There are a multitude of stains that can ruin a garment, and nail polish is right at the top of that list. So if you inadvertently painted your favorite shirt instead of your toes with nail polish, how do you remove it?
Here’s a simple step-by-step guide for removing nail polish from clothing:
Assemble your needed items: high-quality paper towels (in my experience, they don’t leave little paper bits all over your garment), nail polish remover, a hard surface to work on.
Make sure that the nail polish is dry. If you try to work with it while it is wet, you run the risk of spreading it on the garment and creating a bigger stain.
Fold a couple of paper towels on top of one another several times. You need multiple layers of paper towels for this step. Then place the stain on top of the folded paper towels.
Now you have a choice. You can either 1.) pour nail polish directly on top of the stain or 2.) Saturate another paper towel with nail polish and dab it onto the stain. If your garment is fragile or delicate at all, I would definitely choose option #2.
The goal here is to pour on polish remover and use another paper towel to dab, dab and dab again to slowly remove the stain. Do not rub the stain – you only want to dab it. Each time you touch the stain, use a fresh part of the paper towel. You don’t want to smear polish anywhere else on the garment.
Continue to use fresh remover and fresh paper towels until you are satisfied with how well the stain has come out.
It helps to dab on the front and the back of the stain since the polish saturates all of the fibers on the garment.
After you’ve removed the polish to your satisfaction, launder the item as you normally would in the washing machine. It probably has quite a bit of polish remover in the fibers at this point, so wash it only with old, clean rags (to balance the machine) or either alone.
This method is probably going to take a lot of polish remover, a moderate amount of time and quite a few paper towels.
Note: Polish remover can damage some materials, especially those fabrics like acetate. If you consider your garment to be ‘ruined’ with the polish stain on it, it won’t hurt to try the polish remover method. However, if you are still unsure, put a small amount of remover on a Q-tip and dab the inside of the seam. If you have any trouble with a change in color or density of the fibers, you’ll know that the remover is not safe for your garment.
Taylor at Stain-Removal-101.com
Love the pictures, this is helpful info. Just so you know, the chemical composition of acetate is such that it is actually melted or dissolved by acetone, so definitely be careful. You also need to be very careful if you try to use acetone on wool, silk or rayon.
There are also some stain removers are the market designed to remove nail polish, not just fingernail polish remover. The one that comes to mind is Carbona Stain Devil #1. However, many of them also can’t be used on delicate fabrics so sometimes it isn’t worth buying them.
Taylor, such excellent advice! Thank you for sharing all of that. 😉 Well, you are all about Stain Removal, after all!
mmm .. my 17 year old just split nail polish on her brand new silver sequined Tom’s shoes. It was a Sally Hansen nail art pen that “exploded” when she touched the tip. I’ve tried dabbing the shoes with polish remover but I’m not having much luck 🙁
Phoebe @ Getting Freedom
Thanks for this! My daughter has a couple spots on her comforter. Can’t wait to try it!
Did you try hair spray or aftershave lotion ?
They both contain plenty of alcohol and should be able to lift away the nail polish from clothes and fabric. I was able to clean dried nail polish on wooden furniture using aftershave lotion. Seemed to work fine.
Excellent tip, Jim! Thanks!