how to get nail polish out of carpet

How to Get Nail Polish Out of Carpet in 5 Ways

While painting your nails, you just knocked a nail polish bottle onto the carpet. And the little mishap spilled a colorful coat of magenta polish on your carpet.

What you have is a single-color carpet or rug, but it now has a noticeable beautiful nail polish stain. You’re devastated, but what do you do now?

You want to get the knocked over nail polish out immediately and restore your carpet to its usual fluffy goodness. But how on earth do you get nail polish out of carpet?

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Well, you can rip the nail polish-stained carpet out and stop worrying about the spill! Or, you can bend over and apply the right nail paint removal techniques and cleaning supplies to tackle the unsightly stain.

How to Get Nail Polish Out of Carpet Successfully

If nail polish accidentally spills on your carpet, don’t freak out. Instead, use a suitable nail polish removal method to completely obliterate the stain. And here’s is a summarized version of the step-by-step process for completing this messy task:

First, blot excess nail polish using a dry paper towel. Be careful while blotting the stain to avoid smearing the spill to other areas on the carpet. Next, apply (indirectly) a non-acetone nail polish remover onto the stain.

Dab the stain with paper towels until no more color comes off.  Then, spray some aerosol hairspray onto the stain and blot until it starts to fade away. Dab some Spot Shot Pet Stain Remover at the stain, alternating with hair spray until the stain becomes almost unnoticeable.

Next, apply a mixture of ammonia and hydrogen peroxide (more on mixing these two chemicals down the road) to the stained area. Then, place a saran wrap and a massive book or two over the plastic cover and let the cleaners sit overnight. 

In the morning, spray clean water onto the treated spot to rinse off the chemicals so that they won’t bleach the carpet or harm it in some other way. Alternatively, use a wet/dry vacuum cleaner to suck up the chemical substances.

This isn’t the only way to tackle the problem. This tutorial includes 4 other practical strategies to give you options.

But before I jump in and explain in detail how to take care of nail polish stains on carpets and rugs, there’s a super important question I need to answer. And the question is…

Can You Use Acetone-based Nail Polish Removers on Carpets/Rugs?

If it’s a natural fiber carpet (wool, silk, linen, cotton, etc), you can use an acetone-based nail polish remover. This kind of remover works extremely well while treating the natural carpet with kindness.

What if the carpet is made from synthetic fibers such as nylon, polypropylene, or polyester? In that case, use a non-acetone nail polish remover. This is because acetone-enriched nail polish removers can dissolve synthetic carpets. 

If you’re unsure what kind of fibers your carpet is made from, be safe and stick with an acetone-free nail polish remover.

But keep in mind that non-acetone polish removers aren’t as effective as acetone-packed options. If you choose to use an acetone-free remover, it may take greater effort and a longer time to get the nail polish stain out of the carpet. But both types of products sure do the job, and that’s all that matters in the end.

A Step-by-Step Guide for Nail Polish Removal

Here’s a detailed guide for removing a spilled bottle of top coat from a carpet.

Step #1: Blot Up As Much Excess Nail Polish As Possible

This is a critical nail paint cleanup step. Take a few dry paper towels and start soaking up excess nail polish off the carpet. It’s easy to worsen the situation through redistributing the paint as you wipe up the mess. 

Blot up all the polish you possibly can to make the rest of the job easier and quicker. And while blotting the stained spot, don’t use any kind of rubbing motions.

Not only would doing this smear the nail paint to the surrounding areas, but it also would push some of the polish deeper into the fibers. Both consequences would make things a tad worse; you’d be stuck with a more challenging cleanup.

Step #2: Apply a Suitable Nail Polish Remover to the Spill

Be sure you know what you’re doing when applying a nail paint remover on a stained carpet. Before you grab any particular remover to attack the colorful speck, learn which fibers are in your carpet.

Is your carpet made from natural fibers such as cotton, wool, linen, or silk? If yes, you can definitely use an acetone-based nail paint remover without a worry in the world.

However, if the fibers in the carpet are artificial, DO NOT use any kind of polish remover that contains any percentage of acetone. Acetone easily destroys the pile of synthetic fiber carpets. This risk applies to synthetic fiber clothes as well.

Here’s another thing to keep in mind: whether the carpet is colorfast or not. Acetone badly affects carpets whose colors come off easily. Fortunately, modern carpets are colorfast and shouldn’t respond negatively upon interacting with acetone.

Don’t Apply Acetone Directly to the Nail Polish Stain

Why? It’s because applying acetone directly to the carpet can damage it. The chemical seeps into the pile and causes harm to the glue underneath. Instead, dip a small portion of a sponge into the acetone and blot the stained area with it.

Once you apply the nail polish remover, start dabbing at the stained spot with dry paper towels or a regular towel. Use new paper towels or switch to a new section of the regular towel if there’s too much stain color. Keep dabbing at the nail paint and changing the towels until you stop noticing color on it.

Step #3: Spay the Nail Polish Mess With an Aerosol Hairspray

Get some aerosol hairspray and pump a liberal amount onto the spot. Luckily, there’s a whole bunch of cheap but still effective hairspray options. If you’re torn between a multiplicity of hairspray choices, consider going with unscented Aqua Net.

The whole point of applying hairspray is to make the nail polish stain that much less intense and conspicuous. When I used hairspray on the mess, I didn’t notice color coming off, but the spot did start looking less noticeable.

Step #4: Appy Some Spot Shot Pet Stain Remover on the Spill

It’s time to dab at the nail polish using a potent stain remover. Amazon and other stores carry a whole bunch of suitable and effective spot shot pet stain removers.

I recommend the Spot Shot Professional Instant Carpet Stain Remover.

This product is a no-scrub aerosol that cleans up all kinds of stains. From blood, red wine, coffee, sugarly cola, and muddy stains to pet pee, grape juice, lipstick, shoe polish, and spilled nail paint.

This spot cleaner should be safe to use on most carpets and rugs. But it’s always a good idea to treat a hidden portion of the carpet and observe what the spot cleaner does to it before applying to the actual mess.

Dab at the nail paint with this remover, alternating between the cleaner and the hairspray. Do this for some time, and the stain’s color will lose a significant amount of its intensity.

Step #5: Apply Hydrogen Peroxide Mixed With Ammonia

Important: mixing ammonia with a highly concentrated hydrogen peroxide solution (60%+) is a recipe for disaster. But in a diluted form (like the usual 3% hydrogen peroxide), you can mix it with ammonia and not have an explosion.

  • Mix a ¼ cup of 3% hydrogen peroxide with a tablespoon of ammonia. Why add ammonia in? You add some ammonia solution to modify the PH of hydrogen peroxide, which boosts its stain removal ability.

Hydrogen peroxide boasts moderate bleaching powers, but don’t worry because it won’t bleach your carpet. I mean, carpets these days don’t fade or bleed color that easily thanks to certain finishes that make it less likely. Aside from that, hydrogen peroxide eventually degenerates into a harness solution (water) and oxygen.

  • Pour the ammonia/hydrogen peroxide mix generously onto the nail polish stain.
  • Get a saran wrap (the cling wrap normally used for sealing and securing food containers) and cover the treated area for a couple of hours if the stain isn’t too bad or overnight if it’s still intense.
  • When morning comes, remove the plastic wrap and immediately start rinsing off the chemicals. Why eradicate the chemicals immediately?

Hydrogen peroxide decomposes into oxygen and harmless water. As for ammonia, it converts to a form of bleach upon exposure to light. If you don’t wash these chemicals off completely, the ammonia will in the end bleach your carpet.

  • Pour water into a spray bottle and spray it onto the stain-free spot.
  • Use dry paper towels or a clean absorbent cloth to soak up excess water and cleaning chemicals. Keep blotting the spot until it’s no longer damp.
  • You can skip the paper towel step and instead use a wet/dry vacuum cleaner to pick up excess water and the chemical cleaners. I prefer using a vacuum over blotting endlessly.

The stain eradication process I just described works for both fresh nail polish and nail polish that’s had enough time to dry in.

4 Alternative Methods of Getting Spilled Nail Polish Out of Carpets and Rugs

The methods described below work, but they may not always work as well as the comprehensive process laid out in the guide above.

1.  Remove Spilled Nail Polish from Carpet With White Vinegar

Here’s how to use white vinegar to get spilled nail paint out of rugs, bed sheets, rugs, clothes, and pretty much anything else.

  • Remove any excess nail polish with something absorbent such as paper towels.
  • Cover the now diminished nail polish stain with white vinegar.
  • Cover the vinegar-treated spot with an old t-shirt or rag dunked in white vinegar and excess vinegar squeezed out.
  • Let the vinegar sit for about 10-15 minutes. When white vinegar “reacts” with spilled nail polish, you won’t like the resultant smell very much! But it’s not completely intolerable.
  • But if the nail polish/vinegar smell proves stronger than you’d expected, mix a few drops of dish soap with warm water and spray the soapy solution onto the area.
  • And if the odor is extremely strong for your nostrils, consider Febreezing the area.
  • Use the vinegar-soaked t-shirt or rag to sop up excess cleaner.
  • With the rag, scrub the spot for a couple of minutes.
  • Rinse off the white vinegar and dry off with paper towels.

2. Get Nail Polish Out of Carpet with Baking Soda + Ginger Ale

You knew I had to include baking soda as a way of combating spilled nail polish, didn’t you? Whether you’re battling nail paint, removing spilled milk from a carpet, or getting slime out of a rug, baking soda comes in handy.

Here’s how to remove nail polish out of carpet with baking soda (and ginger ale):

  • Pour a generous amount of baking soda onto the nail polish stain.
  • Next, spray the spot with ginger ale, soaking it. But please don’t oversaturate the carpet.
  • Allow the ginger ale/baking soda combination 10-15 minutes to do the job.
  • Use a damp cloth or sponge to blot the spot. Rinse the cloth if necessary and keep blotting until the stain disappears.
  • Pat dry with paper towels or cloth.
  • Air-dry the carpet. You may power up the dehumidifier and fan to speed up the drying process.
  • Vacuum clean the stain-free spot to lift up any baking soda residue while fluffing up the rug/carpet.

3.Use a Window Cleaning Spray and an Old Toothbrush

A good window cleaning spray used correctly leaves the glass clean and crystal clear. You can also use this product to get rid of spilled nail polish on a carpet.

  • Start off with blotting a decent amount of the nail polish with dry paper towels or a terry cloth.
  • Use a sponge/cloth to get a small amount of a decent window cleaner onto the mess.
  • Let the window cleaner sit for about 3-5 minutes.
  • With an old toothbrush, scrub the affected place using circular motions.
  • Spray clean water onto the window cleaner-treated area and blot to absorb the chemical.
  • Air dry the carpet. The stain should vanish for good.

4.Use Hairspray + Rubbing Alcohol and Scrub the Spot With a Toothbrush

You can use hair spray alone to get nail polish out of rugs and carpets. It’s one of the best ways to eradicate spilled nail polish messes without a conventional nail polish remover. Here’s what to do:

  • Get excess nail polish out by blotting with paper towels or a damp rag.
  • Spray the stain with water to wet it.
  • Apply hairspray to the spot. Get the bottle’s displacement pump to shoot out the hairspray at least 15 times.
  • Wait 5 minutes and start agitating the nail polish stain with an old toothbrush or any other small scrub brush. Make circular motions during scrubbing.
  • Spray some rubbing alcohol onto the stain and let it sit for 3 minutes before scrubbing a little with a cloth or rough side of a scrubbing sponge. You can also use a toothbrush.
  • Rinse the hair spray and rubbing alcohol off with water and repeat the process 3-5 times if you want a great result.

Nail Polish Removal FAQs

Can Nail Polish Be Removed from a Carpet?

Yes, nail polish can be removed from carpets and rugs. The sooner the messy spot is taken care of, the easier the stain cleanup exercise gets.

What is the Fastest Way to Get Nail Polish Out of a Carpet?

The fastest method of removing nail polish from a carpet is to blot up excess polish right away with paper towels and then apply hairspray and rubbing alcohol to the mess. Baking soda and ginger ale also work pretty well. You may also use a window cleaner among other simple DIY tricks.

How Do You Get Nail Polish Out of Carpet Without a Nail Polish Remover?

First off, blot excess nail polish. Next, wet the stain and spray aerosol hairspray at least 15 times onto the area and let it sit about 3-5 minutes. Then, scrub with a toothbrush and rinse off the hairspray by dabbing with a cloth. Repeat this step with rubbing alcohol and scrub some more before rinsing off the alcohol and drying off the damp area.

Summing It All Up

There you have it! At least 5 effective DIY strategies for dealing with spilled nail polish on carpets, bed sheets, rugs, clothes, and more. Some methods such as using a window cleaning spray or baking soda + ginger ale are pretty fast ways of getting nail polish out of rugs and carpets.

But other methods like the comprehensive nail paint on carpet eradication technique described in this guide demand a little more elbow grease and time.

I hope you found this resource helpful. Please tell us in the comment box below what the cleanup was like for you.

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