How to Remove Nail Polish Stains

Publications International, Ltd.

­Nail polish is a really frustrating substance to remove once it has stained your clothing or a surface in your house. But if you have a few common household items at hand (like a wet or dry spotter), and know what you're doing, you can usually find a way to work them out.

Stains from fingernail polish require a hands-on approach. For every surface you need to clean, here are some proven stain removal methods to get rid of nail polish for good:

Non-washable Fibers

Follow these steps to remove nail polish stains from non-washable fibers like Acetate, Fiberglass, Rayon, Silk, Triacetate or Wool:

  • Immediately scrape (the method of using a scraping tool to gently lift off excess solid or caked-on stains) any excess with a dull knife or spatula.
  • Apply a dry spotter to the stain and cover with an absorbent pad dampened with dry spotter.
  • Let it stand as long as any stain is being removed. Keep the pad and stain moist.
  • Flush (the method of applying stain remover to loosen staining materials and residue from stain removers) with a dry-cleaning solvent such asor Afta Cleaning Fluid.
  • Allow to dry.

Washable Fibers

Follow these steps to remove nail polish stains from washable fibers like Acrylic Fabric, Burlap Cotton, Linen, Modacrylic, Nylon, Olefin, Polyester, Rope or Spandex.

  • Scrape the excess.
  • Test acetone on an inconspicuous place.
  • If fiber color doesn't change, flush acetone through the stain to an absorbent pad.
  • When no more stain is being removed, change pads and flush well with dry-cleaning solvent.
  • Allow to dry thoroughly.

Soft Surfaces

Follow these steps to remove nail polish stains from soft surfaces such as Acrylic Plastic, Asphalt, Cork, Linoleum, Plexiglas, Polyurethane, Vinyl Clothing, Vinyl Tile, or Vinyl Wallcovering:

  • Fingernail polish contains chemicals that can quickly ruin the surface.
  • Immediately scrape up any excess spill.
  • Dab the area with a cloth dipped in amyl acetate and rinse, but this stain may be permanent.

Alabaster and Marble

Follow these steps to remove nail polish stains from Alabaster and Marble:

  • Wipe up the excess immediately.
  • Wipe the area with a cloth dampened with acetone.
  • Rinse with a damp cloth and wipe dry.
  • If any stain remains, make a poultice of water, 3% hydrogen peroxide, and a mild powder detergent.
  • Apply the poultice to the stain and cover with a damp cloth.
  • When the stain has been bleached out, rinse thoroughly and dry.

Metal Surfaces

Follow these steps to remove nail polish stains from metal surfaces such as Aluminum, lron, Stainless Steel or Tin:

  • Wipe excess immediately.
  • Since these surfaces aren't porous, there shouldn't be a stain, only a mild discoloration.
  • To remove this discoloration, wash with a steel wool soap pad, rinse thoroughly, and dry.

Bamboo and Cane

Follow these steps to remove nail polish stains from Bamboo or Cane:

  • Remove the excess and wipe the area with a cloth dipped in mild pure soapsuds to which a little ammonia has been added.
  • If any stain remains, dip the edge of a clean cloth in acetone and gently dab at the stain; be careful not to force the stain into the plant fibers.
  • If not treated immediately, this could be a permanent stain.

Flooring and Tile

Follow these steps to remove nail polish stains from flooring and tiles surfaces such as Bluestone, Brick, Concrete, Flagstone, Granite, Limestone, Masonry Tile, Sandstone, Slate or Terrazzo.

  • Remove the excess as soon as possible.
  • With a cloth dipped in acetone, dab at the remaining stain until no more is picked up.
  • Wash the area using a soft-bristled brush with a solution of washing soda or detergent and water. Rinse with clear water and allow to dry.

Carpet

Follow these instructions to remove nail polish stains from synthetic carpet and wool carpet:

  • Scrape as much of the excess as you can without forcing it into the pile.
  • Apply amyl acetate to the stain and cover with an absorbent pad dampened with amyl acetate.
  • Keep moist and let stand for about 15 minutes, blotting occasionally. Scrape to help loosen the stain.
  • Flush carefully with a dry-cleaning solvent or Afta Cleaning Fluid.
  • Allow to thoroughly dry.

Delicate Surfaces

Follow these instructions to remove nail polish stains from delicate surfaces like Ceramic, Glass/Tile, Enamel, Glass, Gold, Platinum, Porcelain, Rhinestones, or Silver:

  • Wipe up excess polish as soon as possible.
  • Wash with a cloth dipped in a solution of washing soda, water, and a few drops of ammonia.
  • Rinse well and wipe dry.
  • Hardened polish can sometimes be carefully scraped away with a razor blade on ceramic tile, enamel, and glass.

Grout

Follow these instructions to remove nail polish stains from Grout:

  • With a sponge, blot up as much polish as possible.
  • Dip a wet toothbrush into a little powdered cleanser and scrub gently.
  • Rinse well with clear water and wipe dry.

Jade, Opal and Pearls

Follow these steps to remove nail polish stains from Jade, Opal or Pearls (except simulated):

  • Blot up excess polish.
  • Fingernail polish may permanently damage natural and cultured pearls and mother-of-pearl.
  • A cotton swab moistened with oily fingernail polish remover (not acetone-based polish remover) and gently dabbed on the stain may be effective.
  • After stained setting has been moistened, blot up stain with a dry cotton swab.

Leather and Suede

Follow ­these steps to remove nail polish stains from Leather or Suede:

  • Carefully scrape excess with a dull knife or spatula. Mix a solution of mild soap in lukewarm water.
  • Swish to create a great volume of suds.
  • Apply only the foam with a sponge, but avoid spreading the stain.
  • Dry with a clean cloth.
  • If the polish has hardened, try gently rubbing an artgum eraser across it.
  • As a last resort, cautiously file the area with an emery board or a piece of very fine (grade 6/0-8/0) sandpaper.
  • As a thin layer of hide is removed, work carefully.

Paint

Follow these steps to remove nail polish stains from Flat Paint or Gloss Paint:

  • Wipe away the excess, being careful not to spread the polish.
  • Wipe the stain with a cloth dipped in 1/3 quart warm sudsy water to which 1 teaspoon borax has been added.
  • Rinse with clear water and dry thoroughly.

If you've got other spills, these stain removal tips will give you the methods to fight them.