3 DIY Ways to Thin Nail Polish without Thinners & Acetone

3 DIY Ways to Thin Nail Polish without Thinners & Acetone
3 DIY Ways to Thin Nail Polish without Thinners & Acetone

Nail polishes tend to get thicker and clumpier naturally over time which is due to the loss of solvents from the polish due to evaporation.

But you can reverse this and in this article, I hope to guide you through methods on how you can easily DIY Thin Your Nail Polish.

1- How to Thin Nail Polish with a Nail Thinner

The main and best method to thin out and fix your clumpy polish is by using a nail polish thinner.

Nail Polish Thinners are specially made to thin polishes out without affecting the color. I have an entire article that will guide you through how to use them you can click here to learn more about nail polish thinners and the brands that I recommend.

2- How to DIY Thin Nail Polish using Alcohol

Now if for some reason, you can’t use a nail polish thinner your next best option is to add some isopropyl alcohol to help thin your polish out.


  • First, you need to use an eyedropper and add 2 drops of isopropyl alcohol to your polish.
  • Then proceed to vigorously shake your polish up.
  • Next, examine the polish to see if it’s more consistent.
  • Now if it’s not good enough you can add a bit more alcohol and shake it up again.
  • Finally, once your polish is the right consistency let rest for 20 minutes before applying.

How Alcohol Thins Out Nail Polish

You see two of the solvents that are lost from nail polish are Isopropyl alcohol and Ethyl acetate which if you check are two of the main ingredients found in most nail polishes.

1- So by adding a few drops of alcohol to your polish helps to replace some of the alcohol that was lost.

2- Additionally, the great thing about Isopropyl alcohol is that it is a very similar solvent to Ethyl acetates so it can somewhat act as a replacement solvent for it.

These two reasons are what allow alcohol to act as a somewhat DIY Nail Polish Thinner which means that adding alcohol to your nail polish will help make it a bit more fluid and more consistent.

How Effective is Alcohol at Thinning out Polish

I have had very mixed results with using alcohol to thin out polishes.

With some polishes, the alcohol blended well and I suspect this is because these polishes were made with a high level of alcohol and ethyl acetate.

Whilst some polishes didn’t respond so well to the alcohol they did get more fluid but either they took forever to dry or their colors had faded somewhat.

So if you plan to use alcohol proceed with caution.

3- How To Thin Nail Polish With Hot Water

You can use warm water to temporarily make your polish a bit more fluid and easier to apply

Important Note

Never place your nail polish bottle close to a flame, nail polishes are made of very flammable chemicals. Citation.

Instead, you can follow the instructions below.

  • First, you need to shake up your polish.
  • Next, take your nail polish bottle and let it soak in some warm water for a few minutes.
  • The heat would help make the polish a bit more fluid.
  • And also by allowing it to rest any air bubbles formed from shaking the polish up would dissipate.

Ensure the water isn’t too hot, extremely hot or boiling water can potentially crack the nail polish’s glass bottle.

Using warm water is a very short-term fix and it’s not very effective.

So I advise for the best results that you use a Nail Polish Thinner and if you can maybe invest in a Nail Polish Shaker.

You can read more about Nail Thinner by clicking here.

And to learn about Nail Polish Shakers you can click here.

Citations and References Used

Compound: Isopropyl Alcohol

Worldofchemicals.com chemistry-articles/chemistry-of-nail-polish

What is Isopropyl Alcohol ?.

Nail Polish Fire Hazard.