How to Get Fingernail Polish Out of a Bathroom Sink

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Fingernail polish stains require some time and attention to avoid further staining.
Image Credit: Sandi Rutar/Moment/GettyImages

A slick of bright fingernail polish looks elegant on fingernails but is a frustrating mess on a sleek bathroom sink surface. When nail polish has inadvertently found its way to the sides or bowl of the bathroom sink, it can be removed in a few ways. They may seem indelible, but nail polish stains can be removed, and your sink returned to its original pristine condition.

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Fresh Spills of Fingernail Polish

When the polish is fresh out of the bottle and spreading across the countertop and into your sink, take action immediately. Plop a dry, absorbent cloth over the spreading stain to keep it contained as much as possible. Use an old cloth that you don't mind ruining with the nail polish, which can harden within the fibers of the cloth and be resistant to washing out.

Push the polish toward the middle of the spill and wipe up the remaining stain. If you are quick enough and the surface is well sealed, you may be able to buff the stain from the area. If a shadow of the stain remains, rubbing alcohol can remove small streaks of faint color. Gently dab the area with a cotton ball or edge of a cloth dipped in rubbing alcohol. Rinse with plain water and wipe the area dry.

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Acetone to Remove Nail Polish

Acetone takes polish off fingernails and can easily remove it from sealed fiberglass surfaces as well as ceramic and acrylic. After soaking up any fresh spills, acetone can finish the job. Nail polish remover can break down the chains of polymers in nail polish and loosen them enough to be gently wiped away from the bathroom sink. According to Molly Maid, acetone is strong and should be used in small batches with eye protection in place and plenty of ventilation.

For old swaths of nail polish stuck to the surface of the sink or countertop, gently dab acetone over the stain. Let it sit on the area for a moment before swiping a clean, dry cloth over the stain. Repeat the process until the stain is removed.

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Toothpaste to Take Out Polish

Most generic toothpastes contain small amounts of ethyl acetate. This can be used as a gentle substitute for acetone.

Family Handyman recommends making a paste of toothpaste with water and lemon to reduce the nail polish stain. Brush it on the stain and rinse it away. The gentle mix won't hurt the ceramic or acrylic surface, so feel free to leave it on for 15 minutes before scrubbing with a nylon brush. Repeat the process as necessary.

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Removing Polish With Baking Soda

Removing nail polish requires a gentle hand to fully remove without further damaging the area. Baking soda is a gentle astringent for cleaning. Make a paste of baking soda and water and put it over the nail polish stain. Give it some time to loosen the streak or spill of nail polish.

Use circular motions to work the baking soda into the stain. Rinse well and repeat until the stain is removed from the sink.

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