How Do I Remove Nail Polish from Carpet?

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  • Written By: Alex Tree
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 29 August 2019
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Fingernail polish stains are tough to remove, but nail polish remover, rubbing alcohol and a lot of clean sponges or paper towels will help you get the job done. If the polish has already dried, scrape away the excess with a spoon or butter knife before applying a remover. Remember to blot rather than rub at the stain to avoid rubbing it deeper into the carpet or spreading the stain.

To remove nail polish from carpet, use a fingernail polish remover on the stain. Apply a small amount of the substance with a throw-away sponge or paper towel. Do not pour nail polish remover onto the carpet because it might dissolve the carpet backing, leaving a bunch of loose carpet threads and a bald spot. Blot carefully until the sponge or towel is too dirty to pick up more. This works well if the stain is still wet, but dried nail polish stains are harder to remove.

Try using a regular carpet cleaning product to remove nail polish from carpet. Some cleaners are tough on blood, makeup and other tricky-to-remove substances. Read the back of the bottle for specific directions, but most carpet cleaners are sprayed on, then allowed to set. After a few minutes, the cleaner should be blotted with a sponge or cloth. Repeat the process until all of the polish is removed.


Dry nail polish can be gently scraped off the carpet. After the excess parts are scraped away, try a nail polish remover or carpet cleaner. Some people have also had luck with rubbing alcohol or products that are mostly alcohol, such as hair or finishing spray. The important part is testing the cleaner, then being persistent. It can take anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour to remove nail polish from carpet, depending on the size of the stain.

Always blot the stain gently instead of scrubbing it or wiping at it. Most carpet experts recommend blotting at any stain, because scrubbing can push the stain deeper or spread it to previously clean areas. The last thing you want to do is make the nail polish stain bigger, so stick to blotting, even if it picks up only a little bit of polish at a time.

No matter what you are using to remove nail polish from carpet, test the cleaner on a small spot first. Ideally, this spot is someplace that is rarely seen by visitors or yourself — such as inside a closet — because the cleaner might bleach the color of the carpet. After you are sure that the cleaner is safe to use on a larger, more visible spot, use on and blot the nail polish stain until it is gone or faded so much no one notices it.



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