How To Get Nail Polish Off The Carpet

Tom Gaffey
by Tom Gaffey

A manicure and pedicure is a great way to look fresh, sharp, and like you’re ready to take on the world. Nail maintenance, however, is expensive. This is why many opt to paint their own nails at home, even if the process is a bit less glamorous and much more tedious. In fact, painting your names at home can be altogether messy, and you might find yourself in a situation where you need to get nail polish out of your carpet.

When you spill nail polish on carpet try to clean it up immediately by dabbing the polish up with a clean paper towel. If the polish dries, you can remove the stain by following several steps. First, wet the area with cold water, then apply hair spray and then rubbing alcohol before scrubbing with a toothbrush. You can also try non-acetone nail polish remover or vinegar.

There are several tried and true methods to remove nail polish from carpet. But every method does not necessarily work in every situation. The type of carpet you have, the amount of time that has passed since the polish spilled and even the color of your carpet can factor into how you should work to remove it. Once you understand the pros and cons to each method, you should know the best way to remove the nail polish from your carpet.

Clean The Nail Polish Before It Dries

If you spill nail polish on your carpet, instead of panicking, you should grab a cloth immediately. It is really important you do your best to completely clean up a nail polish spill as soon as it occurs. In doing so, you will make the stain removal process much easier. You will not have to work through layers of paint, or deal with breaking it up and chipping it off. This will save a lot of time and elbow grease.

It is important to remember, when cleaning up a nail polish stain, you should always do the following.

  • Dap and blot, don’t scrub. Nail polish can stain anything it comes in contact with. This means you do not want to spread the stain. This will make things worse, not better. Never scrub, always dab.
  • Use a new and clean surface each time you go in to remove polish. You should use paper towels or a clean rag for this task. Each time you go in for a “dab” or “blot” make sure you use a fresh and clean area of the rag or towel. This will ensure you do not reintroduce the stain you are removing. Instead this method ensures you are always removing more and more polish each time.
  • Don’t work the stain deeper. When you are dabbing, use very light pressure. Never press too hard, especially at first. You do not want to work the stain deeper into the carpet. This will only make your job much harder.

Check Your Carpet For Cleaning Instructions

While you are not performing a typical deep clean, you should check your carpet care tag, or manufacturers guidelines for cleaning instructions. This is a good way to know what type of cleaning is recommended for your carpet, and what type of cleaning is harmful.

Some of the cleaning methods below involve using some harsh chemicals. It is best to know ahead of time how your carpet will react to chemicals.

Five Ways To Clean Nail Polish Off Carpet

If you have nail polish on your carpet and it has set in and maybe even dried, don’t fear. While cleaning nail polish out of a carpet is not the easiest stain removal process, it is doable. In fact, not only is it possible to clean nail polish out of your carpet but there are several methods. The five most popular methods include the following.

  • Hairspray And Rubbing Alcohol
  • Non-Acetone Nail Polish Remover
  • Carpet Cleaners
  • Vinegar
  • The Scrape And Trim Method

Hairspray And Rubbing Alcohol To Remove Nail Polish From Carpet

One of the most popular and effective ways to remove nail polish from carpet involves hair spray, rubbing alcohol and cold water. In addition to these items, you will also need a toothbrush, paper towels and a wet/dry vacuum if you have one.

Step One: Moisten the nail polish stained area with cold water using a spray bottle or wet cloth.

Step Two: Spray 10 to 15 pumps of hair spray centered on the nail polish area.

Step Three: Carefully drip rubbing alcohol over the recently-sprayed nail polish.

Step Four: Using a firm bristled toothbrush, scrub the nail polish area for one to two minutes. Be careful not to scrub too far at risk of spreading the stain. Intermittently pour drops of cold water on the stained area while scrubbing.

Step Five: Use a dry rag of paper towel to soak up the moisture and stain from the carpet. Do not rub, as this can activate and spread the stain.

Step Six: Apply more rubbing alcohol if the stain has not fully lifted, and repeat the scrubbing and cold water process. Repeat the entire process until the stain has lifted.

Step Seven: Use a wet/dry vacuum to soap up any nail polish residue and remaining liquid from the carpet. This should leave the carpet looking stain free and good as new.

Non-Acetone Nail Polish Remover To Remove Nail Polish From Carpet

Nail polish remover might seem like an obvious solution, but it should not be used until you have done your research. Even non-acetone based nail polish removers have strong chemicals that can mess with your carpets. This is particularly true with darker carpets.

If, however, you have a lighter carpet or are confident it will cause no harm, non-acetone nail polish remover is a great way to remove nail polish from your carpet. In fact, the best way to use it is to follow the same steps used above for the hairspray and rubbing alcohol method. Once you complete step four, however, instead of finishing or adding more alcohol, you will add the nail polish remover.

The previous four steps act to penetrate and loosen the stain, allowing the nail polish remover to lift the stain in step five. After you apply the remover, scrub it using a toothbrush. Once the stain lifts, add cool water, and blot up the moisture.

You may opt to use some soapy water (dish soap works great) once the stain is gone. This will help remove the nail polish remover from the carpet, which will prevent any damage and help eliminate the strong smell.

Carpet Cleaners To Remove Nail Polish From Carpet

You can also try a carpet cleaner that you can find in the local hardware store. There are all sorts of carpet cleaners available on the market, often targeting different types of stains. Be sure to get a brand that works its way into a stain.

Even when you use a carpet cleaner, remember not to scrub too much, as this can spread the stain. Targeted and specific cleaning is always the goal when removing nail polish from carpet.

Vinegar To Remove Nail Polish From Carpet

You can also try using vinegar to remove the nail polish from your carpet. If you are a fan of more organic and eco-friendly cleaning methods, or simply have lots of vinegar to use up, then this is a great option.

The key to this approach is using lots of vinegar. First, you will soak the stained area in a generous amount of vinegar. One you have done that, take a rag and soak it with additional vinegar. Place that rag on top of the stain for a minimum of 10 minutes. This will help break down the nail polish.

You will then lightly scrub the area, using a toothbrush or the vinegar rag, and repeat the process. Use some dish soap and warm water to help get rid of the smell and finish the job.

The Scrape And Trim Method

If you have a longer carpet, like a shag carpet, you may want to take a different approach. Instead of scrubbing and dapping and soaking, you can try scraping and cutting. When you have a long carpet, you have the benefit of volume. Depending on the size and exact location of the stain, you might be able to scrape most of the polish off, and trim areas where there is still polish visible.

This is definitely a last resort, as it is never ideal to trim your carpet even if it is a long shag carpet. But if other methods don’t work, it may be worth a shot.

Final Notes On Removing Nail Polish Off The Carpet

When you spill nail polish remover on your carpet, your first reaction may be to panic. Instead, do your best to clean the mess using a dabbing technique. If you are unable to clean the spill up before it dries, there are still ways to clean it.

Use cold water and hairspray before applying alcohol and or non-acetone nail polish remover. Scrub the stained area with a toothbrush, blotting it with cold water and scrubbing it until the stain lifts. You can also try using carpet cleaners, and if you want to try a more organic approach, you can opt for vinegar.

Tom Gaffey
Tom Gaffey

Tom Gaffey is an expert writer who currently resides in Washington D.C. Tom has a passion for real estate and home improvement writing, as well as travel and lifestyle writing. He lived the last twelve years in Hawaii where he worked closely with luxury resorts and event planners, mastering his knowledge of aesthetics and luxury products. This is where he found his passion for home improvement and a keen interest in DIY projects. Currently, Tom resides in Washington D.C, and also working on his debut fiction novel.

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