by Amy Gordon
(last updated May 25, 2020)
Nail polish can easily get on dresses, skirts, pants, and shirts. You can remove nail polish fairly easily, although it will require a bit of effort. Nail polish occasionally gets onto carpeting, especially while toenails are being painted. Here are a few tips to get nail polish out of clothes and carpets.
An obvious solution to get nail polish out of your clothes is to use nail polish remover. Make sure to use a nail polish remover that is non-acetone based, since acetone will cause the colors in your clothes to fade. Don't forget to check the polish remover on an inconspicuous spot on the garment to be sure it doesn't cause color change. Once you've determined that nail polish remover is safe to use, place paper towels under the affected area. Instead of putting the nail polish remover directly onto the fabric, dab it onto the fabric using cotton balls, paper towel, or a clean cloth. The nail polish should come right out. If the shirt is white and not made of rayon or acetate, you can use pure acetone for faster results.
If you don't have nail polish remover on hand, you could dab with hydrogen peroxide in the same way you would with the nail polish remover. If these chemicals don't work, you can try spraying the area with hairspray and water and dabbing or tamping the stain to get rid of nail polish. To tamp the stain, hit the stain with the edge of a spoon.
To get nail polish out of carpet, first try dabbing at the stain with nail polish remover on a cotton ball, paper towel, or clean rag. If the nail polish remover has acetone in it, first test the remover on a carpet sample or an inconspicuous corner of the carpet to be certain that you won't end up having to re-dye or replace the entire carpet.
On a light colored or colorfast carpet, you could also try spraying water on an old nail polish stain, then dabbing it with hydrogen peroxide. (Test hydrogen peroxide on a carpet sample or corner before using it on your carpet).
Another combination that may work is to first spray water on the nail polish mark and blot, and then spray hair spray on the top of the stain until it is saturated. Next, scrub the stain with a toothbrush. If the stain is still there, try dabbing it with rubbing alcohol.
Sometimes the first method you try doesn't work. Persistence counts in getting out nail polish - keep trying! There are also carpet cleaners available that can help to remove nail polish.
Warning: Don't use bleach on nail polish stains on carpet. There are usually other ways to get the nail polish out, and bleach will take all the color out of your clothes or carpet. While many clothes are now colorfast and thus safe to use bleach on, carpets often are not.
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