how to remove nail polish from carpet

6 Easy, Effective Ways To Remove Nail Polish From Your Carpet

By Maria Hernandez / January 15, 2021 / 1 Comments

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    Unfortunately, it’s all too easy to tip over a nail polish bottle. Imagine it has just happened to you, and now you can see a striking red stain on your favorite bedroom carpet. If you’ve just made a mess and don’t know how to remove nail polish from your carpet, I’m here to save the day!

    Before I start with the six methods and products, I want to detail the differences between old and new nail polish stains and how to properly treat dark versus light carpets. Each of these variants should be treated differently, especially if you want to preserve your carpet for as long as possible.

    There’s one tip that I’ll mention over and over again throughout this guide: The secret to successfully cleaning a nail polish stain is to be as fast as possible. So, let’s find out how you can do it at home, with products you probably have in your pantry that don’t cost a fortune.

    Dry Or Wet Nail Polish

    The first rule on how to get nail polish off the carpet is to act fast! The faster you roll your sleeves and tackle the stain, the more successful your cleaning job will be. Old stains are so hard to remove.


    Let’s start with the fact that you can clean both dry and wet stains off the carpet, but the dry ones can take more time. The secret regarding older nail polish stains is to scrape them first. For this, you’ll need a knife or any other similar sharp tool.

    Start scraping the dry nail polish, but do so gently in order not to damage the carpet fibers. Go over the area with your vacuum cleaner, then treat it just how you would treat a wet stain.

    When it comes to wet stains, the most important thing is to blot them right away. Grab a paper towel and start gently dabbing on the area without using too much pressure. You should never scrub it because you will spread it and push it down into the fibers of the carpet.

    When you’ve spilled almost an entire bottle of nail polish, now is not the time to panic! Get a spoon, remove the excess, then blot with paper towels or a clean cloth. Now, I’ll get into more detail about my favorite ways of removing stains caused by nail polish.

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    Dark Or Light Carpet

    Getting nail polish on a gorgeous cream carpet hurts on a different level!

    It’s not quite the same messing up a light carpet and a dark one. Put plainly, dark and patterned carpets can get away with more staining. Ensuring light carpets remain clean can end up being a lot of work and a lot more nerve-wracking.

    You need to know what kind of cleaning product you can use on light colors and which cleaning products are best for dark shades. If yours is a dark carpet, sometimes you won’t even notice the stain, and you’ll spend just a few minutes dealing with the spill.

    But if you can plainly see the stain, it’s best if you stay away from nail polish removers. Acetone-based nail polish removers can cause bleaching; that’s why they are not an option for dark carpets.

    I also avoid non-acetone nail polish removers for darker tones, just to be on the safe side. Instead, you can reach for rubbing alcohol to do the job.

    Although light carpets look much scarier when you stain them with nail polish, you can feel free to use non-acetone, dye-free nail polish remover on them. This is the first lesson to keep in mind.

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    6 Ways To Get Nail Polish Out Of Carpet

    Now, what you’ve all been reading for!. These six efficient methods rely on household items that most of us own and use in everyday life. You’ll be surprised to see how easy it is to remove one of these stains, even if it’s from the most durable, vibrant red nail polish.

    Don’t worry, your carpet is in safe hands. Take a deep breath, remember not to panic, and start blotting!

    1. Baking Soda And Ginger Ale

    Baking soda is not just great for cleaning and deodorizing your entire carpet; it can also be beneficial in resolving nail polish accidents. It’s time to take out this staple household product from the cabinet and put it into action.

    1. Grab the baking soda and sprinkle it over the stain. Cover the entire section of the carpet with stain thoroughly.
    2. Add ginger ale on top of the baking soda and wait for 10 to 15 minutes.
    3. When the time is up, scrub the area using gentle circular movements until the stain is gone. Don’t use too much force because you can quickly spread the stain.
    4. If you see that the stain still persists, repeat this process.
    5. When the carpet is clean, rinse it with water or a mixture of water and detergent as the final step before letting it dry.

    2. Dish Soap

    Dish soap is your best friend when it comes to cleaning around the house. It’s not only great for washing your dishes, but it can be convenient if you have an emergency stain situation from spilled nail polish.


    One of my favorite nail polish stain removers is a solution that I like to make at home. So far, it’s been one of the most efficient cleaners that is not full of chemicals and takes only minutes to mix together. You’ll need:

    • one tablespoon of liquid dish soap
    • two cups of warm water
    • one tablespoon of white vinegar

    All you need to do is mix these three ingredients together and put them in a spray bottle. Now you’re ready to tackle those stains.

    1. Spray the cleaning solution all over the stain, making it damp.
    2. Use a clean cloth or a paper towel to dab over the stain and absorb the nail polish. When the cloth becomes colored from the nail polish, get a clean one.
    3. When you can’t see any more color coming off, spray the area with just water and blot again with a clean cloth or paper towel. There should be no color lifting from the carpet; that’s how you’ll know the stain is gone.
    4. Let the carpet air dry, use a fan, or place paper towels over it, topped with a heavy object to create pressure.

    A mixture of dish soap and warm water is amazing as a finishing step after you’ve tried any of the other solutions that I’ve mentioned above. For example, if vinegar was your cleaner of choice after removing the stain, clean the area with dish soap and water solution afterward. It’s a great finishing touch that not only eliminates any stain residues but also eliminates the vinegar smell and delivers a pleasant scent.

    3. Hairspray

    Hairspray is one of the most surprising ways to get nail polish out of your carpet. Aside from using it on your hair, it can be very efficient if you need to deal with an emergency stain from your spilled nail polish.

    However, not all hairsprays will do the job. The most effective ones contain alcohol in their ingredient list. If the one you have at home does, feel free to use it. Alcohol-free sprays won’t really make a difference.

    1. Start by dampening the stain with water. Next, add hairspray, making sure that you’ve covered the stain and that it’s wet.
    2. Blot with a wet paper towel or a cloth to remove the excess nail polish and extra water.
    3. Use a small brush to go over the stain and blot again with the cloth. Don’t brush aggressively and all over the carpet; instead, focus only on the area with the stain. Use light circular movements.
    4. If the stain is gone, congratulations. Sometimes you’ll need to repeat the process again and apply more hairspray. This usually happens with more prominent stains, but remember to be patient.
    5. Finish off with a wet towel covering the area. Feel free to add a little detergent to clean everything thoroughly. Let the carpet dry, and voila, you’ve just fixed your own mess.

    4. Nail Polish Remover

    Nail polish remover is a natural choice when dealing with a nail polish stain on your carpet. The first thing to keep in mind in this situation is that you should opt for a non-acetone, dye-free polish remover.

    I recommend that you first test out the remover on the part of your carpet that is hidden under furniture or on one of the corners. That way, you’ll be sure that it’s not damaging to the fabric and that it won’t cause discoloration.

    1. You will need both cotton balls and clean pieces of cloth for this method. Dampen the cotton balls with the remover and start gently dabbing on the stain. Don’t rub because doing so will spread the nail polish and make the stain bigger.
    2. Once the stain is wet from the non-acetone polish remover, start dabbing with the clean cloth. The goal of this method is to prevent damage to the carpet fibers. The cloth pieces will absorb the nail polish that was previously dissolved by the polish remover.
    3. Repeat these two steps until you altogether remove the stain. The whole process might take a while, but you’ll know that what you’re doing is safest for your carpet, with the lowest chances of destroying the fibers.
    4. Once you’ve removed the nail polish, you can go over that part of the carpet with water and detergent to remove the smell and thoroughly clean it. You can either let it air dry or set up a fan to speed the process.

    A friendly reminder, don’t thoroughly soak the carpet stain with nail polish remover; all you need to do is lightly blot and dampen it. When your cloth gets dirty, grab a new one.

    5. Vinegar

    There isn’t a person who doesn’t have white vinegar in their pantry; that’s what makes it the perfect nail polish remover. It’s easy to use, does the job, and is inexpensive. If you’re not sure how to get nail polish out of your carpet with vinegar, just follow this simple guide.

    1. The first step is to get the vinegar and apply it to the stain. Get in between the fibers as much as you can.
    2. Dampen a clean cloth, paper towel, or a sponge with vinegar, and put it on top of the carpet area covered with nail polish.
    3. Wait for 10 minutes, and remove the cloth, towel, or sponge. Start gently blotting over the stain with a clean cloth.
    4. Scrub the area gently to remove any remaining staining with a new clean cloth or paper towel, using circular movements.
    5. Finish off with water or a water-and-detergent mix to rinse the carpet before letting it dry.

    6. Rubbing Alcohol

    Most households likely have a bottle of rubbing alcohol lying somewhere around the house. This is another alternative that is useful for dark carpets, where you shouldn’t use nail polish remover.

    1. Apply rubbing alcohol on top of the stain using a cotton ball or a clean cloth.
    2. Use circular movements to scrub the spot gently. When the cotton ball picks up color, get a new one.
    3. When you see that the stain is gone, clean the area with water or a mixture of water with dish soap, then let it dry.

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    How Does Vinegar Clean Nail Polish Off Carpet?

    White vinegar is one of the best household products when it comes to cleaning nail polish carpet stains. The magic behind vinegar is that it is acidic and dissolves the nail polish. Some people even use it to remove the polish from their nails when they don’t have an acetone remover at home.

    How Does Vinegar Clean Nail Polish Off Carpet?

    This is not one of those harsh chemical cleaners that leaves a smell behind that could be potentially harmful to you or your family. It’s something that you use in your kitchen and everyday life. That’s why you can feel safe also using it on your carpet. It also doesn’t contain acetone, which can be a problem for some people.

    Does Nail Polish Remover Ruin Carpet?

    When properly used, nail polish remover will not destroy your carpet. Yes, it’s chemically-based, soy you should know exactly which type to use and for how long to leave it on your carpet.

    As I mentioned before, when you have to deal with a fingernail polish stain, opt for a dye-free, acetone-free nail polish remover. Dyes in polish removers can quickly leave a stain on the carpet, which is what you’re trying to get away from.

    Acetone is a chemical that can bleach your rugs and carpets. That’s why you should stay away from it when you have a nail polish spill. It doesn’t mean that it will bleach your carpet right away, but if you keep it on for a while, the chances are high that damage and discoloration will occur.

    Is There Any Other Way To Remove Nail Polish?

    Yes, of course, there are other ways to remove these stains from your carpet. There are numerous great carpet cleaners that can help you get rid of nail polish and many other household products that you can try. Above I stuck to the most natural alternatives, but here are three others that you might find helpful in times of need:

    Dry Cleaning Cleanser

    So far, I’ve tried removing these stains with dry cleaning cleansers meant for carpets. You can do the same, and the entire process is straightforward.

    To start, get the powdered cleanser and apply it to the stain with either a sponge, a small brush, or a toothbrush. Leave it on for 10 to 15 minutes. Add a little water to the area, and start rubbing it with the sponge or the brush.

    Blot the stain with a clean cloth and repeat the process if needed. This should leave your carpet clean and smelling nice. You can also go over the area with water to make sure you’ve completely removed the powdered cleanser, or use the vacuum cleaner.

    Window Cleaner

    Who would’ve thought that a window cleaner can actually remove nail polish from your carpet? Get that spray bottle that you usually use for your windows and apply it to the stain. Be sure it is a formula that is free of ammonia.

    Wait for 10 minutes while the cleaner works, then start rubbing the spot with a brush or a sponge. When you’re done, clean this part of the carpet with water or a mixture of water and dish soap. Let the carpet dry.

    Professional Carpet Cleaning

    If nothing seems to work, make sure to get in touch with professionals who will do their job and make your life much easier.

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    No matter which method you’ll opt for, it’s crucial that you act fast. The longer you wait to tackle the stain, the harder it will be to remove.

    Once the accident happens, keep a calm mind, and see which products you have at home in order to treat it. The household products and cleaners that I mentioned are great, and easy to use, so asking for professional help can remain your last resort.

    About Maria Hernandez

    Senior Floor Critic, 25 years of experience in residential and commercial cleaning

    Maria Hernandez has 25 years of experience in residential and commercial janitorial and cleaning services. From hardwood to carpet to marble floors, Maria has developed a deep expertise in cleaning and maintaining many different flooring types. Visit Website.

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