How To Clean Spilled Nail Polish from Any Surface

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Spilled your nail polish? These steps clean fresh or dry nail polish spills on any surface from floors to furniture and fabrics.

Overhead view of spilled nail polish that needs to be cleaned off floor

Just about everyone who enjoys a home manicure has wondered how to clean spilled nail polish off the carpet, wood, furniture, clothing, or tile. When it comes to cleaning fresh nail polish spills, you’ll treat all of them the same way. From there, the best method to remove the polish depends on the surface you’re cleaning.

The Best Way to Clean Freshly Spilled Nail Polish

The easiest way to clean up freshly-spilled nail polish is by liberally sprinkling it with sugar or table salt. The crystals in either will absorb the wet polish, making it so much easier to clean! Just shake it all over the area, wait a few minutes, then scoop it up. Don’t use your vacuum cleaner, though — the polish-sugar mixture may clog your machine.

How to Remove Nail Polish On Clothing or Upholstery

To quickly remove dry nail polish from fabric hold an ice cube on it for a minute to make the polish brittle then pry it up with a spoon. Shake or vacuum the fabric to remove any flakes before using the methods below to remove the nail polish stain.

Natural Fabrics

To remove spilled nail polish on natural fabrics like cotton, linen, or wool, use paper towels and acetone-based nail polish remover. Choose a clear remover that does not contain moisturizers since they could further stain the fabric. Be sure to spot test your fabric in an inconspicuous place for colorfastness.

Once you know it’s colorfast, place a thick layer of paper towels beneath the stain and dab it with polish remover on a clean paper towel. Rotate the towel so you’re always working with a clean spot. Finish by rinsing the spot with warm, soapy water. For clothing, lauder it immediately.

Synthetic Fabrics

To remove spilled nail polish on synthetic fabrics, dab it with rubbing alcohol and a clean, white cloth. Do not use acetone nail polish remover on synthetic materials since it will melt acetate and destroy the dye on polyester or other fabrics. Dry cleaners can also get out stubborn stains using solvents that won’t harm the fabric.

How to Get Nail Polish off of Floors

To get dry nail polish off of wood, laminate, vinyl, and linoleum flooring, wipe it with rubbing alcohol. Once the mess is gone, clean the area with soapy water to remove any residue and wipe it dry.

For nail polish spilled on ceramic, porcelain, or cement floors, use a clean, lint-free cloth and clear acetone-based nail polish. Rotate the cloth so you’re always working with a clean spot and not transferring the polish back onto your floor. Clean the area with soap and water when you’re done.

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If you find nail polish on grout, spot test the stain with clear acetone-based nail polish remover for colorfastness. As long as there is no color change, you can use a paper towel dampened with polish remover to lift the stain. After you’re done, wipe the area with a clean, soapy cloth to remove any residue. If acetone affects the grout’s color, use rubbing alcohol instead. With either method, you may need to reseal the grout after cleaning.

How to Get Nail Polish Out of Carpet

Never rub spilled nail polish to remove it from carpeting or you’ll drive the stain deeper into the carpet fibers. Instead, use the sugar or salt method to absorb any freshly spilled nail polish.

To get old nail polish spills from white or light-colored carpeting, dab with non-acetone polish remover on a white rag. Rotate the cloth while you work so you’re always using a clean spot. Once the stain is gone, wash the area with a damp, soapy cloth or shampoo your carpet.

To get nail polish stains out of dark carpeting, use glass cleaner spray and a clean white cloth. Rotate the cloth as you work to avoid transferring the color back onto your carpet. For stubborn stains, repeat the process using rubbing alcohol then shampoo your carpet to remove the odor.

How to Get Nail Polish off of Walls

To get nail polish off of painted surfaces like doors and walls, use a microfiber cloth or melamine sponge dampened with rubbing alcohol. Clean the area with small, circular motions. Avoid pressing too hard or you may damage the paint. Once the stain is gone, wipe the spot with a clean, damp cloth and let it air dry.

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  1. Bernadette Sharp says:

    Thanks for this post! It was quite helpful for me. My girl spilled some nail polish on the kitchen floor (it’s laminate) and your tips worked great for me in this case. I cleaned the polish very fast and there are no signs left.Thank you for sharing!

    1. Katie Berry says:

      You’re welcome!

  2. Jim Koster says:

    Here is a simple trick that worked for me. I once removed nail polish stains from a wooden furniture using aftershave lotion.
    It contains lots of alcohol like hair spray and works the same way. I guess it should work on clothings too, never tried though.

  3. Katie Coleman says:

    Realize this is an old thread but I broke an entire bottle of red nail polish on a marble tile floor with white grout last night. What finally got it ALL out was alternating pure acetone and then Clorox Clean Up spray. Neither worked well alone but alternating it came up completely. I just let it sit- no scrubbing or anything. I did the acetone a few times, then the bleach, then repeat. lt looks like nothing happened.

  4. I spilled it on my white nike hurache. I used non acetone nail polish remover. I’ll go buy nail polish remover with acentone

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