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QUICK! How To Get Nail Polish Out Of Carpet

Last Updated on March 26, 2021
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written by nail expert Jess Rowley

Topics we've covered

Blot, Blot, and Blot Some More

Painting your nails at home can be relaxing and much more affordable than your local nail salon. During a beauty crisis, we all resort to either painting our nails or having the impulse to change our hair.

We’ve all had that ‘oh-crap’ moment when we’ve realized we just clipped the nail polish right on your new rug or flooring and want no-one to find out.

If you have hardwood floors, it’s not too bad, a quick wipe and it’s all good but imagine the scene of a bright red nail polish spilling on your favorite carpet.

But can you even get nail polish out of rugs?

Yes, and you’re at the right place to find out how.

Firstly don’t panic, I’m here to help! With my help, we will restore your favorite rug or carpet to its former glory in no time with this guide to how to get nail polish out of carpet fast and easy.

Carpet cleaner for nail polishes

How Fresh is the Nail Polish Stain?

The first thing you want to do is check how fresh is the nail polish stain if it’s just happened then try and act quickly, the longer you wait the harder it is to get out. If you notice that the polish is wet, blot the excess spill with a paper towel until you can’t get anymore off.

Do NOT rub, scrub, or wipe at the polish, it can spread and actually make the nail polish stain worse and penetrate deeper into the carpet. If the polish is dry scrape as much off as you can with a blunt knife.

Try and catch the spill immediately, scooping up any excess nail polish with a spoon, if it’s a small spill blot it gently. Top tip: make sure you are using a clean cloth.

What is the fastest way to get nail polish out of carpet?

Once you’ve sorted the excess, you’ll need to tackle the polish that’s begun seeping into your carpet. With some nail polish, this can happen fast so you need to act swiftly. It will shock you how quickly this can happen. I will show you the best methods of how to get nail polish out of carpet.

You’ll need some cleaning solution and dry cloth. Always make sure you test on a small bit of carpet before you do the big job of removing nail polish as some solutions can actually bleach the carpet and we don’t want that. 

Start with a non-acetone nail polish remover, test it on the carpet and then blot at the nail polish in order to wet the stain. Continue blotting with the unused portions of the cloth until you don’t see the nail polish color anymore. 

If you don’t have a non-acetone nail polish remover try using either rubbing alcohol, hairspray, hydrogen peroxide depending on the carpet. 

Remember to blot not scrub, it will just make nail polish stains worse. This process will even get the black or red polish out of the carpet.

Wash and Dry

After blotting up as much color as possible, use some soap and warm water to clean up all the chemicals. Pour a bit of dish soap on a clean cloth and tackle the floor as hard as possible.  

With the color gone you can freely scrub with soap so put some force into it, like it’s your worst enemy. 

Once you’ve finished scrubbing, rub it with warm water until the soap is out and either dry with a fan on the area or by putting some paper towels under a weight. 

If you’ve done everything right once dry the carpet should look like new!

Light vs dark carpet- should I use nail polish remover?

Now one thing you need to think about before you do anything is whether your carpet is either light or dark as you will need as it’s a slightly different method for each. 

For a light carpet, you may need some serious damage control, red polish on a creamy carpet, uh oh.

After blotting the excess fingernail polish up use a small amount of acetone-free nail polish but ensure that it is clear as colored ones can actually worsen the stain. 

Gently blot, it may take a while but trust the process and don’t panic scrub.

With dark carpets, avoid the polish remover process as it can actually bleach the rug, instead use rubbing alcohol (Isopropyl alcohol). 

After blotting the excess polish splash the area with Isopropyl alcohol and scrub with a brush in a circular motion, also wet the nail polish stain with water and repeat until the stain has completely gone. 

Hairspray is also brilliant for dark carpets but whatever you use please test strand it on a small patch first so you don’t damage your carpet beyond repair.

Can you remove nail polish with Hairspray?

Yes, you can but only use it on a dark carpet. Firstly generously apply the area with water then spray directly to the stain about 15 times and scrub with a toothbrush or small brush in a circular motion for two to three minutes. Repeat for a further three or four times until the nail polish stains have disappeared.

How does vinegar remove nail polish from the carpet?

Vinegar is another house-hold item that’s brilliant for getting even the toughest of nail polish out of carpet.

Apply thoroughly on the stain until wet, leave it for 10 minutes then blot the stain carefully with a handy paper towel, rubbing in a circular motion until the stain is out.

Then apply water and let the area dry.

But how do Clean Your Fingernail Polish Stain with Rubbing Alcohol?

Isopropyl alcohol isn’t just brilliant for disinfecting cuts, you can also use it for all sorts of home uses and it can tackle the stain on your carpet too. But how do you use it?

Step one:

Firstly fill the spray bottle with alcohol and spray the stain until the area is wet, bot the stain without rubbing then spray again. 

Step two:

Allow the alcohol to sit for a couple of minutes then gently rub the nail polish stain with a gentle brush like a toothbrush until the stain lifts. Repeat until the stain has disappeared.  

Step three:

Add dish soap and water on a sponge and rub vigorously until the stain has completely vanished. Blot the area with cold water and leave to dry.

What about Dried Nail Polish Spills?

When the nail polish has dried it can be much tougher to get out. It usually happens when your kid or a pet has knocked the bottle over and you find it a couple of hours later.


Not to panic though, I’ve got two solutions for you before you resort to professional cleaning or even chuck the carpet out in general. 

The first method :

Start by scraping up the dried nail polish stain from the carpet with a blunt knife to get the worst of the polish out, cleaning up the excess with a vacuum to stop recreating the mess.  

After that, remove the excess nail polish and spray the area down with hairspray or rubbing alcohol on dark carpets and baking soda if the stain is on a lighter carpet. 

Leave the mixture for a minute then scrub the area with a small brush like a toothbrush, pat with a paper towel and repeat till the stain has completely gone. 

Second method:

Similar to the first method, repeat the first step then instead of using rubbing alcohol or hairspray use a window cleaner, products like Windex, wet a sponge with the cleaner, and scrub the stain with the rough side of the and then rinse with water, pat dry, and repeat until the stain is gone. Window cleaner is a simple solution to try. Most of us have the odd bit of window cleaner sitting in a cupbaord.

Sometimes, if you want to remove nail polish from carpet, you’ll find that it can be tricky but, the best advice I can give is: trust the process. And if worst comes to worst call your best carpet cleaner.

Can carpet cleaners get nail polish out?

The best way to clean nail polish out of carpet is by using a carpet cleaning machine. Using the carpet cleaning solution and heat over the stained area will help get rid of the majority of tough stains.

Removing nail polish doesn’t have to be hard. Hopefully, armed with my list of tips, your little mishap will be fixed, and eventually, after a small amount of effort, the stain is gone.


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