Get Nail Polish Out Of Carpet
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How To Get Nail Polish Out Of Carpet

So, how to get nail polish out of the carpet? It sounds unsolvable at first, but you will be jumping with joy once you know that the issue can be remedied using different techniques. If you are struggling with the same problem, you can finally rest your mind. 

When you notice nail polish has spilled over your carpet, it’s important to act fast. Exposure to air will start to thicken it, and over time, cause it to get stuck on the fibers. That said, let’s skip the talk, and I’ll bring forward the solution right now!

Nail Polish Splatter On Carpet
Nail polish spilling on carpeting – every household’s worst nightmare ever

A Quick Look On How To Remove Nail Polish From Carpet

Briefly speaking, you have more than ten no-failed tricks to get nail polish out of the carpet. The list below will offer you a sneak peek at what options are available.

  • Non-acetone nail polish remover
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Alcohol-based hairspray
  • Vinegar
  • Ginger ale and baking soda
  • Dish soap
  • Shaving cream
  • Dry cleaning solvent
  • Citrus solvent
  • Ammonia-based window cleaner
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • WD-40
  • Windex
  • Steam cleaning
  • Trimming

No more waiting on your time. I’ll start the post with a very common situation that most ladies have experienced at least once, and it’s heart-wrenching. 

Home Salon Treatment Turn Into A Catastrophe

Nothing screams self-care more than a mani-pedi session at home. So, what do you have in mind this time? Is Cherry Red still in fashion? How about the classic Jet Black for a luxurious glam? With too many choices, you are sure to have a hard time taking the plunge.

Yet, choosing the right color is not the only hardship of your at-home salon treatment. As you are opening the bottle, you happen to spill some of its content on the carpet. And, within just a few seconds, your weekend getaway is wholly ruined.

That said, there’s a love-hate relationship between your favorite nail polish bottle and carpet. Sure enough, doing manicure or pedicure on the carpet makes the experience fancier, but it can also quickly turn to a disaster when you or someone knocks the bottle over. Uh-oh!

Womans Nails With Cream
Painting your nails on the carpet sounds like the beginning of a bittersweet tragedy.

A Detailed Guide On Cleaning Nail Polish From Carpeting

Lucky for you, there are plenty of ways to clean nail polish from the carpet, whether it’s fresh or has been on the carpet for days or God knows when. Just stick to this guide, and I’m sure that you will make the grade.


Upon removal, some preliminary measures should be taken to make the job easier.

For fresh nail polish stains, try blotting up the liquid as much as you can with paper towels. If you have spilled way too much content out of the bottle, scoop it with a spoon. Or, sprinkle a little salt or sugar on the stain, and the crystals will absorb the polish quickly.

For old nail polish stains, you will remove the solid bits using a spoon or sharp butter knife. Alternatively, rub the dried nail polish out using your fingers. Once you have gotten most of it out of the fibers, clean up the surface using the vacuum.

Now, you are all set to kick off your cleaning project. Hurry up!

Nail Polish Stain Cleaning
The process of removing fresh and dried nail polish is overall not too dissimilar

Nail Polish Removal

In this section, you will be provided with twelve different techniques to clean nail polish from the carpet. From nail polish remover, hairspray to dish soap, what’s your pick? Read on and decide your final answer.

Option 1: Non-Acetone Nail Polish Remover

What’s a better solution than a nail polish remover? Just a quick wipe and the polish will go away instantly. Note that only acetone-free products should be used, or you will risk ruining your precious carpet since acetone has somewhat strong bleaching qualities.

You Will Need

  • Non-acetone nail polish remover
  • Cotton ball or paper towels

You Will Do

Step 1: Wet the nail polish with a healthy amount of remover. Alternatively, dip a cotton ball into the solution.

Step 2: Gently scrub the stain with repeated circular motions with paper towels or the same cotton ball.

Step 3: Rinse the area once the stain has lifted. If not, repeat the process.

Note: Most nail polish removers have a strong chemical odor. It should disperse after a few rinses, so you should not be worried.

Say goodbye to unsightly nail polish stain with a specialized remover:

Watch this video: How To Remove Nail Polish Stains From Your Carpet

Option 2: Rubbing Alcohol

If you don’t have a non-acetone remover, consider cleaning the nail polish stain with rubbing alcohol. This solvent will demand more time and effort to wipe off the stain than the previous option, but it is still overall effective.

Rubbing Alcohol Bottle
Rubbing alcohol is a perfect substitute when you have no nail polish remover

You Will Need

  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Cotton ball or paper towels

You Will Do

Follow the same instructions given for using a nail polish remover. Despite its name, you are not advised to rub the fibers, as this can cause the nail polish to spread further. Just dab the stain, and you are good.

Option 3: Alcohol-Based Hairspray

Yes, it’s true; you can use your hairspray to remove the nail polish stain out of the carpet. It’s a classic trick that never ceases to amaze me. Make sure that your product is alcohol-based or will not achieve the desired result no matter how much you try.

You Will Need

  • Alcohol-based hairspray
  • Cloth rags or paper towels
  • Rubbing alcohol (optional)

You Will Do

Step 1: After confirming that your product contains alcohol, proceed to spray the stain. Like previous methods, it should be somewhat dampened, not oversaturated.

Step 2: Blot dry with a clean cloth rag or paper towels. If the stain persists, try again. Or, for a more powerful effect, employ about three to five splashes of rubbing alcohol.

Hair spray and rubbing alcohol, your ultimate cleaning duo for nail polish.

Watch this video: How To Remove Nail Polish From Carpet

Option 4: Vinegar

Can’t stand the chemical smell? I have something for your itchy nose: vinegar. Just a small splash and the nail polish will disappear for good. Mark my words.

Vinegar Cleaning Supplies Table
With various cleaning applications, vinegar is highly prized

You Will Need

  • Vinegar
  • Sponge or paper towels

You Will Do

The methods for removing nail polish from carpeting with vinegar is similar to option 1 and 2. You will apply the vinegar onto the stain and scrub until the nail polish stain fades. After that, rinse the affected area with clean water. Allow the carpet to dry.

Option 5: Ginger Ale And Baking Soda

Ginger ale does not just quench your thirst. When combined with baking soda, the fizzy drink can remove the nail polish stain with minimal effort, restoring your carpet to its glory. Cheers to ginger ale!

Ginger Ale Soda Glass Lemon
Surprisingly, ginger ale can cut through nail polish with no trouble

You Will Need

  • Ginger ale
  • Baking soda
  • Sponge or paper towels

You Will Do

Step 1: Sprinkle an adequate amount of baking soda on the stain. 

Step 2: Saturate the stain with a splash of ginger ale. No fresh stuff? Canned drinks will also do the work. Don’t fret if you see the mixture foaming up. They react with each other, forming a gas known as carbon dioxide that can deal with different kinds of stains.

Step 3: Let the paste sit for 10 minutes. Again, scrub the nail polish with circular movements to speed up the process.

Step 4: Once the nail polish has gotten out, rinse the area with clean water.

Note: You can replace ginger ale with vinegar or club soda as well.

Option 6: Dish Soap

If ginger ale fails to do its job, you still have liquid detergent on your side. This multi-purpose product is super effective against stains on clothing and textile, whether they are left by food, ink, or nail polish. Don’t forget to read the label beforehand to check if yours contains bleach.

You Will Need

  • Dish soap
  • Warm water
  • Cloth rags or paper towels
  • Vinegar (optional)

You Will Do

Step 1: Combine a teaspoon of dish soap with two cups of lukewarm water. Stir to dissolve. You can add an extra teaspoon of white vinegar if you wish.

Step 2: Pour the solution all over the stain. Then, use a cloth rag or paper towels to blot the solution.

Step 3: Repeat the process until the nail polish is no longer noticeable. Rinse afterward.

Option 7: Shaving Cream

Not many people like the dish soap method because it is challenging to remove the residue completely. If you are one of those, you can use some shaving cream instead. With its light and fluffy texture, your carpet is safe from damage.

Shaving Cream Razor
With its soft texture, shaving cream is a great candidate for cleaning nail polish 

You Will Need

  • Shaving cream
  • Hot water

You Will Do

Step 1: Rub a small portion of shaving cream into the fibers, squeezing out the nail polish.

Step 2: After a minute or two, rinse the cream away with hot water.  

Option 8: Dry Cleaning Solvent

No luck with laundry detergent? It’s time to level up your cleaning game with a more potent product, such as dry cleaning solvent. Likewise, the product you choose should not contain bleach and is not flammable. You don’t want the issue to get worse!

You Will Need

  • Dry cleaning solvent
  • Sponge or old toothbrush
  • Cloth rags or paper towels

You Will Do

Step 1: Work about a teaspoon of the solvent into the carpet fibers using a sponge. An old toothbrush should produce the same effect. Scrub continuously, and the stain will begin to come off.

Step 2: Leave it on for 10 minutes once you are done with the scrubbing. Then, repeat the first step, this time dampen the scrubbing tool with a little water.

Step 3: Since the solvent is a powder form, finish the procedure by running the vacuum to soak up the remaining particles.   

Option 9: Citrus Solvent

Citrus solvent is another choice that works like a charm on nail polish stains. Fresh or dried, small or large, they will quickly go away when this amazing cleaning product is at your hand.

You Will Need

  • Dry cleaning solvent
  • Sponge or old toothbrush
  • Cloth rags or paper towels

You Will Do

In short, you will use this solvent in the same manner like how you would with option 7.

Note: If you have a liquid citrus solvent, remove the solution with towels instead. 

Option 10: Ammonia-Based Window Cleaner

Skip the solvents should you not be able to find them. Instead, look for an ammonia-based window cleaner, which can effortlessly lift the nail polish stain so long as you have enough patience.

You Will Need

  • Ammonia-based window cleaner or pure ammonia
  • Cloth rags or paper towels

You Will Do

Step 1: Spray a cloth rag with the window cleaning solution. It should not be soaking wet.

Step 2: Scrub the stain with extreme caution. To prevent unwanted damage, you can test beforehand on an inconspicuous area.

Step 3: If the stain refuses to get out, resort to pure ammonia. The solution can be a little invasive with delicate materials, so you are well-advised to dilute a teaspoon of it with one cup of water before using it.

Step 4: Once the stains are out, give your carpet a thorough rinse.

Option 11: Hydrogen Peroxide

With more stubborn stains, you will need to bring in the big guns. In this case, it’s no other than hydrogen peroxide, which can reverse the damage in a blink. Still, it is not something you want to use on dark-colored carpets since discoloration is likely to occur.

Formula Hydrogen Peroxide Cleaning
Take preventative measures when you use hydrogen peroxide

You Will Need

  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Warm water
  • Cloth rags or paper towels

You Will Do

Step 1: Combine hydrogen peroxide with warm water in a 1:3 ratio. Hot water should never be used as it can make the stain set in even more.

Step 2: Dip a clean cloth or paper towels into the solution. Be careful not to let it touch your hands. Then, work the solution onto the stain with circular motions.

Step 3: Similar to other options, you will finish your cleaning job with a quick rinse.

Note: Hydrogen peroxide is only recommended on light-colored carpets.

Option 12: WD-40

If all else fails, your last resort is WD-40, an effective lubricant that always lives up to every expectation. In other words, it does not know failure.

You Will Need

  • WD-40
  • Cloth rags or paper towels

You Will Do

Step 1: Spray WD-40 on a cloth rag or directly on the stain.

Step 2: Wipe off the nail polish with the rag. Avoid applying too much pressure, or WD-40 will permeate the padding.

Step 3: Rinse, rinse, and rinse until the solution is removed from the surface.

Option 13: Windex

Many people know Windex as a glass cleaner, but this cleaning staple can also easily put the shine back on vinyl, steel, and chrome surfaces. Indeed, getting nail polish out of upholstery is just a cushy job for this product.

You Will Need

  • Windex
  • Cloth rags or paper towels

You Will Do

Step 1: Give the nail polish some good spritzes of Windex. Wait for about a minute or two.

Step 2: Once the time is up, wipe the cleaner off with a washcloth or a paper towel. Rinse with cold water carefully, or the remaining solution will capture dirt and other small particles.   

Option 14: Steam Cleaning

Steam cleaning is perhaps one of the best cleaning devices that can help you overcome any difficulties. It can clean, sanitize, and dry your carpet with just a push of a button.

Should you not have it at home, you can rent one from your local Home Depot. Then, run it over the nail polish spot and wait for the magic to happen. Even the toughest ones will evaporate thanks to the steam, so you should not be concerned. The result will be splendid!

Option 15: Trimming

Yes, you heard me. As much as you love your faux fur carpet, it’s time to say goodbye (to some parts of it) if the nail polish gets stuck in the fibers. This method does wonders if you have a deep-pile carpet.

You Will Need

  • Sharp scissors
  • Vacuum

You Will Do

Separate the affected fibers from the rest with your hands. After that, cut the threads using sharp scissors. Remove them later with the vacuum. You should only apply this trick if you have run out of hope, as it can ruin the carpet’s curb appeal if the trim is too obvious.     

Carpet Restoration After Nail Polish Removal

You are almost done, my friend. Before you sit back and be mesmerized by the carpet’s new look, I will show you how to rinse, dry, and deodorize it after a cleaning session. It should be quick, believe me.   


Even if you are a careful person, the chances are that you will miss some residual nail polish on the carpet. Hence, once you have done the cleaning, rinse your carpet with a soapy solution one last time. For more extensive treatment, turn to a carpet cleaner or shampoo.


Now, your carpet is set to dry. Every expert agrees that air-drying is the quickest way. Yet, if the weather is not conducive, you can run a fan or an air conditioning system at the highest setting. Check your carpet after a few hours to determine whether it has become fully dry.

Steam Cleaner In Action
A steam cleaner is super efficient in drying carpeting 


When chemical stuff is involved, your carpet will become odoriferous later. A classic choice for deodorizing carpets is baking soda, which possesses excellent absorbent properties. (1) Another option to counteract the smell is a solution made from vinegar and water. 

More Tips For Your DIY Nail Polish Cleaning Project

Who doesn’t like tips? They make your life easier, particularly when nail polish is involved and leaves a mess behind for you. If such accidents happen again in the future, take cues from these useful tips to make your job more pleasant.

  • Don protective gear: Chemical sprays like hairspray or WD-40 can irritate your eyes and skin. For safety reasons, feel free to put on an air mask and a pair of gloves. You had better be safe than sorry.
  • Carry out a spot test: Discoloration or shrinkage is bound to occur with certain types of carpet, so you are highly recommended to do a spot test. Apply a small amount of the product you use on a hidden corner to find out whether it’s safe to continue. 
  • Skim through the label: Some products will have to be diluted before use. Thus, it’s necessary to read through every word on the label to ensure that you are on the right track. 
  • Do not go overboard: Using solvents or harsh chemicals is like playing with fire. You will have to be highly cautious, or the issue will hit the skids. A tremendous amount of such products can eat through the fibers and even the underlayer.  
  • Repeated attempts are sometimes needed: If you are out of luck, some nail polish spots will take you even hours to remove. Nonetheless, the light is always at the end of the tunnel. Keep on trying, and the nail polish will eventually surrender to the effort.
  • Avoid wetting through the backing: Overwetting leads to more severe issues than just carpet damage. When moisture is trapped underneath, it’s the warning that mold, mildew, and other harmful bacteria are about to attack your health.

At times, you will have to accept that homemade remedies don’t work. You have given your best shot, though, so don’t be sad. Now, you’d better hand the job over to an expert to save your carpet. There’s no point trying in vain.


Dazed and confused? Check out the following section to find out more details on getting nail polish out of your carpet.

Do I need to dilute rubbing alcohol before using it to clean nail polish from my carpet?

No, you don’t. The same thing goes with dry cleaning and citrus solvent, which can be used right away without diluting beforehand.

Will bleach work as a nail polish remover on dark carpets?

Many people resort to bleach when removing stains, but I suggest you skip it and try other options instead. When used even in a tiny amount, bleach can discolor your carpet. In the worst-case scenario, it can damage the padding and destroy your carpet entirely.

My nail polish remover says that it contains dye on the label. Is it still safe to use it so long as it does not include acetone?

Even though your nail polish remover passes the first requirement, which is acetone-free, it’s still not a viable option for carpet cleaning. Colored nail polish can easily leave stains on your carpet, so you should go with translucent products instead.

Can I use other alcohol-based products (body spray, perfume, etc.) for this job?

Yes, as isopropyl alcohol is often found in most nail polish removers. (2) Nonetheless, it’s not a good idea to seek help from these products since they are not effective. Plus, I believe that you don’t want to waste your stuff on such a job.

Should I use the trimming method on my low-pile carpet?

I don’t suggest doing so. Low-pile carpets can make the trim too apparent, even from afar. It looks as if your carpet has gone bald!

It says on the label that my hairspray contains tree oil. Is it safe to proceed with it?

Unfortunately, the answer is no. Most essential oils will leave ugly stains on colored carpets, so you should skip the product and go with something else.

Which options can be used on light-colored carpets?

With carpets in white, beige, or neutral shades, your best bet is a nail polish remover (of course, it has to be non-acetone). On the flip side, using hairspray or rubbing alcohol will minimize the risk of bleaching on dark-colored carpets.

Experiment With These Tricks And Be Amazed

Yes, that’s all you need to know about how to get nail polish out of the carpet with no fuss. From now on, you will never cry over spilled nail polish anymore. Don’t be shy to experiment with different options to find out which one’s the most perfect for your lovely carpet.

Now, it’s your turn to share with other readers and me some tips you know about getting nail polish out of the carpet. I’m looking forward to reading all of your comments. And finally, I wish you luck with the work!

Get Nail Polish Out Of Carpet


  1. ACS Axial. 2021. The Science of Baking Soda. [online] Available at: <>.
  2. 2021. Nail Polish and Enamel and Removers | Cosmetics Info. [online] Available at: <>.

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Kevin Jones

Kevin Jones

Home Cleaning Specialist

Expertise: In-depth Knowledge of Cleaning Agents and Their Uses, Advanced Home Sanitization, Techniques Expertise in Cleaning and Maintaining, Various Floor Types, Innovations in Home Cleaning Tools

School: American College of Home Economics

Kevin Jones is a seasoned home cleaning specialist with over a decade of experience in the industry. A stickler for cleanliness and organization, Kevin brings a systematic and innovative approach to home maintenance. His expertise ranges from traditional methods to modern cleaning technology, ensuring homes are not just clean but healthy environments too.

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