The Expert’s Guide on How to Get Nail Polish Out of Clothes and Other Items

We’ve all been there – your freshly-manicured nails are drying away when you scratch your leg without thinking and suddenly, there’s a huge stain on your pants.

Or maybe you knock a bottle of nail polish onto your bright white carpet.
What on earth do you do?

From clothing to carpets and fabrics, there is always a way to accidentally create nail polish stains that are difficult to get out. However, nail polish remover isn’t always the best solution as it can bleach fabrics and damage your clothing.

Want to know what the best solution is? Let us tell you. Here are some steps on how to remove nail polish from fabric and everyday materials. (If, on the other hand, you want to know how to remove nail polish from your own nails, you can read about it here.)

Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Let's dive right in!

How To Get Nail Polish Out Of Clothes

Clothing on a Rack
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Source: Lauren Fleischmann


As shown in the video below, spray the affected area with some strong hairspray. Once the hairspray has dried, use a pair of tweezers or nail scissors to scrape it off the clothing.


Once the hairspray has dried, use a pair of tweezers or nail scissors to scrape it off the clothing.


Put the clothes in the washing machine as normal.

**DO NOT use acetone nail polish remover on clothes – always opt for non-acetone versions.

How To Remove Nail Polish From Fabric

Bundle of Fabric Cotton Clothing
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Source: Digital Buggu


For most cotton and man-made fabrics, you should gently dab the stain with a clean cloth first, removing as much excess as possible. [1]


Gently dab a very small amount of non-acetone remover onto the fabric. Allow the cloth to naturally absorb the stain without much force.


Repeat until there is no transfer or minimal transfer to the cloth.


Machine wash as usual (if washable).

For natural fibers like silk and wool, seek professional cleaning services.

Check if the fabric contains acetate, triacetate or modacrylic. If so, don’t attempt to use an acetone nail polish remover as the acetone in it will deteriorate the fabric.

Meg Roberts, Cleaning Expert

How To Get Nail Polish Out Of Carpet

Carpet using on a floor
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Source: Brian Bennett/CNET


Leave the spill to dry.


Pour nail polish remover onto the affected area (around a capful).


Spray stain removal spray onto the area and leave for 1-2 minutes.


Pour on a small amount of water.


Take a cloth and start scrubbing the area with the water.


Repeat this process a couple of times as necessary.

If your cloth isn’t up to the job here, try using an old toothbrush and working it into the carpet. The bristles can get deeper into the fibers and will help the water and removal spray penetrate fully.

How To Get Nail Polish Out Of Upholstery

White Couch on Wooden Floor
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Source: Andrea Piacquadio


Apply pressure to the stain with a clean white cloth as shown in the video below.


Pour a small amount of upholstery stain removal spray onto the area.


Use a pair of tweezers (or similar) to “dig out” the stain.


Scrub with a clean section of the white cloth to help get the stain out.


Repeat until clean.

**DO NOT use acetone as it could bleach the upholstery fabric.

How To Get Nail Polish Out Of Leather

Different Types of Leather Bags
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Source: Juhasz Imre


Dab some rubbing alcohol onto a paper kitchen towel.


Gently blot the stain with the rubbing alcohol a few times.


Create a solution of olive oil and white vinegar (1 spoon of vinegar to 2 spoons of olive oil).


Pour the liquid onto the stain and use an old toothbrush to scrub at the stain using different motions.


After the color has all flaked away, clean the leather with a wet wipe or clean cloth.

Nail polish remover isn’t always the best solution as it can bleach fabrics and damage your clothing.

How To Get Nail Polish Off Wood

Wood Table Furniture
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Source: Jahres-Ringe


Leave the spill to dry. When it’s dry, try to gently scrape the hardened color off the surface of the wood with something that won’t scratch the wood. Some people recommend using a plastic putty knife. [2]


If there are stubborn stains that won’t budge, wipe the area with a small amount of denatured alcohol. Be very careful, as too much could remove the stain from the wood itself.


Use ultra-fine stainless steel wool to delicately rub away any remaining pieces.

**DO NOT use nail polish remover on wooden surfaces – it will remove the stain/finish from the wood and ruin the look. Our method above is the safest way of how to get nail polish off wood.

How To Remove Nail Polish From Phone Screen Or Phone Case

iPhone With Screen Protector
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Source: Koby Kelsey


Generally speaking, it’s best to let the stain dry before attempting to remove it. If you try to remove it while it’s wet, you’ll probably smear it across your phone screen.


Use your fingernail to pick off as much hardened color from your phone surface as possible.


If residue remains, put some strong Isopropanol rubbing alcohol (97% is best) on a cotton bud or cotton Q-tip and gently rub the stain on the phone.

**DO NOT use acetone on your phone – if it gets into the plastic or electronics, it could completely break the phone.


Can you use nail polish remover to get nail polish off clothes?

How do you get nail polish off clothes without remover?

Does hairspray remove nail polish?

Does toothpaste get rid of nail polish?

Does nail polish remover stain?

Does acetone take color out of clothes?


I hope you enjoyed these simple tips and steps for how to get nail polish out of carpet, clothes, and other items!

Nail polish remover seems like the natural go-to solution for these accidents, but it can actually wreak havoc on a ton of household materials. Nail polish is designed to stay on your nails for weeks and weeks at a time, so I guess it makes sense that it’s a pain in the butt to clean off of things.

Do you want gorgeous nails without ruining your carpet? Book a smudge proof gel nail service at Sunday Beauty Boutique today by clicking here!




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About the Author Catherine

As a kid, I discovered the world of Japanese nail art through a magazine and since then, I haven't been able to stop thinking about anything related to nails! After following a more traditional educational path and earning my Bachelor's of Science in Food and Nutrition, I decided it was time to pursue my childhood passion. In 2015, I earned my diploma from Blanche Macdonald’s Nail Technology Program. After that, I got certified with YUMI Lashes and opened Sunday Beauty Boutique in 2017. These days, I'm focused on providing a 'no rush' experience to a select clientele, teaching as a nail instructor at Blanche Macdonald, as well as providing resources on beauty related topics to clients and estheticians on my blog.

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