Nail Polish

COIT’S Guide to Remove Nail Polish Stains

Amidst the chaos of everyday life, you finally find some downtime to pamper yourself. The house is clean, the laundry is done, and you settle in for a few hours of much needed in-home spa treatments (a bit more affordable than the nail salon if you’re trying to pinch pennies). What could possibly go wrong?

In a mere moment, you accidentally spill some nail polish. Darn it! Don’t you hate it when that one drop just happens to find the area of your shirt or your carpet that just happens to be showing? 

Nail polish stains just seem to come with the territory when it comes to pampering. Well have no fear, fellow pamperers, there is a way to remove nail polish from clothes that can be done fairly simply.

nail polish spilled on carpet

What Is Nail Polish Made Of?

Before we jump right into nail polish stain removal techniques, let’s take a quick look at the ingredients in a typical bottle of nail polish.

Most nail polishes are made of nitrocellulose that’s dissolved in a solvent. Nail polish also contains:

  • Solvents
  • Coloring agents
  • Plasticizers 
  • File forming agents
  • Adhesive polymers

Nail polish also contains thickening agents. These allow the sparkling particles in suspension while in the bottle.   

How to Remove Nail Polish from Carpet

COIT’s Guide to Getting Nail Polish Out of Carpet

In an ideal world, there would be plenty of time to spend a leisurely day at the nail salon. But in the real world, finding time to get your nails professionally done every time can often be a bit difficult. During a beauty crisis, we must resort to painting out nails ourselves, right?

In an effort to save time and money, you calmly set up your nail polish station on your living room floor. With just enough time to catch up on your favorite shows, you begin painting your nails. You’ve got a towel over the carpet, and no distractions. Then suddenly, it happens. You knock over the nail polish bottle, and it somehow manages to leave a lovely nail polish stain on your carpet. What to do?

COIT offers step-by-step solutions to eliminate panic during those at-home beauty days.

Remember to always do a spot removal test on a portion of carpet or upholstery that is normally not visible.

nail polish spilled on carpet

How to Get Nail Polish Out of Carpet

If you’re wondering how to get nail polish out of carpet, here is one solution that you can try:

  1. Upon discovering any nail polish stains on your carpet, wet the stain with cold water.
  2. Spray 15-20 pumps of hair spray, followed by three to five small splashes of rubbing alcohol. This is the best approach when you’re wondering how to remove nail polish from carpet.
  3. Using a small scrub brush, scrub the nail polish stain directly for about a minute. While you’re scrubbing, keep pouring clean, cold water onto the stain throughout the process.
  4. Repeat this process until the nail polish stain is no longer visible.

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Another Approach: How to Get Nail Polish Out of Carpet

Before you panic when considering how to remove nail polish from carpet, give this at-home process a try:

  1. As soon as you've spilled the nail polish stain, try and absorb as much of the stain as you possibly can with a paper towel or clean dish towel. Do not scrub the stain, as this may cause it to set it even faster.
  2. If you’re using a dish towel, continuously switch to a clean side of the dish towel to avoid smearing the stain. If you’re using a paper towel, do the same thing.
  3. Using non-acetone finger nail polish remover, gently apply a bit directly onto the nail polish stain. This should begin to lift the stain off of the carpet.

Alternative Solutions for Getting Nail Polish Out of Carpet

Depending on the type of carpet you have, and the size of the nail polish stain, you may need to try a few methods before you find one for getting nail polish out of carpet.

  • Window Cleaner – After discovering the nail polish stain, blot as much as you can to remove any excess nail polish. Using a sponge or dish cloth, apply a small amount of window cleaner to the stain and scrub in a circular motion. Rinse the affected area with water, and let dry. The stain should disappear.
  • Hairspray – Get the stain wet by adding a generous amount of water. Using household hairspray, spray directly onto the stain about 15 times. Scrub the affected area with a toothbrush for two to three minutes.  Repeat this process three to four times, or until the nail polish stain has disappeared.


If the above-mentioned solutions are unsuccessful at getting nail polish out of carpet, consider calling COIT Professional Cleaning Services to learn more about in depth, heavy-duty carpet cleaning treatments. 

Remember to always do a spot removal test on a portion of carpet or upholstery that is normally not visible. These are suggested treatments only and COIT can't be held accountable for any damage sustained by use of the treatments in this spot removal guide.

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Home remedies not working?

If you’re still battling stubborn stains after trying these home remedies, professional cleaning may be a good option to explore. Check out COIT’s Cleaning Services to learn more about the help we can offer.

Contact COIT for stain removal help