How To Get Nail Polish Out Of Carpet [5 Different Ways]

This article may contain affiliate links. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links. Privacy Policy.

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 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.

How to get nail polish out of carpet infographic

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 red 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

Woman getting nail polish out of carpet with a pink glove on

Once the excess nail polish 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, hairspray, Windex, or hydrogen peroxide. All are effective stain removal options, 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!

For Light Carpets

Red nail polish spilled on white carpet

Spilled your favorite bottle of Moroccan sunset nail polish on your white carpet? Yikes. Here’s how to approach damage control.

After blotting to get the excess polish up, put a small amount of non-acetone nail polish remover on a cloth. Be sure it’s the clear kind. The colored variety could actually stain your carpet more!

Now gently blot the stain until it’s gone. Hang in there. It could take you a little while.

For Darker Carpets

If your carpet is dark, skip the nail polish remover as it could affect the color of your rug. Instead, you can use rubbing alcohol.

After blotting the excess polish, splash the area with rubbing alcohol.  Now use a small scrub brush in a circular motion while pouring water on the affected area. Repeat until the stain is gone.

On dark carpets, it’s also usually safe to use hairspray to get the stain out. See the method below. Just remember to do a test patch first to make sure the color of your rug isn’t affected.

Removing Nail Polish With Hairspray

As it turns out, hairspray is good for a lot more than keeping rebellious locks in place.

To get nail polish out of your carpet with hairspray, first wet the stain with a generous amount of water. Then squirt hairspray on the area about 15 times.

Now you can use a toothbrush to scrub the area for a couple of minutes. Repeat the process as necessary until all evidence of your beauty accident disappears.

Removing Nail Polish With Vinegar

White vinegar is another go-to household item that’s great for getting out nail polish.

Make sure you apply enough to thoroughly wet the stain. Now, wait for ten minutes. When time’s up, blot the stain carefully with a paper towel. Then rub in a circular motion until the stain is out.

Follow up with water and then let the area dry.

Removing Nail Polish With Baking Soda and Ginger Ale

It seems there are tons of uses for baking soda, and getting nail polish out of your carpet is one of them! For this DIY method, first, pour baking soda on the stain and then wet it with the ginger ale. Then let it sit for 10 minutes to loosen the stain.

Now just scrub the carpet stain in a circular motion. Follow up by rinsing the area with water. Then let it dry.

Removing Nail Polish With Window Cleaner

Window cleaner is yet another household staple that can be used in a nail polish emergency. Again, first plot the spill to get up as much polish as you can.

Now spray the window cleaner on a sponge or cloth and lightly scrub the stained area in a circular motion. Afterward, rinse the area with water and let it dry.

How to Remove Dried Nail Polish From Your Carpet

Pink gloved hand scrubbing pink nail polish out of carpet

If you’re not paying attention (or had a few too many glasses of red wine 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 butter knife, a razor, or one of your freshly manicured fingernails. (Oh, the irony!)

Removing dried nail polish from carpet can be challenging, but with the right tools and techniques, it’s definitely possible! Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you out.

Step 1: Soften the Stain

Start by using an ice cube wrapped in a cloth to slowly soften up any dried nail polish residue. Place the ice cube on top of the stain for about 10 minutes, then remove it and see if the stain has softened or broken up. If not, repeat the process until it does.

Step 2: Blot with Warm Water

Once you’ve softened up the stain, grab a bathroom towel and soak it in warm water. Then use this towel to blot away at the stain – make sure not to rub or scrub as this could cause further damage to your carpet fibers!

Step 3: Use Nail Polish Remover

If there is still residual staining after dabbing with warm water then you may need to apply some nail polish remover to the area (make sure it is suitable for carpets). Put some remover on a clean cloth and gently dab at the stain working your way from the outside inwards. Again – do not over saturate!

Step 4: Rinse off Residue and Vacuum Dry

Finally, rinse away any residue that remains with cool water and then use a dry cloth to blot away any excess moisture before finally vacuuming away any pieces of lint that may have been left behind.

And there you have it – with these simple steps you should now be able to easily remove any pesky dried nail polish stains from your carpets!

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 don’t forget to follow these cleaning tips:

  • For wet polish, scoop it with a spoon
  • Try cleaning with hairspray, vinegar, baking soda and ginger ale
  • 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

A Few Fingernail Polish FAQs

Does Dish Soap Remove Nail Polish from Carpet?

In most cases, dish soap should not be used to remove nail polish stains from the carpet as it could end up causing more damage than good.

Can You Use Carpet Cleaner to Remove Nail Polish?

Yes, it is possible to use a carpet cleaning solution to remove nail polish from carpets. To get the best results, you should begin by using an ice cube wrapped in a cloth to soften any dried-up residue. Place the ice cube on top of the stain for about 10 minutes, then remove it and see if the stain has softened or broken up. If not, repeat the process until it does.

Should You Use Warm or Cold Water to Clean Up a Nail Polish Stain?

When it comes to cleaning up a nail polish stain, the best way is to use warm water. Cold water will not be as effective at breaking down the nail polish residue, and hot water may cause further damage to your fabrics.

Remember, don’t ever 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 end up with spilled nail polish, it only takes a few seconds to wipe the polish off a tile floor. This will also help ensure you have a clean carpet!

Related: Nail Stickers: The New At-Home Manicure

Jessica Heston

view post

More from Home category