How To Remove Nail Polish From Clothes, Carpets, And Upholstery

Written by , MSc Pratima Ati MSc
Last Updated on

My idea of a happy weekend is self-indulgence, a DIY face mask, pedicure, manicure, and changing my nail paint. I’m a sucker for nail polish and buying a new color is all I need to make my happy weekend happier. But, in reality, there’s more to these weekends than just bright colors and perfect pedis.

Nail paints on our nails are just beautiful, but when they spill over our clothes, carpets or furniture, it is just the opposite. Scrubbing them off can be such a nightmare, and I’ve had enough losing some of my favorite T-shirts. But I won’t let it happen to you because you can easily get rid of these stains with things we already have at home. I wish I had known this before, but better late than never.

How To Remove Nail Polish Stains

  1. How To Remove Nail Polish From Clothes
  2. How To Remove Nail Polish From Carpet
  3. How To Remove Nail Polish From Upholstery

What You Need

How To Remove Nail Polish Stains

  • A flat surface
  • A few paper towels, kitchen towel or an old rag
  • Acetone
  • Liquid soap
  • Water
  • A washing machine (optional)

1. How To Get Nail Polish Out Of Clothes

1. How To Remove Nail Polish From Clothes

  • Remove The Stains
  1. Before you start the procedure, look for the cloth tag and see if the garment contains acetate or triacetate. If it does, then it is not advisable that you try this procedure as acetone can sometimes burn the fabric. Just do a patch test to be sure. Also, do not attempt it on expensive clothing or if the tag says ‘dry cleaning only.’ There is a chance that the stain will get deeper and end up spoiling the outfit further.
  2. Also, remember that acetone and nail polish remover are different things. So, preferably go for acetone only.
  3. First, try and remove the excess paint from your clothes as soon as it spills and while the stain is still fresh.
  4. Take one end of the kitchen towel and dip it in acetone till it is saturated with it.
  5. Place the fabric on a flat surface and dab it with the kitchen towel.
  6. The nail polish from the fabric will start transferring into the paper towel.
  7. Remove the paper towel and place another one on it; repeat the process until the nail polish stops getting transferred onto the kitchen towel.
  • Wash The Fabric
  1. Now, rinse the fabric with cold water.

Wash The Fabric

  1. Or, throw it in the washing machine.


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2. How To Remove Nail Polish From Carpet

2. How To Remove Nail Polish From Carpet

  1. If there is a glob of the polish on the carpet, try and lift the excess off with a slightly sharp object.
  2. Use an ear bud or cotton swab and dip it in acetone. Dab the carpet with this or with acetone-soaked paper towels till the nail polish starts getting transferred.
  3. If you have tried doing this quite a few times and still do not see too much of a difference, let the area dry and try using hydrogen peroxide or a drying cleaning liquid/agent.
  4. Make sure you do not over-wet the area and only use cotton swabs or small paper towels. Otherwise, the stains will quickly spread and make matters worse.

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3. How To Remove Nail Polish From Upholstery

3. How To Remove Nail Polish From Upholstery

  • If it is a fresh stain, take the excess off the upholstery by carefully dabbing a paper towel or a soft cotton cloth over it.
  • Do not try and wipe it harshly asthe colorwill only get deeper.
  • Always do a patch test to see if acetone reacts with the fabric; try iton a hidden area first.
  • Dip or soak a paper towel or a part of the kitchen towel in acetone and dab it on the upholstery.
  • Do not pour acetone directly on the upholstery because it might cause the polish to smear and spread. Blotting or dabbing is the best way to do it.
  • Repeat the procedure with a fresh paper towel. Repeat the process till the nail polish completely comes off.
  • Now, take a wet kitchen towel soaked in liquid soap, and try to rinse off the residual acetone or nail polish.
  • Let the upholstery dry completely.

Other Alternatives

1. Using Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is a good alternative for acetone and is generally used as a bleaching agent. It might fade out the other colors as well, so use this on carpets or upholstery but not on your clothes.

2. Hair Spray

2. Hair Spray
Image: Shutterstock

Hair spray is a good alternative to try if you do not have acetone handy at home. Do a patch test first and try the same procedure; it should work. If it does not, try with acetone or take it to a professional.

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Can you believe it? It’s just as simple as that. Next time around you know what to do other than simply tossing them into the bin or living with it if it’s on the carpet or upholstery. Share this article and spread the word to help your friends and family as well.

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Pratima Ati
Pratima AtiFashion & Lifestyle Writer
Pratima Ati is a postgraduate in International Business from Staffordshire University. After working in Marketing and Business Development for a few years, she jumped ship to pursue two things she loved – fashion and writing.

Read full bio of Pratima Ati
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