How to Get Fingernail Polish Out of Carpet and Fabric

By: The Maids Team | August 29, 2012 2:44 pm
Category: Cleaning Tips, Tricks, and Tools

To some, myself included, the thought of spilling fingernail polish is like a bad dream. In fact, when I paint my fingernails, I put down layers and layers of protection for that very reason. Because fingernail polish tends to be so brightly colored, the thought of it lingering on my favorite beige couch or white carpet is like fingernails on a chalkboard. Or maybe it’s because that stubborn gooey liquid seems impossible to remove and the so called “remover” of fingernail polish can do just about as much damage as the spill itself.

Although getting out fingernail polish can be an arduous task, there are steps to take to get rid of the spill and get your carpet or fabric looking like new. How you will remove the stain depends on where you spilled the polish. Here are a couple of options:


Act quickly. The sooner you start to get the stain out the better. First, you’ll need to get as much of the excess polish off of the carpet as possible. Blot gently and don’t rub as you want to make sure you don’t make the stain larger by spreading it around.

If you have light colored carpet, a non-acetone remover is probably your best bet in getting the polish removed. Place a small amount on a cloth or sponge and blot the stain until no color remains. If your carpet is dark or has a variety of colors, you must be careful as to not remove the dye from the carpet. Using hairspray or rubbing alcohol to remove the stain, may be a safer option. You can also try hydrogen peroxide using a small dropper.

Fabric or Upholstery

You were sitting on your couch painting your nails and somehow that lovely hot pink color you were so fond of is now dripping down the side of your light gray loveseat. Again, by acting quickly you have the best chance of removing the stain for good. When removing nail polish from fabric you’ll need to make sure that if you use nail polish remover it won’t harm the fabric itself. (Sometimes it will actually dissolve the fabric, so spot testing is a must!) If you have access to a dry cleaning solvent, try that first. If you still need help getting the stain out, apply some hydrogen peroxide to the area and blot gently. Then apply water with a sponge to remove any remaining residue and gently dry with a clean cloth.

Once the stain is gone, take a deep breath and remind yourself that when painting your nails, an easy-to-clean surface such as your bathroom floor may be your best bet.

-Miss A

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  1. Wood Floor Restoration miami :

    Sep 14, 2012 7:56 am | Reply

    Using of alcohol or ammonia cleaning solutions is a best source for cleaning. However using of vinegar is also a best way to making your carpet clean and helpful to removing the stain. Thanks for sharing the helpful and effective tips.

    • The Maids Team( author ) :

      Sep 19, 2012 2:07 pm | Reply

      Thanks for the tips!

  2. Maids in Maryland :

    Oct 1, 2013 1:16 pm | Reply

    Now we just need something that will remove the glitter nailpolish. I’m pretty sure that stuff could survive the apocalypse.

  3. Anastasia :

    Nov 5, 2013 6:49 am | Reply

    the best way to remove polish from carpet (the plush kind) is to NOT wipe the stain with any cleaners, and instead gently trim off the tips of the carpet fibers once the nail polish has hardened.

    • The Maids Team( author ) :

      Nov 6, 2013 3:17 pm | Reply

      Thanks for sharing your tip, Anastasia.

  4. Amanda :

    Nov 22, 2013 3:08 pm | Reply

    The best way to get rid of the stains is certainly the natural old-fashioned products such as lemon, vinegar and ammonia. Great tips!

  5. Anon :

    May 28, 2014 12:17 am | Reply

    What if you already used nail polished, rub it instead of blotting it, and you’re out of nail polish remover and the stain is still there??? D:

    • Anon :

      May 28, 2014 12:19 am | Reply

      Also, it’s a VERY light colored carpet and a super bright pink nail polish.

      • The Maids Team( author ) :

        May 28, 2014 8:13 pm | Reply

        Give hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol a try using a small dropper!

  6. jackie :

    Jun 16, 2014 4:50 am | Reply

    I can’t thank you enough!! This was the perfect remedy! Unfortunately the same situation happened on my couch in April and I went to this site but it was too late. But I was on time for this one but omg thank you!!

  7. Chrisky :

    Aug 1, 2014 4:40 pm | Reply

    I just dropped a little drop of red nail polish on my carpet. I read several articles and finally decided to try a product I’ve used for years, and I knew it removed paint from floors, because I’ve done that. It is called, LA’s Totally Awesome. It can be purchased at Dollar General, or Dollar Tree. It works on tons of stuff. You can use it full strength, or dilute it with water depending on what you are using it on. I just removed the nail polish by spraying it onto my light tan carpet. Used a toothbrush, then blotted it up with a white cloth. Stain is gone, and did not discolor my carpet.

  8. Judy and Les :

    Aug 17, 2014 12:23 am | Reply

    My husband had a product called Goof Off, and it worked!

    • The Maids Team( author ) :

      Aug 20, 2014 4:43 pm | Reply

      Thanks for sharing Judy! :)

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