How to Get Fingernail Polish off Counter tops

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Its purpose may be to beautify and add a touch of glamor, but when it breaks boundaries and spills onto countertops or on clothing, nail polish becomes a serious problem.
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Its purpose may be to beautify and add a touch of glamor, but when it breaks boundaries and spills onto countertops or on clothing, nail polish becomes a serious problem.


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Aside from serious acetone or nail polish remover, there are other ways to get nail polish off of countertops, clothing, rugs or other items around the house that have been marred by the thick colored polish.

What Makes a Good Nail Polish Remover?

A good countertop stain remover will be mild enough to not damage the countertop material. It also needs to be strong enough to remove any hint of polish or remover that could further damage the countertop if left on the material for a lengthy period of time.


The first choice to remove nail polish from the countertop is more than likely acetone. This does very well on most granite countertops. Quartz and acrylic countertops do not do well when acetone is applied to its surface.

If you aren't sure of the countertop material, then test a small inconspicuous area before applying a tough cleaner, such as nail polish remover. Before applying any astringent to countertops, it's best to try the products out on hidden areas.

Nail Polish on the Countertop

If the streak or puddle of nail polish is fresh, then dab at the mess with a dry paper towel. Polish that has landed on wood, laminate or another treated countertop that has a slick surface can be wiped up when it is still wet and fresh from the bottle. Use small circular motions to push the polish into a smaller dot as you wipe it up.


Another way to get nail polish off of porous surfaces includes using a course sponge doused with household rubbing alcohol and scrubbing at the nail polish stain. The rubbing alcohol works well because it evaporates quickly and reacts with viscous substances such as nail polish.

Acetone is also a good option for a countertop stain remover. But first check the countertop for its durability against this strong cleaner. Dab at the nail polish with a clean towel dipped into acetone, pressing firmly but quickly against the stain. Wipe down the area with soap and water to remove any residue.


If the nail polish has landed on clothing, you can use baking soda to pull the stain from the closely-knit fibers of the item. A bath of baking soda and warm water can remove nail polish from clothes and linens, such as aprons, bedding, kitchen towels, pot holders and other cloth items.

Nail Polish Remover Stain on Counter

The opposite problem can be just as perplexing. When drops or full-on puddles of nail polish remover have found their way to the countertop and caused discoloration, it can be difficult to clear up.


If the countertop is marble, the acetone-based polish remover can etch the stone, and you will need a commercial etch remover or marble polishing product to buff out the etching. If it has stained the marble, you can mix an ounce of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide to a 1/2 cup of water with a teaspoon of mild dish detergent. Dip a cloth towel into this mix and let it sit on the discolored area until it is bleached out.

A nail polish remover stain on a counter that is porous needs to be addressed quickly. Immediately mop up the spill and let it dry. Rub the area down with a mix of a tablespoon of mild dishwashing liquid and a cup of warm water.



Kimberley McGee is an award-winning journalist with 20+ years of experience writing for a variety of clients, including The New York Times, Las Vegas Review-Journal Home section and other national publications. As a professional writer she has researched, interviewed sources and written about home improvement, interior design and related business trends. She earned a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Her full bio and clips can be viewed at