How to Remove Nail Polish From Carpet

Removing nail polish stains is not an easy process, but the right technique and supplies make it possible. Nonacetone nail polish remover, hydrogen peroxide or acetone are just a few items that can be used to remove nail polish stains from the carpet. Test your chosen stain remover on an inconspicuous piece of carpet inside a closet before using it on the stain. In case of discoloration, the test sight will be hidden from view. Do not test under a sofa or other piece of furniture because you may want to rearrange someday.

Pink nail varnish dripping from brush of lid into bottle, close-up
credit: Martin Poole/Photodisc/Getty Images
Nail polish drips can create tough carpet stains.

Non-Acetone Nail Polish Remover

Nonacetone nail polish remover is preferred by many manicure professionals over the acetone variety because it is gentle on cuticles. Because it relies on ethyl acetate or methyl ethyl ketone as its key ingredient instead of powerful acetone, nonacetone nail polish remover is slower to remove than polish. With a little patience and persistence, though, this beauty staple can remove your wet or dry nail polish stain from any kind of carpet.

  • Blot as much wet nail polish as possible on paper towels. Do not to rub the stain, or you will make it larger.
  • Apply nonacetone nail polish remover to the stain. Drop a small amount onto the stain; then blot with a clean dry cloth.
  • Continue alternating these steps until the stain is gone.

Acetone

Acetone is a fast remover of nail polish. Applied in small amounts, it can be an effective and efficient way to remove nail polish stains from carpet. The key is to use it in small amounts and to apply it directly onto the stain to prevent the risk of spreading the stain or damaging the unstained carpet fibers.

  • Blot any wet nail polish with paper towels.
  • Apply acetone by pouring or dropping it onto a cloth; then blotting it directly onto the stain. Do not pour acetone onto carpet: It can eat away the carpet backing.
  • Blot the acetone with a clean dry cloth; then continue alternating these steps until the stain is gone.

Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide has bleaching effects, so use it on white or light-colored carpets only.

  • Control the amount of hydrogen peroxide used by pouring it onto a clean white cloth to apply to the stain to keep the rest of the carpet from lightening during the stain removal process.
  • Blot the stain with the hydrogen peroxide; then blot with a clean, dry cloth.

Other Household Items

The same cleaning application and blotting method to remove nail polish stains can be attempted with these household items:

  • Rubbing alcohol (clear)
  • Hairspray
  • Hydrogen peroxide-based carpet cleaners
  • Baking soda and water paste
  • White vinegar

Tips and Warnings

If the stain is a small fleck isolated on a small section of shag or pile carpet, blot as much as possible; then trim away the remaining stain with scissors. In a small area, the difference in the pile will not be so obvious. Do not try this with Berber carpets because they are made of looped fibers.

Use acetone, methyl ethyl ketone, ethyl acetate or acetone in a well-ventilated area. Open windows while cleaning and run a fan if possible. Wear a NIOSH- approved face mask if possible.