How to Get Nail Polish Out of Carpet (Before the Landlord Sees It)

I don't know about you, but painting my nails is like asking for a disaster to happen. From an uneven DIY paint job to strong fumes, it can truly be a pain. But the most dreaded nightmare is accidentally spilling excess nail polish on the carpet. In the past, I would immediately reach for a rag and rub the nail polish stain only to learn that it made the mess worse.

If there is spilled nail polish on your carpet, the first items you grab are key. Your nails will still probably be wet, but you must act fast! Keep reading to learn several methods on how to get fingernail polish stains out of your carpet.

How to Get Nail Polish Out of Carpet

First Things First:

Clean up the fresh nail polish stain the same moment you see it. The more time that passes, the more difficult it will be to remove.

If the polish is still wet...

Reach for a paper towel and blot the nail polish stain until you don't see anything coming off of the carpet anymore. Rubbing and wiping the wet nail polish stain will only make the stain harder to remove.

If the polish is dry...

Grab a dull knife, such as a butter knife, scrape off as much dried nail polish as you can.

The Hair Spray Method

Fortunately, sometimes the items needed to remove a nail polish stain are already at home. Disclaimer: you may need to sacrifice a few sprays of your favorite hairspray for this method.

Wet the spilled polish with cold water and then spray around 10-15 pumps of hairspray on the spill. Make sure the hairspray contains alcohol as an ingredient. Next, follow up with about three small drops of rubbing alcohol (the bigger the stain, the more rubbing alcohol). Afterward, grab a small scrub brush or a toothbrush to scrub the nail polish stain for about a minute.

Add more splashes of cold water to the stained area. Repeat until the stain is gone. Check out this tutorial below on how the hair spray method is done:

via Popsugar Youtube

The Non-Acetone Nail Polish Remover Method

Non-Acetone Nail Polish Remover
Amazon

Before you proceed with this method, grab a cotton ball and soak it with non-acetone nail polish remover. Take the cotton ball and lightly dab the nail polish spill. Next, switch between blotting with the cotton ball and a clean white cloth. This will help absorb the remover while lifting the stain. Be careful not to oversaturate the carpet fibers.

Dabbing the spot with a fresh cotton ball and clean cloth until the stain is gone is key to avoiding smearing and smudging the stain. It will take some time for the stain to get out, but remain patient and keep doing this method and repeating it until it's gone.

The Dry Cleaning Solvent Method

Alba Industrial Strength Spot Remover
Amazon

This stain removal method can be a carpet-saver! Spot treat the stain with a very small amount (about a teaspoon) of the dry cleaning solvent. Next, blot the stain with a clean cloth or an old toothbrush. Let the solvent soak in for a couple of minutes and then use a wet rag to clean up the dry cleaning solvent and stain. Lastly, wipe the area down with a dry, clean cloth.

You may want to use a vacuum to remove any carpet cleaning residue once it has dried. This method may require you to go beyond what is already in your cabinets. You can purchase this dry cleaning solvent from Amazon.

The Vinegar and Baking Soda Method

Baking soda and vinegar have rarely let me down when it comes to getting rid of a stain and cleaning things.

To use the vinegar method:

  • Wet the affected area through and through with the vinegar
  • Next, place a paper towel soaked in vinegar on top of the stain
  • Let it sit for 10 minutes and blot or scrub the stain until it is gone

If using the baking soda method:

  • Sprinkle baking soda over the area and make sure it is covered all the way
  • Next, you may want to take a sip before you pour ginger ale, yes ginger ale, on top of the area and let it sit for about 10 minutes
  • Scrub lightly until the stain is gone then clean up everything with a wet rag

When Worst Comes to Worst

When you have exhausted all of your options, you may need to call in a carpet cleaning professional. Professionals typically have industrial machines that can get the stain right out for you. You can also try products such as Goo Gone or Spot Shot, but it is smart to test out a tiny patch to gauge how it will affect your carpet.

Spot Shot Professional Instant Carpet Stain Remover with Trigger Spray, 32 OZ

Spot Shot Professional Instant Carpet Stain Remover
Amazon

Although I have never personally tested Spot Shot, I hear it is the bee's knees when it comes to cleaning products. It is professional-grade and claims to remove even the toughest carpet stains without even having to scrub or vacuum.

Check out this customer review below on how Spot Shot helped with their nail polish stains:

spot shot customer review
Amazon

"This spray was a Godsend. I have a 4 year old and she decided to spill blue nail polish all over the carpet. I thought for sure I was going to have to pay for a high priced carpet cleaning company to get it out. I tried to remove it myself at first with some convential carpet cleaner spray that I bought from Walmart with no luck. It merely smeared it around and made it a bit worse. I let it sit for about a week and then ordered this spray. I figured I didn't have much to lose. To my amazement it began coming out right away! I wish I took some before pictures to show the results but I will say this stuff is legit! It will definitely be staying around in my cleaning supplies!"

Sources: Country Living, Good Housekeeping

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