How to Get Fingernail Polish Out of Carpet

nail polish on carpet
Nail polish on carpet seems like a disaster. Is it? Not necessarily. Maria Dryfhout/Shutterstock

Every girl loves painting her fingernails with nail polish. Unfortunately, if that polish gets on surfaces besides nails, it can be a big disaster! One of the worst places for fingernail polish is your carpeting. It can leave an obvious stain that seems impossible to get out. If this happens to you, don't panic! Your carpet isn't ruined forever!

Here's how to get fingernail polish out of carpet:


  1. Clean up any kind of stain as soon as you notice it. The longer stains have to set in, the harder they are to get out.
  2. Gently blot any excess spill with a paper towel until nothing comes off.
  3. Scrape as much of the dry nail polish as you can out of the carpet. Use a dull knife or the side of a spoon.
  4. Pour some non-oily nail polish remover or rubbing alcohol on a cloth and blot the stain. Repeat the process until no more nail polish comes off on your towel. Use the nail polish remover sparingly, because it can ruin the latex backing of your carpet.
  5. Make a solution of liquid dishwashing detergent and warm water. You want a very watery mixture with hardly any soap. Make sure to use a dishwashing liquid that doesn't contain lanolin or bleach.
  6. Blot the stained area with a cloth dipped in the detergent solution. This will remove the nail polish remover and any last bits of fingernail polish. Dab the area dry with a paper towel. Repeat until you can no longer see a spot.
  7. Rinse the area by spraying a mist of warm water.
  8. Pile a bunch of paper towels over the area. Weigh down the paper towels with something heavy, like a stack of books. This will absorb all the moisture in about an hour.
  9. Sprinkle a little carpet freshener on your clean, dry carpet, so it will smell nice [sources: MrsClean and FabricLink.

Nail Polish Carpet FAQs

How do you get dry nail polish out of carpet?
Nail polish remover that is non-acetone can be used to clear off nail paint from the carpet. If it’s still wet, don’t rub or spread it, rather dab it gently using a cotton ball to blot it. Now, spray the nail polish remover and keep cleaning lightly until the stain has cleared off your carpet.
How does vinegar remove nail polish from carpet?
Vinegar contains acetic acid that is a powerful cleaning agent. Simply pour some vinegar onto a towel or sponge and use it to clean nail polish stains. Let the vinegar sit for about 10 minutes to do the cleaning action. Now, scrub the stained area gently and you’ll see the stain ebb away smoothly.
Does hairspray remove nail polish from carpet?
Hairspray can also be used to clean nail polish stains. Spray it onto the stained part of your carpet and let it stay for a few minutes. Then use a toothbrush to scrub the sprayed area. It may not clear it off abruptly but you can repeat the process 3 to 4 times or until the stain gets removed completely.
Will bleach take off nail polish?
Bleach contains powerful chemicals that can badly damage your carpet and dull its appearance. Furthermore, its chemicals may rip the smooth fibers of your carpet and take off its color permanently. So, never use bleach for carpet cleaning.
Are abrasive cleaners good for removing nail polish stains?
No, abrasive cleaners are made for cleaning hard surfaces. So, they may be harsh to use on the carpet’s soft surface. Abrasive cleaners may also tear or fray the carpet fibers and may also reduce their longevity.