red nail polish on carpet

If you’ve been painting your nails for a while, you’ve likely had an accident or two that left you wondering just how to remove nail polish from anything other than your nails. When you’re not quite sure how to get nail polish out of clothes and other fabric, spilling fingernail polish feels 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 brightly colored and sticky, spilling nail polish on carpet, clothes, and upholstery will send most of us into a panic.

That stubborn, gooey liquid seems impossible to remove, and fingernail polish remover can do as much damage to fabric as the spill itself. Although getting out fingernail polish can be a tedious task, there are proven cleaning methods for how to remove nail polish from almost anything, including wood furniture and hardwood floors.

Save the Nail Polish Remover For Your Nails

Fabric and carpet come in so many different materials, so you should always read the care label before you begin cleaning any stain. Care labels provide essential information for general washing and cleaning, but when you’re figuring out how to remove nail polish, the most important part of the label is the fabric material itself.

Removing nail polish from any fabric requires a careful approach if you want to salvage your rug or favorite blouse. While nail polish remover with acetone will remove fingernail polish from just about anything, it can also remove dyes from fabric and even damage the fibers. Acetone is also very flammable and can cause dizziness and headaches, so opt for milder solutions when possible.

Some nail spills may require the use of acetone, but most do not. Regardless of what you use to remove nail polish, always be sure to spot-check an inconspicuous area of the fabric first. Now it’s time to learn how to get nail polish off clothes, carpet, and upholstery.

How To Get Nail Polish Out Of Carpet

The first step to removing nail polish from carpet is acting quickly. The sooner you get the fingernail polish spill cleaned up, the better. You need to get as much of the excess polish off of the carpet as possible, especially if it’s a fast-acting dry polish. Grab a cloth and blot it gently (don’t rub), or you could make the stain larger by spreading it around.

Using hairspray or rubbing alcohol to remove tough stains like nail polish is your first line of offense. You can also try hydrogen peroxide using a small dropper and blotting out the fingernail polish with a cloth. If you have light-colored carpet, a non-acetone nail polish remover may be your best bet for removing a fresh nail polish spill. Place a small amount on a cloth or sponge and blot the stain until no polish remains.

How to Remove Nail Polish From Carpet After It’s Dried

If you see a dried nail polish spill on your carpet, we’ve got you covered. Scrape and pick off the dried polish with a knife or razor. Get as much off as you can and use a vacuum to pull up the rest of any dried pieces. From this point on, follow the same method you would to remove wet polish. Test a section of your carpet with a cleaning solution, blot the stain with the cleaner, and scrub with soap and water to get out all the embedded particles.

If your nail polish spill has soaked too far into your carpet before it dried, it could be embedded in the backing and even on the flooring beneath. Removing dried nail polish from deep in your carpet might be more than a DIY method can handle, so you may have to call in a carpet cleaning pro to save your carpet.

How to Get Nail Polish Out Of Clothes

The fabric you’re most likely to spill nail polish on is your clothing. Whether it’s your jeans or your favorite sweater, knowing how to remove nail polish from clothes can be a challenge. First of all, you might want to put that bottle of nail polish remover down. The chemicals in the remover can have an adverse reaction with certain fabric dyes.

Try using hair spray on the stain or use a dry cleaning solvent. If you spilled fingernail polish on white clothing, use hydrogen peroxide to bleach the stain away gently. Once you’ve removed the stain, launder your clothes as usual.

For delicates like silk or wool, test your cleaner on an inside seam to make sure it won’t harm the fabric. Delicate fabrics can usually hold up to most stain removers, but scrub cautiously to avoid damage.

The best tools to get nail polish out of clothes are probably already in your home—laundry detergent, cotton swabs, and nail polish remover. Start with laundry detergent, dabbing gently to get the polish out. For tougher nail polish stains, cautiously dab a small amount of nail polish remover, changing to fresh cotton swabs as needed. Once you know how to get nail polish out of clothes, rest easy knowing you’re prepared for your next nail polish emergency.

To help you get beautiful nails more often and avoid nail polish spills, Cosmopolitan has a great article on nail painting techniques and preserving your nails post-polish. From using petroleum jelly to keep nail polish off your skin to how to organize your nail supplies, you’ll find plenty of helpful tips.

How To Remove Nail Polish From Fabric 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, spot test first to make sure your cleaner won’t harm the material.
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.

Suede Fabrics

If you find a nail polish spill on suede upholstery, you’ll need a different cleaning approach.
Apply baking soda to the stain and let it soak up the excess nail polish for 15 minutes. Use a toothbrush to gently sweep away the stain-soaked powder from the couch surface. For persistent stains, apply some rubbing alcohol to a cotton ball and blot the polish away, using fresh cotton as needed. Let the suede fabric air dry and brush the material using a suede brush.

Leather Upholstery

For leather couches, removing nail polish spills isn’t as difficult as you might think, even if the stain is from a bright red or pink polish. All you need is rubbing alcohol and some cotton balls. Pour some rubbing alcohol onto a cotton ball and blot the stained area. If you don’t have any rubbing alcohol, use hairspray instead. Continue blotting the stain using fresh cotton balls until all of the polish is removed. Fill a small bowl with water and a couple of drops of dish soap. Apply some of the detergent solution onto a soft cloth and wipe away all of the polish and residue using a gentle, circular motion. Dry the area thoroughly with a cloth.

Now that you know how to remove nail polish safely, you won’t have to stress out over your next mishap. You don’t have to stress over house cleaning, either, if you don’t want to. Let The Maids take the work out of housework with one of our popular residential cleaning services. Get your free online estimate today and find out how you can enjoy a clean home as often as you like.


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