For nail techs, taking care of your nail tools is a high priority. After all, to create stunning nail extensions, you need to ensure you have everything in tip-top condition.

Along with choosing a good quality acrylic powder or gel polish, your nail brushes need to be in the best form, too! This means they need to be clean and damage-free, to ensure your clients get the amazing manicure they expected.

Not only are dirty nail brushes unhygienic for your salon, but they look unprofessional in front of clients, too. They make it much harder to create your best work, resulting in lifting and difficulty controlling the acrylics or gels.

So, for this week’s blog, we are tackling the question – how should you clean your acrylic nail brushes? Read on to find out more…

Related: The Best Professional Acrylic Nail Kits For Your Salon

How to clean acrylic nail brushes

Overall, the best way to clean acrylic nail brushes is with the monomer you have used on the nail extension. Acetone nail remover is also sometimes used where all else fails, but a regular wipe with monomer after use is the best start to keeping brushes hygienic.

So, exactly what steps should you take to keep your brushes looking and working like new?

Firstly, after every use, you should give your nail brushes a good wipe with a lint-free cloth and some monomer. Monomer, or acrylic nail liquid, is often preferred over brush cleaners because it is much gentler on the bristles. This regular cleanse is your first line of defence against dirty brushes!

However, sometimes you might find you have more stubborn product build-up you need to remove. To get rid of it, this is the best process….

  1. Fill a shallow dish with some monomer nail liquid
  2. Leave your brushes to soak – it might take anywhere from 2 hours to overnight, depending on how stubborn the acrylic is
  3. Gently rinse the bristles with warm water
  4. Lie your brushes horizontally on a towel and allow them to completely air dry
  5. Once dry, give them another soak in some fresh monomer for a further 2 hours
  6. Again, lie them flat on a towel and allow the monomer to dry naturally

This process should remove most general product build-up. However, if your brush is really clogged up with lumps, it may be that your mix ratio isn’t quite right. Check the instructions of your nail acrylics to be sure you are achieving the right consistency.

Should you use acetone to clean acrylic nail brushes?

This depends on what type of brushes you are using.

Natural brushes require more care to keep them at their best. Most higher quality natural hair brushes are made from Kolinsky Sable hairs. While these do last longer, and hold product better than synthetic brushes, they also damage easier.

If you have invested in natural hair acrylic nail brushes, you shouldn’t use acetone to clean them. Acetone is too harsh for them, and will dehydrate the strands. As a result, you might find the bristles become too fanned out and that they don’t grip your acrylic beads as well as they used too.

It is best to use monomer to clean natural brushes. Be careful when using brush cleaners, too – some contain acetone, so check the ingredients carefully before you use them.

Synthetic nail brushes can withstand acetone more than natural hair brushes. However, they can still become dried out over time, so it’s best to stick to monomer when possible.

How to clean acrylic brushes without monomer

While it isn’t recommended, sometimes you need something stronger than monomer to clean your acrylic brushes.

If your only other option is to throw your brush away, you could try using acetone to shift clogged up product. Try and wipe it away with an acetone-soaked pad. If that doesn’t work, try soaking it. Keep an eye on this process, as you don’t want it to go on for too long – check regularly and rinse thoroughly when you are done. Then, soak your brush in monomer for a couple of hours before use.

Be aware that this process could damage your brush, so only attempt it as a last resort.

How to clean gel nail brushes

Unlike brushes for acrylic nails, gel nail brushes are often made from synthetic fibres. This means they are more durable than acrylic brushes, so don’t need quite as much special care.

For the most part, a thorough wipe with a lint-free cloth after use should keep your gel brushes clean and in good condition. They can withstand a cleanse with alcohol, but try not to do it too often, as it can still dry out the bristles. They rarely need a soak – just a quick dip and wipe should do the job.

Do you have any professional tips on how to clean acrylic or gel nail brushes? Let us know in the comments below!

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