How to Remove Nail Polish from Clothes

by Karen Bates
(last updated June 14, 2021)

It's a scary thought, but it could happen: you accidentally tip over a bottle of nail polish left on the table, and a drop of the nail polish spills onto your favorite shirt. The shirt is doomed, right? You might think it's time to throw it out since nothing gets nail polish out of fabric.

But don't toss that shirt in the trash yet! There is still hope for getting the nail polish out. There actually are ways you can try to remove the polish and any stain it leaves behind on the fabric.

Before you give up hope, try these ideas:

  • Wipe Away Excess Polish. If the spill is fresh, carefully wipe away the excess polish with a paper towel or old cloth. There will probably be a stain left behind on the fabric that you will now need to work on removing.
  • Use Nail Polish Remover. It might seem like an obvious idea, but you might not think to try nail polish remover on your clothing. While the remover can be a bit harsh on clothes, the fabric should be okay if you only use a little on the spot. If you are nervous about it, test the nail polish remover on an inconspicuous spot. To get the spot out, dab a paper towel or cotton ball with some polish remover onto the spot to lift it up. You might want to try a non-acetone remover since it could be less harsh. Don't use bleach.
  • Bug Spray or Hair Spray. It may be strange, but many people have found this to work. If the polish remover doesn't seem to work, use a tooth brush and some bug spray and hair spray to scrub out the stain.
  • Try a Special Cleaner. If nail polish remover or bug spray doesn't do the trick, you may want to try a cleaner made especially for this type of stain. You should be able to find these at your local store. Follow the directions carefully. You might also have luck with prewash sprays like Spray and Wash.
  • Rinse and Wash. Once you have removed the stain, rinse with water and then throw in the wash.

If one method doesn't seem to work, try different ones until the stain is gone. It is likely that at least one cleaning method will do the trick. If the stain absolutely won't come out, take the garment to a professional cleaner's.

Author Bio

Karen Bates

An English student who enjoys writing and art, Karen has had her poetry published in her university's literary journal and has several novels in the works. ...


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