How to Get Fingernail Polish Off of Vinyl

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Things You'll Need

  • Cotton balls

  • Non-acetone nail polish remover

  • Microfiber cloth

  • Prewash stain remover

  • Spoon

  • Paper towel

  • Amyl acetate


Some nail polish removers contain amyl acetate without containing acetone, but read labels carefully, as they are not the same substances and acetone will harm most vinyls. Dry-cleaners often use amyl acetate as a spot remover.


Never use bleach or any other abrasive cleaning agents on vinyl, as this will cause permanent damage to the material.

Applying nail polish requires concentration and a steady hand. However, if your pet comes bounding into the room or you get an unexpected phone call, accidents can happen. If you've spilled nail polish on a vinyl couch or piece of clothing, you'll have to act fast to lift the stain without damaging the fabric. Dried nail polish is more challenging to remove without causing discoloring or scraping the vinyl's surface.

Removing a Fresh Nail Polish Stain

Step 1

Saturate a cotton ball with non-acetone nail polish remover.

Step 2

Dab the stain repeatedly until most of the nail polish is absorbed into the cotton ball. Use a fresh cotton ball and more remover as needed.

Step 3

Wipe the vinyl with a damp microfiber cloth to clean away any remaining nail polish remover. If you are cleaning the stain from a garment, apply a prewash stain remover and launder as usual.

Removing a Dried Nail Polish Stain

Step 1

Moisten the stain with several drops of warm water. Allow the water to penetrate the stain for several minutes.

Step 2

Scrape away as much of the nail polish as possible with the edge of a spoon. Use a light touch to avoid scratching the vinyl's surface.

Step 3

Saturate a paper towel with amyl acetate and blot the stain repeatedly. Repeat blotting until the stain begins to disappear. Use a new paper towel and more amyl acetate as needed.

Step 4

Wipe the vinyl clean using a damp microfiber cloth. Apply a prewash stain remover and launder as usual if you are working with a garment.


Brandon Getty

Brandon Getty began writing professionally in 2008, with columns appearing in "Thrasher" magazine. He received a Bachelor of Arts in literature from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and lives in Stockton, Calif.