How to Get Nail Polish Out of Carpet




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Red nail polish tipped over and spilled on to carpet.

The worst thing imaginable just happened; you spilled nail polish on your carpet while painting your nails. You start to panic and think, “how do I get nail polish out of the carpet?”. 

Nail polish, no matter what color, is one of those things that make your heart palpitate when you think of the possibility of getting it on your carpet. Or one of your favorite rugs.

First, don’t panic. We are here to help you abolish that nail polish stain from your carpet or beloved rug. 

If you have a dried nail polish stain that won’t budge, contact  TLC Cleaning to get the job done. We will get your carpets clean and stain-free while you finish your polish job.

How to Get Nail Polish Out of Carpet: Blot Don’t Smudge

Some wearing a pink rubber cleaning gloev trying to figure out how to get nail polish out of carpet

If the spill just took place, grab some paper towels and gently blot up any excess nail polish. Take care not to smudge, scrub, or smear the remaining nail polish. Doing so will only spread the existing stain and drive it further into the carpet fibers. 

If the polish is already dry, use a dull knife to scrape off excess before bringing out the cleaning solutions.

Always Do a Patch Test

A man doing a patch test on his carpet when figuring out how to get nail polish out of carpet

Testing your solution and assessing what it does to your carpet or rug is essential when choosing a cleaning solution. 

No matter what solution you use, you should do a patch test on your rug or carpet first. It is best to do a small, barely visible area for the test. If you see any color transfer on your clean cloth or discoloration, change your solution.

Try Pantry Staples Vinegar and Baking Soda

Vinegar and baking soda with a sponge and yellow, rubber cleaning gloves.

You read that right; in some cases baking soda and vinegar can be a solution for how to get nail polish out of carpet, depending on the type of carpet you have. 

Vinegar: Use plain white vinegar and soak the stain entirely. Once saturated, place a vinegar-soaked paper towel over the stain and let the solution sit for ten minutes. After ten minutes of soaking in the solution, gently blot the area until the stain is removed. 

Baking soda: Generously sprinkle baking soda onto the polish stained area. Once covered, soak the area with club soda and allow the mixture to sit for ten minutes. Then gently scrub and blot the stain until lifted. Once removed, rinse the area with warm water and rag or a carpet cleaner.

Common Household Cleaners 

Depending on your carpet, baking soda or vinegar might not do the trick. If this is the case, two common household cleaners have shown results: Windex and Goo Gone.

Good Ol’ Nail Polish Remover

A woman pouring blue nail polish remover on to a cotton round.

Before you grab your 100% acetone nail polish remover and slosh it all over the stain, there are a few caveats. Acetone is a powerful solvent that can potentially chew through the fibers of your carpet or leave it discolored. 

You want to use a small amount of the non-acetone, dye-free nail polish remover. This solution can be very effective on light or white colored carpets. 

Apply the solution to a corner of a cleaning cloth, cotton ball, or paper towel and gently dab the stain. Be mindful not to scrub the stain into unaffected areas. 

(Pro Tip: Nail polish remover is most effective on a fresh stain, so be quick. Don’t forget your patch test!) 

Products You Can Find in Your Bathroom

A woman reading the back of a hairspray bottle

Time to check under your bathroom sink. Your solution for how to get nail polish out of carpet could be there – hairspray and rubbing alcohol. 

It’s important to note these solutions work best on dried stains. Dampen the stain with cold water, generously spray with hairspray, and follow up with about three splashes of alcohol. 

Once you apply the solution to the carpet, gently scrub with a toothbrush for about sixty seconds. Slowly add more water as you scrub. Once you notice the stain is lifting, blot dry. 

Does the Color of the Carpet matter?

Carpet samples of different colors

As a general rule, different solutions work best depending on the color of your carpet. But this is why it is crucial to do a patch test to see for yourself. 

Dark: For dark carpet, it is better to use hairspray and rubbing alcohol. Using nail polish remover, you may risk bleaching your carpet. 

Light: As mentioned earlier, non-acetone nail polish remover works best on light or white colored carpets. Just make sure you’re using one that is dye-free, or you’ll risk dying your white carpet!

However, no matter your carpet’s color, it is important to keep them stain-free and clean to keep your home warm and healthy!

Kitchen Dish Soap

Purple dish soap being poured out of the plastic bottle

You can mix up a small amount of dish soap with water, but this method is best when combined with one of the other solutions. The smell of the dish soap will help combat the strong odors from the other solutions. 

If you are going to use dish soap, make sure there is not an excessive amount of bubbles in the mixture. The bubbles and surfactants in the soaps will make it hard to see if the stain is being lifted. 

Stubborn Stains Got You Down?

A man frustrated with stains in his dirty laundry

The truth is that there are just some stains that are better off left to the professionals. Depending on the fibers of your carpet and the size of the stain, you may struggle to lift the stain yourself. 

If you’re in the Fargo, Grand Forks, North Dakota, or Detroit Lakes, Minnesota area, TLC Cleaning can help with stubborn stains. Let us do what we love and worry about those impossible stains for you!

Contact us for your free cleaning quote today.

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