe it clean until all gel is removed. For a deeper clean, dip the brush into 70% - 90% isopropyl alcohol or gel brush cleaner.

Gently wipe the brush onto a lint free wipe back and forth until all cleaner and gel polish is completely removed. Next, place a cap onto the brush to keep dust off of it and store it in a dark place away from light so that it stays soft.

Never use acetone on nail art brushes as it will cause them to dry up and fray over time.

How To Clean Gel Polish Off Of Nail Brushes When You Don't Have Brush Cleaner

Let's do this together and get those brushes cleaned and free from sticky gel polishes, glitter gel and.

Keep in mind that these steps are for a regular nail art brush, not a liner brush which is very delicate.

Supplies Needed To Clean Gel Off Of A Brush:

70% Isopropyl alcohol or gel brush cleaner. Do not use 100% alcohol for cleaning brushes as it will eventually make them dry and brittle.

Clear base gel for removing color. Never use a top coat for cleaning brushes because that will mess with the adhesion of the base coat formula when it's time to prep your nails and will cause lifting.

Nail mixing palette 

Lint free nail wipes. Avoid using anything that can stick to your brush and leave lint. A cotton cloth will also work but do avoid cotton rounds as they can leave bits of the cotton on the brush.

remove gel polish from brushes supplies

Cleaning Gel Polish Off Brushes Instructions:

Step 1

First, with a lint free wipe, remove all of the extra gel polish from the brush.

cleaning gel off of a nail brush

Step 2

Open the isopropyl alcohol and pour a small amount into a dappen dish or shallow dish like a rhinestone holder.

Step 3

Dap the wipe into the alcohol.

Step 4

Clean the handle of the brush. Clean the whole handle until it is free of gel and no longer sticky.

clean gel polish off of a brush

Step 5

Next remove any gel from the metal or plastic base in a downward motion. Be careful not to bend the bristles of the brush or bend them upward.

Step 6

Dab some clear base gel (not a top coat) onto a mixing palette.

how to clean gel off of a nail brush

Step 7

Take the nail brush and gently go back and forth into the gel. This is going to help remove any pigments from previous gel color applications.

Do this until you feel that you have removed all of the color from your brush. Wipe off the extra gel when you are finished this step.

how to clean gel polish from a brush

Step 8

Clean the bristles of the brush by gently going back and forth onto the wipe. If the brush was extra sticky from the gel, get a clean piece and saturate it with the alcohol. Then repeat this step.

Step 9

Condition the brush by wiping it in a small bit of clear base gel.

Conditioning a nail art brush is crucial to ensure optimal performance and longevity. By properly conditioning the brush, you can remove any residual chemicals or coatings that might be present from the manufacturing process, which could otherwise interfere with the application of nail polish or other artistic materials.

Conditioning also helps to soften the bristles, allowing for better flexibility and control during application. This results in smoother and more precise brush strokes, enhancing the overall quality and intricacy of nail art designs.

Additionally, conditioning helps prevent bristle splaying and shedding, ensuring that the brush remains reliable and consistent over time, making it an indispensable step for achieving professional-level nail art results.

Step 10

Put the lid back onto the brush.

Now you can store the nail art brush in a place that is dark away from light.

If you no longer have the lid for the brush, the best place to store it is in a dark box (not clear) with a lid. You can use some wax paper to keep the brush protected if you don't have a lid.

If the nail brush has become hard but still has movement, it can sometimes be saved by saturating it with alcohol and gently pressing down on the bristles, wiping and repeating until the brush becomes soft and pliable again.

Gel brush cleaning tips & tricks

1. Always keep separate brushes for each step of the gel application process. This is especially important for brushes that use loose glitter for nails.

That means, dedicate a  brush for base coats, a brush for colors, and another separate brush for top coats and another brush for glitters. If you prefer the same shape of brush then do label them so you know what one is used for.

how to clean gel off of nail art brushes

2. If you don't have time for a deep cleaning, then wipe off the brush, condition it with a bit of base gel polish and store in a dark place away from light.

3. Label your brushes so that you know what each brush is being used for.

4. Never use acetone for nail art brushes. Acetone is too strong and can melt and make the bristles brittle.

5. If you don't have paper towel or a lint free wipe, you can cut up an old cotton shirt or lint free fabric to have pieces ready.

Can you fix a brush once it has been cured?

It depends on how much gel polish is on the brush and inside the bristles. If there are chunks of gel polish on your brush, you may be able to gently take them off with a tweezer.

You can also try the steps above to see if your brush will come clean. Unfortunately, if the gel has become completely hardened, the brush will most likely not be usable again.

Can I use acetone to clean gel off of my brush?

Do not use acetone to clean gel polish off of your brushes. Acetone will ruin your brush by making it very dry and can even eat away at the synthetic bristles. The bristles will start to come apart and eventually lose their shape, especially for fine liner brushes for gel polish.

fine liner brushes for gel polish

Should I clean the brush off after every use?

Yes, practicing good brush cleaning will help keep your brushes looking and performing their best.

Brushes should be cleaned after each use and if you are using one brush for the whole manicure, it should be cleaned after each layer: base coat, gel polish color, and top coat.

Using the same brush for every layer will start to mix the gel polishes together and can result in lifting and other problems. 

So can I use different colors without cleaning the brush in between?

That depends, some colors are extremely pigmented. You can try to dry wipe the brush in between colors if you feel that the color isn't going to contaminate the next color. 

Never mix the base coat and top coats onto the same brush without cleaning first.

If you are using loose glitter for nail art, it's best to keep that brush separate because glitter is harder to get out of a brush, especially micro glitters.

How should I store a gel nail brush?

A nail brush that is being used for gel polish must be stored away from light. The best way to store gel brushes is to use a cap that is a dark color.

If you are using art brushes or brushes that do not come with a cap, then you can store them in a box away from light and dust. Read our article all about nail supply storage ideas.

how to store nail art brushes 

We have a helpful article on how to store nail art supplies

✅ We hope you found this article helpful and can now go ahead and clean gel polish off of your nail art brushes effectively.

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