Home / Beauty & Makeup / All you need to know: How to Get Nail polish Out Of Fabric

All you need to know: How to Get Nail polish Out Of Fabric

All you need to know: How to Get Nail polish Out Of Fabric

Beauty is not limited to the face. Rather, high      -end fashion includes everything, from the top of the head down to the toes. If you want to look truly spectacular, you need to pay attention to everything.

Nail art is one such thing that is very famous, and looks quite glamorous. You can paint your nails all sorts of shades, or create designs and patterns on them. In recent times, nail art has progressed a lot; and today ladies all over the world are becoming experts at creating visually stunning nail designs.

If you have ever applied nail polish, you know the horror of getting some of it on your clothes. Isn’t it just a nightmare? You put your favorite dress on, you applied immaculate nail polish with care, and then you were a little careless with the way you moved your hands and suddenly you realize you’ve got nail polish on your clothes. What to do?

This is a scenario that all of us have had to deal with at one point or another. Nail polish just does not dry as quickly as we would like it to! You may sit still till it dries; but if you apply nail polish regularly, sooner or later you are bound to get a little of it on your clothes.

Even worse is when you ask people what to do and they tell you that you might as well say goodbye to your dress because no way is that stain ever coming off. What should you do, then? Throw your dress away? That sounds like a complete waste, doesn’t it?

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It’s not even just clothes. Any sort of fabric can be stained with nail polish. Own a sofa with fabric and accidently got some nail polish on it while applying it to your nails? Or were you pushing the curtains back while your nail polish was still wet and got a little on the curtain?

And the worst scenario yet: spilling a bottle of nail polish on the carpet and watching in helpless despair as the color seeps into the carpet, making a big ugly stain that seems impossible to remove. Isn’t it just sad that nail polish comes in little bottles that are so easy to topple over?

Well, we are here to tell you not to despair. It is, indeed possible to get nail polish stains out of fabric. Are you jumping with joy just hearing this news? You should! Here is what you need to know.

Things to Know:

Before starting the cleaning process, there are a few tips that can really help you:

  • It is best to start the cleaning process as soon as you realize that there has been a nail polish spill. While the nail polish is still wet, lay a few paper towels on it to absorb as much of the nail polish as possible. Remember, DO NOT WIPE while the polish is still wet. This will only make the stain spread and thus you will have a stain that is much worse than before. Instead, use gentle blotting action to remove nail polish that is still wet. Dab the cleaning cloth on the stain and lift it. If you need to rub, do it after the nail polish dries? Rubbing wet nail polish can be a disaster.
  • Once you have removed as much wet nail polish as possible, wait till the rest of it becomes dry. If you try rubbing wet nail polish, you can end up damaging your fabric and thus ruining it. This holds true particularly for delicate fabrics such as this clothes.
  • If there are large drops of nail polish on any fabric, wait till they dry out. Then, you can simply try to lift off any flakes that come off easily. You can use tweezers for this purpose, or even a dull knife. However, do not pull too hard as you might end up damaging the fabric.

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  • Always test a chemical before using it. Make sure it will not discolor the fabric.
  • It is easier to remove nail polish from natural fibers like cotton and linen. Stains can also be removed from synthetic fibers like polyester, but it takes a little more time.

Using Acetone:

Acetone is a chemical that can easily be found in drugstores. It can be used to remove nail polish stains from fabric. This method works best for clothes as acetone is effective on fabrics such as cotton, silk, denim etc.

The method is pretty simple. All you need is acetone, paper towels and cotton balls. First of all, take a bunch of paper towels and place the fabric on them in such a way that the stain lies on the paper towels. Now, soak a cotton ball with acetone and apply it to the back of the fabric, gently rubbing it so that the acetone is transferred to the fabric. This will result in the nail polish being transferred from the cloth to the paper towels.

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Now rinse the cloth, throw away the paper towel and spread a new one, again placing the cloth on it so the stain faces the paper towel. Repeat the whole action with cotton ball soaked with acetone. Keep doing this as long as the paper towels keep absorbing the nail polish.

Once the paper towels start becoming clean and are no longer stained when you wipe the cloth with acetone, it means that the stain is gone. For perfect result, you should apply a little acetone on the previously stained area and then launder the cloth item like you usually do. This will remove the final vestiges of the stain, and your clothes will be as good as new.


Do not use acetone to remove the stain if your fabric contains acetate, triacetate or modoacrylic. These are fabrics that will be damaged by acetone and may even melt.

If your dress is “dry clean only”, it is best not to try cleaning it at home.

Using a Nail Polish Remover:

This is the simplest way because it makes use of something that every household has – a nail polish remover. If you wear nail polish often, you’d definitely have a remover and so this method can be applied with ease. Using nail polish removers with acetone require the same caution that was mentioned above.

Before you go about cleaning a stain with a remover, apply a little of it to one corner of your clothes or other fabric, to ensure that color is not removed. Once you have checked this, you can move on to removing the nail polish stain.

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Soak a piece of cloth or a cotton ball with the nail polish remover and gently wipe the region of the stain. You will be able to see that the stain starts shifting to the cloth or cotton. Make sure you use a clean bit of cloth or cotton after every few wipes, to ensure that you are not transferring the nail polish back rather than cleaning it.

When no more nail polish is being transferred, you should stop the blotting action and wash the fabric like you usually do.

Ice Pack Method:

If the nail polish has dried on your fabric, apply an ice pack to it. This causes the stain to harden and thus become brittle. When the nail polish is in this state, it is easier to pick it off. You can use tweezers or even an old toothbrush. Most of the flakes will break off and thus will be removed.

For the nail polish that is still left behind, use acetone in the same way that is mentioned above.

Use A Hair Spray To Clean Nail Polish Stain:

If you have a hairspray at hand, this is a good method to remove nail polish. However, it is best to use an inexpensive one as quite a lot of hair spray may be needed to remove the stain. The hair spray should be alcohol based.

First of all, place paper towels beneath the stained surface so you do not accidently transfer the stain to the other side of the fabric; particularly if you are wiping the stain from a piece of cloth like a blouse. Next, spray the hair spray on the fabric till it is soaked.

Now that the stain is wet, take a tooth brush that you no longer use and use it to gently scrub the cloth. Make sure that you do not spread the stain. While this process may not remove the stain entirely, it will definitely cause the stain to become a lot discolored and faded.

If the results are not as good as you were hoping for, saturate the cloth with the hair spray and wait for a few minutes. This allows the hair spray to set in, and hence the results are better. As with all other methods, once you notice that maximum of the stain has been removed and no more of it is coming off, wash the piece of fabric with a good detergent. There are special stain-removal detergents made for such a purpose, and they work very well to remove the residue of the stain.

Bug Spray:

Bug spray can also be used to clean nail polish stains. You should use the insect-repellant sprays that are meant to be applied on the clothes. Test on a small piece of fabric first to ensure that color does not come off.

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You can go about this in two ways. First is to apply a liberal amount of bug spray to the region of the stain, let it sit for a minute or two and then use an old toothbrush to scrub off the stain. The second method is to apply the bug spray to the toothbrush bristles rather than directly to the fabric itself this is a good idea if you are working with a fabric that is sensitive, delicate or very thin.


Be very gentle while scrubbing with the toothbrush. You do not want to damage the fabric. Make sure that the stain does not spread.

Wash the cloth at the end according to its washing instructions.


Removing Nail Polish Stains from Carpets and Upholstery:

Just because you are careful while applying nail polish does not mean you won’t still get a stain somewhere. You may save your clothes but what if you accidently got some nail polish on your sofa while sitting on it with polish that hadn’t dried yet?

It’s amazing how many places can get nail polish stains; carpets and upholstery are no exception. The problem is that you cannot wash upholstery and carpets like you’d normally wash your clothes. This is why taking stains out of these things is generally more difficult and time-taking.

It can still be done, though. That is why if you just discovered a nail polish stain on your sofa fabric or your carpet, this is what you need to do.

Remove The Wet Stain:

When nail polish dries on a carpet or upholstery, it tends to become hard and well-incorporated in the material. As a result, it becomes difficult to remove it. Therefore, as soon as you realize that there has been a nail polish spill, take a bunch of paper towels and carefyll blot out as much wet nail polish as possible.

Place the paper towels on the stain and let them absorb the polish. Use a dabbing movement; do not rub or wipe as you will spread the stain.

Hair Spray Works Best For Carpets:

If you spilled nail polish on your carpet, using hair spray is a good idea. Before spraying it on the stain, take a wet cloth and rub the stain a little to make it wet. Then spray on the region of the carpet that has the stain. Be liberal with the spray; the stain should be entirely soaked. Once this is done, splash a little rubbing alcohol on the stain.

Now that the stain is well soaked, take an old toothbrush and scrub the stain gently. You will notice that the stain will start to lose its color. While you are rubbing, keep a container of cold water with you and keep pouring this water, a little at a tie, on the stain. This will aid in removing the color of the nail polish stain. The process takes some time but it is very effective.

Using Nail Polish Remover:

Before you use nail polish remover on the carpet, use it on a small region that is not readily visible, to ensure that no color is lost. When this becomes clear, apply the remover to the region of the stain. It is best to work with non-acetone nail polish removers for this purpose, as acetone ones could actually damage the carpet.

When you apply the remover, dab the stain with a clean white cloth or cotton ball. Regularly switch the cotton ball or use an unstained side so you do not accidently transfer the stain back to the carpet.

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When color stops coming off the stain, it means that all of it has been removed.

Cleaning the Stain with Window Cleaner:

This is a lesser known trick, but is just as useful. If you spill nail polish on your carpet, get a window cleaning solution and apply it to a clean, white piece of cloth. It is best to use a dish cloth for this purpose.

Gently rub the cloth in a circular motion on the carpet; be careful not to spread the stain. You will notice that the stain starts to come off. Keep rubbing with a clean side of the dishcloth, and at the end wash off the stained area with cold water. Once the carpet dries, you will notice that the stain is gone.

Any brand of window cleaner will work. However, removing nail polish stain by this method is a slow process. You will have to clean for quite some time before the stain is completely removed. Keep this in mind while going about the cleaning process and do not be discouraged if the stain does not seem to come off immediately.

Hydrogen Peroxide Method:

This method is for stubborn stains that are not coming off by any other means. Hydrogen peroxide is a strong solution that will remove the stain from your carpet, sofas or other upholstery. However, it can decolorize your carpet or upholstery very quickly. Therefore, before using this agent, use a small amount of it on a small piece of the carpet, in some inconspicuous corner, to ensure that it is safe to use.

Once you have tested the hydrogen peroxide, apply it on a small piece of cloth. If the nail polish stain is very small, use a cotton bud or a Q-tip for the cleaning process. Once the cleaning cloth or Q-tip is soaked in hydrogen peroxide, apply it to the region of the stain and gently rub it in.

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You will have to continually change the cloth’s sides or use a fresh Q-tip to ensure that all of the stain is removed. At the end, pour a little cold water to completely remove the stain.


Using hydrogen peroxide is a good way to remove nail polish stains; however it works best with light colored carpets or upholstery as darker ones have more probability of losing their color and hence being permanently damaged.

Also, when rubbing the cloth on the carpet or upholstery, be very gentle as you may actually end up damaging the fibers and ruining the quality of your product.

Other Cleaning Agents:

There are a large variety of cleaning agents in the market, and all of them will have some effect on a nail polish stain. It is best, therefore, to first try the methods listed above. Once most of the stain has been removed, and then go for a cleaning solution, for example a carpet cleaning solution. This will remove the residue of the stain and your sofa or carpet will become as good as new.

You could try different detergents to see which one suits you best. However, keep in mind that when you are using one detergent, only use that one and do not mix it with others. Mixing two or more cleaning solutions together could result in the production of toxic fumes that could actually be harmful.

When to Call For Professional Help?

Have you even spilled nail polish on your clothes, carpet or sofa and asked for advice, only to be told that you should call in a professional cleaner and let him do the job? How do you decide when to call a professional and when to attempt cleaning the stain yourself?

For clothes, this is quite easy. If a dress has “dry clean only” written on it, this means it is best if you take it to a professional dry cleaner? Yes, there are dry cleaning solutions present in the market which you can buy and use yourself, but professional dry cleaners often have access to a large number of such solutions. Also, they know which one to use on which type of fabric. Another plus point is that they have experience in this field and will best be able to decide how to remove the stain.

For any expensive and delicate dress, visiting a dry cleaner is a good idea. After all, you do not want to ruin the whole thing.

If you spilled nail polish on your carpet and are unsure whether or not to call a carpet cleaner, here is a tip. If your carpet is not very delicate, try removing as much of the stain as possible yourself. Once you have tried the above mentioned methods but the stain is still there, then you should call a professional carpet cleaner. They have special carpet cleaning solutions that will do the job.

Same goes for sofas and upholstery. Give it a go yourself first. If you fail to remove the stain, or have removed some of it but all of it refuses to come off, only then call for professional help.

About Alinta Abeer

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