How to Get Nail Polish Off Just About Anything

  • Nail polish contains solvents that can stain most surfaces.
  • If you act fast, you can get polish out of everything from clothing to skin.
  • Most solutions can be found in your home, like hairspray and rubbing alcohol.

In every life, a little nail polish must fall. As such, that often leads to the inevitable stain, especially since most polish formulas contain certain chemicals and solvents (like ethyl acetate, butyl acetate, or alcohol) that can strip just about any surface if it's left on there long enough. Plus, while it might be tempting to reach for the nail-polish remover in every scenario, that can sometimes make matters worse.

That said, just because you accidentally spilled a little nail lacquer onto your skirt, desk, couch, or carpet, that doesn't mean the stuff has to stay there for good. The faster you act, the better off you'll be, and most materials respond well to products you already have lying around the house. See our easy fixes to getting polish stains off everything — and we do mean everything — below.

How to Get Nail Polish Out of Clothing

Probably one of the most common problems, getting nail polish out of clothes is a tricky one and can be even trickier the longer you wait. Nail polish remover can be an option, but make sure to perform a spot test before you use it as the liquid can interact with some dyes and fabrics (it'll actually melt acetate) or use a This step could work on cotton and linen fabrics, for example, but you don't want to use it on delicate types like silk. No matter which fabric you're working with, if you use polish remover on your clothing, make sure to launder it directly afterward.

If you didn't discover the stain on your clothing until hours (or days) later and the nail polish has dried, use a flat and sharp object like a butter knife or orange wood stick and gently use it to lift off the lacquer. Then, proceed with the above steps as needed.

However, if nail polish remover isn't an option, try hairspray, which can help break down the lacquer. Dry cleaning solvent can also usually remove polish, so if you can't get it out at home, don't be afraid to run it down to your cleaners.

How to Get Nail Polish Out of Jeans

Whatever you do, don't rub the stain — this can make it settle into the fabric and make things worse. Instead, grab something with a hard surface, like a plastic knife or expired credit card, to scoop up the excess lacquer. Once you've gotten out as much of the polish as you can, apply a dry cleaning solvent to the area (if your jeans are white, you can also use hydrogen peroxide) and gently blot with a clean cloth until dry.

How to Get Nail Polish Out of Carpet

The first thing to consider: what color is your carpet? If it's light or white, using a non-acetone polish remover is probably your best bet. If it's dark and you're not sure about whether the dye might interact with it, try pouring on hairspray or rubbing alcohol and then blotting the polish up with a sponge or paper towels. Don't give up if the polish just seems to keep coming — you want to get every last bit out.

How to Get Nail Polish Out of Hair

If you were in a rush and ended up both ruining your nails and painting up your hair, the fix is pretty simple. If the polish is still wet, just grab some non-acetone polish remover and run it down the polished ends. If it's dry already, work some conditioner or oil gently through your hair until you can slide the polish bits out.

How to Get Nail Polish Off Skin

If you don't want to wait for the polish to

How to Get Nail Polish Off Wood Surfaces

First rule: don't use nail polish remover on wood. It actually ruins finishes and leaves new, maybe even worse looking, stains. Don't panic, though, because there's actually a really easy way to fix the polish-on-wood problem. Just spritz your polish puddle down with plenty of hairspray (we like Aqua Net, but really any formula will do), let it sit for about 20 seconds, and then wipe it off. You might need to repeat the process a few times, but it's far, far preferable to having splotchy furniture.