Getting a manicure and pedicure is one of my favorite ways to treat myself after a tough week. But during the pandemic, I’ve had to replace my trips to the nail salon with at-home manicures and pedicures.
I definitely don’t have the same skills as my nail technician of choice. But I have enjoyed relaxing on the floor of my living room with my nail care kit and applying my Essie beige pink nail polish while bingeing episodes of Schitt’s Creek.
However, I did have one moment of panic when I accidentally spilled my pink polish on my plush, white carpet. It’s no secret that spilling nail polish on carpet can leave terrible stains. The only thing worse would have been to knock over my glass of pinot noir.
I knew I had to take care of it right away because the fresher the spill, the easier it is to clean. Here’s how you get nail polish out of carpet.
A Number of Household Products Can Get Nail Polish Out of Carpet
Before you attempt to touch the nail polish stain on your carpet, check your cupboards to see what household products you have. Grab everything from this list that you can find:
- Non-Acetone Nail Polish Remover – If your nail polish remover isn’t acetone-free, leave it in the cabinet. Acetone can cause discoloration and damage to your carpet.
- Rubbing Alcohol – This works in a similar way to nail polish remover. If you don’t have a non-acetone nail polish remover, rubbing alcohol breaks down nail polish.
- Hairspray – Because it contains alcohol, hairspray can dissolve nail polish. If your hairspray is alcohol-free, it won’t work.
- Hydrogen Peroxide – This works for light-colored carpet. If you have a darker-colored carpet, skip the hydrogen peroxide because it acts like bleach and can cause damage and discoloration.
- Ammonia-Based Window Cleaner – This is surprisingly one of the most effective ways to remove nail polish from carpet.
- Carpet Stain Remover – If you have some handy, it’s definitely worth a try.
- Baking Soda and Ginger Ale – This combination works together. Having just one of these ingredients won’t do the trick.
How to Get Wet Nail Polish Out of Carpet
When you have a fresh nail polish spill, avoid the temptation of rubbing the spot without pre-treating it first. As Little Things points out, if you try to scrub it out with a cloth or paper towel, all you will end up doing is spreading the polish across the carpet fibers. You will also massage it deeper into the carpet, and that will force it to set even faster.
1. Scoop up as much polish as you can
Very carefully—without spreading it or pushing it into the carpet—try to scoop up as much of the polish as you can.
2. Gently blot the stain with a paper towel or clean dishcloth
After scooping up what you can, use a dry paper towel or dishcloth to gently dab the stain. Do this until no more polish appears to be coming off the carpet. Remember, don’t rub! If you rub the polish it will push it further into the carpet.
3. Do a patch test
This is where your household products come into play. Find an inconspicuous spot and do a patch test first before using the products on the stain. Possible spots could be behind a door or underneath a piece of furniture. Choose the one you want to try first and pour or spray a tiny amount and let it sit for a few minutes. If your carpet isn’t damaged or discolored, it’s time to tackle the stain.
4. Pour or spray the product onto a clean towel or cloth
Instead of pouring or spraying the product directly on the carpet, you want to put your preferred product on a cotton ball, clean paper towel, or cloth. Then, use that to blot the polish stain (no rubbing). You don’t want to oversaturate your carpet.
If you use different parts of the cloth during this process, make sure you aren’t spreading the stain. If you are using cotton balls, keep rotating in new ones with fresh polish remover or rubbing alcohol.
If your spill is too big and this method isn’t working, pour or spray some of the cleaning product directly onto the carpet. Continue blotting until none of the nail polish appears to come out anymore.
5. Wash the carpet with soap and warm water
For this step, you will need a clean bowl filled with warm water and a few drops of soap. You can use dishwashing liquid, carpet cleaner, or laundry soap, and you will need a fresh cloth or sponge for this step.
Dip the cloth or sponge into the soapy water and then ring it out. Now it’s time to start scrubbing. Make sure to keep going until you’ve gotten all of the cleaning products out of the carpet.
6. Rinse with warm water
Finally, get another clean sponge or cloth and dip into a fresh bowl of warm water. Ring it out and gently rub the carpet until the soap is gone.
7. Dry it out
For the final step, use a clean towel to soak up all of the water in the carpet. If you have a fan handy, set it up to blow directly at the wet spot. You can also use a stack of paper towels by placing them on top of the wet carpet and adding something heavy on top. Let those sit for about half an hour.
How to Get Nail Polish Out of Carpet When It’s Already Dried
If you have an old nail polish stain on your carpet, you can still get rid of it. In fact, you can pretty much use the same method for dry stains as you can for wet. The only difference is you have to change a couple of steps at the beginning.
Instead of scooping up wet nail polish and blotting it with a paper towel, get a spoon or knife to remove as much of the dried nail polish as you can. You can also use your fingers. When you’re done, sweep or vacuum the stained area.
Next, wet the area with warm water using either a sponge or cloth. Then, it’s time for the patch test, and the rest of the cleaning steps remain the same.
Also remember that with shaggy carpets and textured rugs, you can trim the spot with scissors if some nail polish won’t come off the ends of the carpet fibers. If you can carefully separate the threads for a little trim of the affected pieces, scissors will work. But if you have low-pile carpet, be careful. Getting carried away with scissors can leave you with a bald spot.
Spilling nail polish on your carpet doesn’t mean you’ll have a permanent stain. If you act quickly and grab a few products sitting around your house, you can have that spot on your carpet looking fresh and clean in no time.
Even if the stain has been there for a while, you can still get it out. All you have to do is switch out the first two steps of the cleaning process.