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How to Remove Nail Polish from Carpets

How to Remove Nail Polish from Carpets

December 1, 2020

Have you ever decided to paint your nails and then knocked over the bottle and spilled it on your carpet? Have no fear, there are ways with household items to get rid of the stain and save your carpet! 

Remember: Before cleaning a stain on your carpet with any solution, do a test swatch on a patch of carpet that is not visible, to see how the solution affects your carpet. You do not want to attempt to clean a stain and then end up bleaching or ruining the carpet. 

If your carpet is

  • Dark: it’s better to use rubbing alcohol/hairspray or baking soda rather than nail polish remover because it may bleach your carpet even if it is acetone-free
  • Light: use an acetone-free nail polish remover

Household Solutions to Use to Remove a Nail Polish Stain

Acetone-Free Nail Polish Remover: Make sure the nail polish remover is acetone-free and dye-free because acetone can seriously damage your carpet.

Hairspray and Rubbing Alcohol: Hairspray contains alcohol, which can dissolve nail polish. Use quite a lot of sprays of hair spray mixed with a bit of rubbing alcohol to further dissolve the nail polish.

Baking Soda and Ginger Ale: Baking soda is a household staple and can work to remove nail polish. Use ginger ale to wet it and help the baking soda dissolve the polish. Let it soak for 5-10 minutes and then you can begin working the stain out.

Vinegar: Soak the stain in plain vinegar for ten minutes before you begin working it out.

If the Nail Polish is Dry

If nail polish is dry, begin by scraping off as much as you can with a butter knife or other similar tool to scrape away the dried nail polish. Don’t forget to vacuum up the flakes so that they don’t get re-embedded into the carpet while you try to remove the stain. 

After you’ve removed as many dry bits as you can, the method is the same as for getting out the wet polish. Test a section of your carpet with a cleaning solution, blot the stain with the cleaner, scrub with soap and water, and let it dry. 

If the Nail Polish is Wet

If the nail polish stain is still wet, grab a clean towel or paper towel and blot away the excess polish. Make sure you do not scrub or wipe the nail polish further into the carpet, it will just make the stain worse. As you’re dabbing away the excess be sure to flip the towel to a clean side each time you blot to prevent spreading the nail polish around. 

The Process

  1. Wet the stain with cold water
  2. Apply your preferred solution to the stain
  3. Scrub the stain with a scrub brush, toothbrush, or similar tool for about a minute
  4. Add more solution and continue to scrub
  5. Use a clean cloth to absorb the liquid
  6. Repeat the process until the stain is gone

Clean Up

Once the stain is removed, wash the carpet with soapy water. Washing the spot after your use stain remover will remove any chemicals and reduce any smell. You can use a carpet cleaner or dish-washing liquid mixed with water to wash the carpet.

  1. Take a clean cloth or towel and soak it in the soapy water and rub it into the carpet where the stain was to remove any remaining solution and to get rid of the smell
  2. Then take a clean cloth and soak it in warm water to rinse the carpet and remove the soap.
  3. Then take a clean dry cloth or towel to soak up excess water and dry the carpet
  4. You can use a fan aimed directly at the spot to ensure that it dries or place a dry towel on top of the spot and place something heavy on it for about half an hour to help dry the spot

1 Acetone is known to breakdown acetate fibers and cause carpet fibers to dislodge from the base.

Rubbing alcohol is a solvent that can help dissolve nail polish