Cleaning Guides

5 Ways to Get Nail Polish Out of Carpet

A lot of carpet stains can be cleaned relatively quickly and easily, however, nail polish is definitely not one of them. This product is made to stick and dry quickly.

So, if you:

  • Have a teen girl who’s just getting into cosmetics.
  • You yourself got distracted whilst painting your nails and spilt some of the polish on the carpeting.
  • Tried some fingernail polish remover, but got mixed results.

Then, read along. This post will shed more light on how to get nail polish out of the carpet.

Can you use acetone on a carpet?

You probably have heard of acetone before, but what is it? Acetone is a solvent, which breaks down or dissolves varnish, paint, and, you guessed it, nail polish. That’s why it’s a common ingredient in varnish, paint and nail polish removers. You also need neoprene or nitrile gloves when handling it, because it dissolves latex.

How acetone works is quite simple. Nail polish is made mostly of resins, modifiers and colourants, all dissolved in solvents. After applying the product, all the solvents evaporate, and only the resin coating remains on the surface, giving your nails the desired colour. Acetone attacks and dissolves the resins, thus efficiently removing the polish.

Using acetone for removing nail polish from carpets is tricky. If you use too much or leave it for too long, it will penetrate the backing of the carpet, making it buckle and come unglued. It also has bleaching capabilities, which can ruin the carpet.

Therefore, it is best to use acetone on a white or light-coloured carpet that’s stained with nail polish. Soak a clean rag in nail polish remover and gently dab the stain until it comes off. Be very careful not to soak the carpet with acetone. If you have a colourful carpet, consider using an acetone-free polish remover.

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Essential steps before trying to remove the nail polish

Before you read about the different ways to get nail polish out of the carpet, you need to first take the precautionary steps.

  • Check your carpet label – Nail polish removers can ruin synthetic fibres, whereas water can damage wool fibres. By seeing the label, you will learn what kind of cleaning will and will not work for your carpet.
  • Consider the colour of the carpet – white and light-coloured fabrics may become yellowish from products such as ginger ale and dyed soaps. In that case, you need clear non-acetone nail polish remover. On the other hand, dark-coloured carpets require alcohol-based products, as nail polish removers or ammonia-based products can bleach them.
  • Is the stain fresh or old – fresh stains need to be blotted right away, whereas old ones need to be scraped off before you apply the cleaning agent.

Not sure you can tackle this on your own?

Book professional carpet cleaning today!

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How to remove the fingernail polish from the carpet

Removing nail polish from the carpet is not a straightforward process and you must use the appropriate method according to your situation. As mentioned already, you may have a fresh stain or an old stain, but you must also take into consideration the colour of the fabric. With all that in mind, read on and find out the best way to get nail polish out of your own carpet.

Get nail polish out of the carpet with hairspray

The hairspray cleaning method will prove useful when you have a fresh nail polish stain on your carpet. This is what you should do:

  • Scrape off as much nail polish material as you can.
  • Find a hairspray with high alcohol content.
  • Wet the stain with some cold water.
  • Spray hairspray on the stain. About 10 to 15 pumps are enough.
  • Add a little bit of rubbing alcohol to the hairspray to enhance it.
  • Gently scrub the stain with a soft-bristled brush. Scrub until you no longer see the stain.
  • Flush with cold water to remove excess hairspray from the spot.
  • Let the spot dry on its own.

Do not use a non-alcohol hairspray as an alternative. It will only make the stain sticky and won’t clean anything.

Get the polish off the carpet with sugar/salt

Sugar or salt works best for fresh nail polish stains because of their absorbing capabilities. So, how do you use them?

  • Sprinkle sugar or salt on the stain and make sure to fully cover it.
  • Wait several minutes for the substances to absorb the stain.
  • Scoop up the substance.
  • Dip a white cloth in some acetone.
  • Gently rotate the cloth on the spill.
  • Repeat if necessary

When you’re done, vacuum to remove any tiny grains of sugar or salt. Otherwise, you may end up attracting ants.

ъYou already know that acetone has bleaching capabilities, so if your carpet is dark, use rubbing alcohol as an alternative. Always spot-test first.

Remove the nail polish with baking soda

  • Sprinkle enough baking soda on the area to cover the stain thoroughly.
  • Pour ginger ale on top of the area.
  • Let it soak for about 10-15 minutes.
  • Scrub the spot gently with a toothbrush. About a minute or two should be enough.
  • Dip a cloth in cold soapy water.
  • Scrub the stain with the cloth.
  • Rinse the area with water or a wet cloth.

Baking soda by itself is usually not enough unless you want to de-smell the stained area. So, in this case, you can combine it with ginger ale.

Ginger ale can stain a white or light rug, so if that’s the one you have, consider swapping the ginger ale with club soda.

Get nail polish out of fabric with vinegar

If your carpet has several dark colours, go with white vinegar.

  • Soak the nail polish stain in generous amounts of white vinegar.
  • Lay a vinegar-soaked rag on the stain.
  • Let the stain sit soaked for about 10 minutes.
  • Blot the stain with the cloth.
  • Scrub the stain with a clean damp rag.
  • Repeat if necessary.
  • Let the spot dry completely.

White vinegar has a rather unpleasant smell, so what you can do is mix a drop of dish soap with warm water and dab the spot after you’re done with the vinegar. Afterwards, rinse with clean water and leave to dry.

Try commercial cleaners

If you have an old polish stain, then chances are natural methods won’t work too well. In that case, and if you don’t mind the method not being eco-friendly, you can try some commercial products. Each manufacturer has their set of instructions, but generally, the process will look something like this:

  • Spray the stain.
  • Leave the product to work on dissolving the stain for several minutes.
  • Wipe the released dirt with an absorbent cloth.
  • Rub the surface until it’s dry
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Still seeing traces of nail polish on the carpet?

It is quite possible that you will not get rid of the nail polish stain on your own. Unless tackled right after falling on your carpet, nail polish will seep further into the carpet fibres and become even harder to remove. Old nail polish stains are nearly impossible to get rid of with DIY carpet cleaning means.

If that’s the case, consider hiring professional carpet and rug cleaning. Fantastic Services works with certified and fully-insured local carpet cleaners. They will clean your carpet in depth via hot water extraction and provide it with antiviral sanitisation. Not only will both new and old stains vanish, but any lingering bad odours will disappear as well.

By booking Fantastic Services you get to use our convenient booking slots and weekend availability, plus special prices if you become a Fantastic Club member.

Don’t waste your hairspray on a nail polish stain.

Book your carpet cleaning services today!

Add a valid postcode e.g. SE1 2TH

Image source: Maria Dryfhout /

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