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How to Get Nail Polish out of Clothes? (8 Easy Ways)

By Sejla Selimovic
April 21, 2023
6 minutes

Applying nail polish is a fun and exciting activity at home. Still, the problem arises during certain accidents, such as spilling nail polish on clothes or some other fabric. It is inevitable for this to happen to each of us sometimes since the nail polish packages are small bottles, and therefore it is easy to knock them down.

The first thing we do under pressure and the rush of an accident have rubbed the stain with our fingers, but soon we find out that we’ve only done worse! Please don’t do it anymore. Stay calm and be gentle – learn to easily and effectively remove nail polish stains.

Preventively reduce the chances of such accidents by doing your manicure at home in a space that is isolated from any fabric (table or floor), or in old clothes, that is, one that you wouldn’t want to destroy or that you don’t wear outside. Whether you have messed up your clothes or some other fabric in the house, such as a rug or sofa, it is important to react quickly, but also smartly.

Dos and don’ts

We’ve all been there, haven’t we? The bright seasonal nail color is irresistible, but not on our favorite dress. Start with yourself, take a deep breath, and focus on calmness. Otherwise, you can make it worse. Whatever you do next on removing it, please don’t be harsh and patient. You will be more effective, careful, and precise with a clear head and a normal heart rate.

How to remove nail polish from clothes

Here’s an important suggestion: could you get to know the material of your clothes/fabric? Step one is ensuring the product you choose is safe for the fabric. Unfortunately, there are consequences of dissolving paint from clothes when removing nail polish, but most materials allow easy removal.

The most common material and fabric types are synthetic fabrics such as nylon or polyester. Other types of fabrics, for example, cotton, linen, silk, denim, or wool from which prom or wedding dresses are made, can sometimes be risky to remove nail polish, so you have to make sure that they are not around and that expensive clothing is always packed up safely.

1. Wiping wet nail polish with paper towels

This is a technique that many are familiar with and the first one we reach for. You will always have paper towels or toilet paper in your house. Grab two pieces of paper towel, and place them on both sides of part of the clothes with stain. Press the stain gently and wait a minute or two for the stain to absorb. Remember that this technique only works if the nail polish stain is wet.

2. Using nail polish removers

using nail polish removers

The next thing(s) are simple nail polish removers – acetone, alcohol, and hydrogen peroxide. After you have checked on the label whether the material of your clothes is suitable for these products, apply it to the stain, and rub it in gentle circular movements with the help of a small brush.

Place a paper towel under the stain again to protect the other side of the garment. First, test the product on parts that are not visible, or that can be hidden.

3. Washing clothes in the washing machine

Some of the washing machines support the removal of chemical stains. One of the very easy ways to clean your clothes from nail polish is to wash them in the washing machine.

Don’t forget to read the composition and recommendations on your laundry detergent, which sometimes has chemical elements that remove this stain. The next step is, of course, to check the material.

4. Soaking clothes in mixed ingredients

soaking clothes in mixed ingredients

One old-school technique for removing any stains, even those caused by everyday things, would be to soak the clothes according to grandma’s recipe. Baking soda dissolved in slightly warm water, some vinegar, and a little hydrogen peroxide goes a long way. We think you should test the mixture by soaking an old piece of clothing, especially to check its intensity of it in case of excessive addition of some of the ingredients.

5. Icing the nail polish

Just as you would remove chewing gum from clothing by treating it with a low temperature, you can also do this to a nail polish stain. Fold the clothing so the stain is on top and put it in the freezer. Or take 2 pieces of ice cubes and leave them on the stain until they melt. Soon, the stain will be frozen, and you will be able to remove it. Note that this method will work on leather, but maybe not on other materials.

6. Dry-clean

Consider that time plays an important role in the methods mentioned so far. The nail polish will soak into the fabric the longer you wait. Overall, you have no reason to be sad. Nothing is too dirty or almost impossible to remove at the dry-cleans. Sometimes, the label on the clothing does not show all the necessary information, or by chance, we do not have the required items for removing nail polish, do not hesitate to put your trust in professionals.

How to get nail polish out of fabric

You will find that all these methods of removing nail polish from the clothes we mentioned will work and be effective in other fabrics, such as carpets, sofas, or blankets. It’s a little more demanding and trickier but not impossible.

1. Try the same methods

Everything you need you already know, and that’s paper towels, clean cloth, and non-acetone nail polish remover. You will want to go first with acetone-free removers so that no discoloration or bleach follows. Use a clean paper towel to absorb polish by blotting action. Get a little help with dishwasher soap by adding it to cool water and continue blotting the stain. Be sure to remove the stain from the outside towards the center, not where there is the most nail polish.

2. Detailed cleaning

We cannot emphasize enough how important it is to check the content of your material, your nail polish removers, and the detergents you intend to use in these accidents. Do not take any action if you can not find any of the requested information – at the end of the day, professionals do their best. You can call your local laundries that offer a detailed cleaning service at home and get on with your day without panicking or worrying.


Be sure that these accidents happen to everyone, and you are not alone. So, get all the materials mentioned above to remove nail polish stains. It is not very difficult to deal with the removal of these stains. If nothing happens, repeat the process, especially if the polish has dried.

Preventively, you may also pay attention to the label when buying clothes or fabric to immediately know what you are dealing with and whether you can bring any nail polish even close to this material. We also recommend that you make yourself a mini kit for these accidents, or separate one drawer in the room for these tools.

It is not shameful to seek the help of a professional if you did not dare to do something yourself -they have much better and more effective tools for managing and removing stains without consequences. Although it is familiar that accidents also happen in dry cleans, causing our clothes to bleach or get ruined somehow, know that this is not the case with nail polish stains.

Sejla Selimovic
Hi, my name is Sejla Selimovic and I am a professional manicurist and nail art technician. With a heightened sense of aesthetics and a great passion for beauty, I work on beautifying the days and nails of many ladies. With over 4 years of experience, I am the co-CEO of the beauty salon "The NN-Nailz Difference". My goal when I started doing this business was to make every dream of my dear clients come true, no matter how demanding it was. Through certified work and experience, every step of the way I ensure that my clients receive a significant, high-quality, relaxing and refreshing treatment.
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