How to Get Nail Polish Out of Fabric

Red wine, blood, chocolate and nail polish – all of these are liquids that can stain fabrics! With all of these stains, you might be tempted to simply throw away the clothing or replace the upholstery on a chair. Fortunately, there are several tried and true methods for getting nail polish out of fabrics.

How to Get Nail Polish out of Fabric

Warning: Before using any of these home remedies, be sure to read the label that lists the contents of the fabric. If the label says that the fabric contains triacetate, acetate or modacrylic, take the material to a professional dry-cleaner. Note that nail polish remover will dissolve these kinds of fabrics. If the nail polish is on carpet, try these remedies on a scrap piece of the carpet or on an area of the carpet that will not be visible before you use it in the middle of the room.

1. Use Acetone

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From Clothing

Heed the warning above for any fabric made from acetate or triacetate! This remedy works well for cotton, silk, denim, and linen, but if you have any doubt about the fabric, test in an area of the garment that will not be visible.

  • Remove the article of clothing.
  • Put the stained area next to several paper towels making sure the stain is in contact with the paper towels.
  • Saturate a small area of a paper towel with acetone (available in drugstores in the nail polish remover section).
  • Blot the back of the nail polish stain with the acetone-soaked paper towel.
  • Rinse and look at the stained area; if the stain is not completely gone, repeat the application of the acetone.
  • Repeat the above steps until the stain is gone.
  • After the stain is gone, be sure to wash the garment in your usual detergent.

From Upholstery

First of all, dab the wet nail polish to remove as much as possible BEFORE the nail polish has a chance to dry. Again, if you do not know what the fabric is made of, try some of the acetone on a hidden area before using it.

  • Dab acetone on to a paper towel or clean white cloth for precise application; avoid getting any acetone on the surrounding fabric.
  • Using the paper towel or clean white cloth, blot the stained area.
  • Reapply the acetone and blot again until the stain is gone.
  • Be sure to rinse the area with clean, warm water to remove any acetone from the fabric.

2. Try Hydrogen Peroxide

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Particularly if you are working with a fabric that might be destroyed by nail polish remover, you might try hydrogen peroxide to remove nail polish. Since hydrogen peroxide may bleach color out of the fabric, be sure to test this solution on a part of the fabric that will not be visible.

  • Using a paper towel or clean white cloth, dab the hydrogen peroxide onto the towel/ cloth.
  • Use a clean area of the cloth to blot the stain.
  • Repeat these steps until the stain is gone.
  • Again, do not forget to rinse the area with clean, warm water to remove the hydrogen peroxide.
  • If possible, wash the garment before wearing it again.

3. Use Rubbing Alcohol

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Everyone has rubbing alcohol in the medicine chest. This is a cheap home remedy for removing nail polish from clothing.

  • Take the garment off and lay the stain face down on a pile of paper towels.
  • Soak a Q-tip in rubbing alcohol and begin applying the alcohol to the stain.
  • You will notice that some of the color comes off onto the Q-tip; change the cotton tipped applicator for a clean one as needed.
  • Keep repeating the process until the stain is gone.
  • Wash the garment before wearing it again.

4. Try Bug Spray

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Believe it or not, you can use bug spray to remove nail polish from a garment! Again, test on an invisible area of the fabric before using this method.

  • Remove the garment.
  • Spray bug spray onto the stain until it is wet.
  • Using an old toothbrush, gently scrub the wet stain.
  • Keep repeating the process until the stain is gone.
  • Be sure to wash the garment before you wear it again.

Tips: If you are at all in doubt about using these home remedies (particularly on something that is very expensive), do NOT use them. Get professional help to remove the stain. These home remedies are not mutually exclusive; try one and if it does not work, try one of the others. As a last resort, you can always take the garment to the dry cleaner.

There are a couple of quick videos that describe alternative remedies for removing nail polish from garments and upholstery. Techniques using baking soda, hair spray, window cleaner, and non-acetone nail polish remover are all described.

How to Get Nail Polish out of Wood and Hair

1. From Wood

If you get nail polish on wood, be aware that acetone will destroy the finish of the wood. Instead:

  • Spray the stain with hair spray.
  • Let it stay on the stain for about 30 seconds.
  • Using a clean cloth, wipe off the hair spray.
  • Repeat the process until the stain is gone.

2. From Hair

If the nail polish is still wet, you can usually simply wipe it off your hair using a clean cloth and non-acetone polish remover. If the polish has dried, use your normal hair conditioner into the nail polish stain. It will break up the polish and you can use your fingernails to pull the bits of polish out of your hair. Rinse that section of your hair after you are done.

 
 
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