Sometimes a simple polish change can put you in a whole new frame of mind. And when you need one, you need one.

Painting your nails at home is a lot easier and a lot less expensive than heading to the nail salon. But when you spill a bottle of polish (and we've all done it before) that half-hour of "me time" can turn into an "oh crap" moment in about two seconds flat.

If you have hardwood floors, it's not so bad. A quick wipe and a little bit of water and you're good to go. But if you have rugs, it's a whole different story.

So how do you get nail polish off your rugs? Can it even be done?

The answer is yes.

Here's everything you need to know about how to get nail polish out of the carpet.

How Fresh is the Stain?

There are a few different ways to get nail polish out of carpet, and it all depends on how long it's been there. It's always easier to clean a fresh spill rather than one that's been sitting for a while. Try to catch it as quickly as you can.

Before we give you the play by play, let's talk about what NOT to do.

Whatever you do, DO NOT scrub at a fresh spill! 

You will only spread it wider, push it deeper into the carpet fibers, and make it worse.

Scoop Up a Fresh Spill

Whether you spill a drop or toss an entire bottle of burgundy polish all over your white rugs, don't hesitate to clean it just because you've got one freshly painted hand. There's a good chance your manicure will get ruined during the clean-up.

But that's a whole lot better than living with a dark wine stain in the middle of your ivory rug.

Try to catch the spill immediately. If it's a big spill, scoop up the excess with a spoon. If it's a small spill, blot it gently with a clean, dry cloth.

Blot, Blot, and Blot Some More

A person blotting a nail polish stain out of carpet

Once the excess is gone, you'll need to tackle what's already started seeping into your carpet. Depending on the type of carpeting you have, this can happen FAST, so you'll need to act quickly. It is amazing how fast carpet fibers can suck up nail polish.  

To get the job done, you'll need a cleaning solution and a clean, dry cloth. Whatever cleaning solution you choose, it's essential to test a little area of the carpet in an inconspicuous spot. Some solutions can lighten the carpet, making it look dull, or bleach the color out completely. Always test a patch first.

As for cleaners, we suggest starting with a non-acetone nail polish remover. Make sure you test it on the carpet first to make sure it's safe to use.

If you can't use nail polish remover, you can try rubbing alcohol, hair spray, Windex, or hydrogen peroxide. All are effective, but it depends upon the type of rug you have.

Once you find a cleaner that's safe to use on your rug, put some on a clean cloth and blot at the stain. Continue blotting with unused portions of the cloth until you don't see any more color on the cloth or the carpet. 

Resist the temptation to scrub! Scrubbing will make the stain even worse.

Wash and Dry

When you've blotted up as much color as you possibly can, get some soap and warm water. Because now you have to get the cleaning chemicals out. Using dish detergent or liquid soap, pour some on a clean cloth and go at the stain with all your might.

With the color gone from the cleaner, it will be safe to scrub with soap and water, so put a little elbow grease into it!

When you're done scrubbing, rinse out the soap with plain, warm water and let it dry. If you have a fan, aim it directly onto the spot to dry it as quickly as possible. If you don't have a fan, put a few clean cloths or paper towels on top of the wet spot and place something heavy on top. This helps it dry faster.

If you've done the job right, when you lift the cloths, your carpet should look as good as new!

How to Remove Dried Nail Polish From Your Carpet

A person cleaning dried nail polish off their carpet.

If you're not paying attention (or had a few too many glasses of rosé before you started painting your nails), it's possible that you might not even notice a small spill until it's all dried up. 

If you see a dried nail polish spill on your carpet, don't panic. There's a way to get that out too. 

Start by scraping or picking off the dried polish with a knife, a razor, or one of your freshly manicured fingernails. (Oh, the irony!) 

Get as much off as you can before you get it wet, then use a vacuum to pull up the remainder of any dried flakes or particles. 

From this point on, the method is the same as for getting out the wet polish. Test a section of your carpet with a cleaning solution, blot the stain with the cleaner, scrub with soap and water, and let it dry.

What's the Easiest Way to Get Nail Polish Out of a Carpet?

Getting polish out of carpet is possible, but it takes a little bit of time and a lot of patience. To save your rugs from polish spills and stains: 

  • For wet polish, scoop it with a spoon
  • For dried polish, scrape it off with a knife
  • Find a cleaning solution that's safe for use on your rugs and blot at the stain with a clean cloth
  • Keep blotting until you can't pick up any more color
  • Wash the area with soap and water
  • Rinse with warm water
  • Let it dry

Remember, don't scrub at the polish! You'll only make the stain worse.

Our suggestion? The next time you do your nails, sit at your kitchen or dining table. Even if you spill the whole bottle, it only takes a few seconds to wipe the polish off a tile floor.

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Nov 15, 2019

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