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Nail polish on your clothes? Here’s how to get it out.

Last Updated: April 22, 2021

We’ve all been there — you were in a hurry to freshen up your manicure before going out and your nail polish bottle took a tumble. Or maybe your kid was practicing nail art on the sofa and had a “little” accident. No matter how or where it happened, we’ve got a way to get the nail polish out. Slay stains with success with this comprehensive nail polish removal guide.

Is nail polish bad for you?

We at Grove love a natural product (Check out these natural nail polishes!), but are natural nail polishes actually better for you?

According to the Harvard Health Blog, "Studies have shown that chemicals in [non-natural] nail polish can be absorbed into the body. But the exact amount of absorption, and whether it is enough to have negative health effects, are not well established." Natural is always a safe bet if you want to avoid any chemicals coming in contact with your body.

What is Grove Collaborative?

From natural household to personal care, everything at Grove is healthier for you and the planet — and works! We recommend monthly shipments and product refills that you can edit or move at any time. No monthly fees or commitments required.

What you’ll need to remove nail polish from clothes

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First things first, gather your supplies. To remove nail polish from most fabrics, you’ll need:

Tips and tricks for removing nail polish stains

You’ve got nail polish in a place it shouldn’t be, and you want it gone? We’re here to help. Set yourself up for success with our hot tips on polish removal.

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Stay calm.

As alarming as it is to have bright orange nail polish on your favorite sweater, don’t get your tinsel in a tangle over it. Stressing out isn’t going to make the stain any easier to remove so stay calm, and let’s carry on.

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Be gentle!

Use tender blots to get the stain up instead of harsh rubs. You’re trying to get nail polish out of your clothes, not rub a knot out in your partner’s back. Rubbing embeds the stain deeper into the fabric fibers and makes it that much harder to remove.

Let it dry.

Wait for the nail polish to dry before you try removing it, even if you catch the stain while the polish is still wet. Attempting to remove a wet stain could spread the polish, creating a bigger stain – and this is one instance where bigger isn’t better.


How do I get nail polish to dry quicker?

If the nail polish is still wet, use an ice pack to chill the area. Icing the stain will dry and contain it before it gets the chance to spread.

How do you get nail polish stains out?

We’ve got some proven methods to help you remove nail polish from just about anything. With a few simple products, a little patience, and a smattering of elbow grease, you can banish these stubborn stains for good. Before you start stain busting, make sure the nail polish is dry — and always spot-test cleaners on an inconspicuous area first.

Depending on the material, you can use non-acetone nail polish remover, rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, dish soap, or baking soda to clean up the mess.. Below are the best approaches for removing nail polish from just about anything.

How to get nail polish out of clothes

To get nail polish out of your clothes, begin by testing a small area of your garment with nail polish remover. If the remover is too strong, switch to hydrogen peroxide. Dip a microfiber cloth in the cleaner, then blot the nail polish until it’s gone.

Got a really big stain? Use tweezers to gently pull excess dried polish from the fibers before going in with your remover.

How to get nail polish out of carpet

Run, don’t walk, if you’ve got nail polish on your carpet. These stains set quickly and can be permanent if left for too long.

Dip a microfiber cloth in nail polish remover or rubbing alcohol, and gently blot the spill until the nail polish has been absorbed. Use a little dish soap in lukewarm water to get rid of any lingering polish.

How to get nail polish out of fabric and upholstery

Grab your dish soap and squirt a tablespoon of it into a bowl filled with lukewarm water. Dip your microfiber cloth into the solution and, bit by bit, blot the stain until it's gone.

If the stain puts up a fight, pull out the big guns — baking soda. Make a paste of baking soda and water, apply it to the stain, let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes, then blot it off with a clean, damp microfiber cloth.

How to get nail polish out of couches

Cherry red nail polish on your white couch, eh? Don’t panic.

Dip a clean cloth in a little hydrogen peroxide, and dab at the stain until it disappears. Use dish soap and lukewarm water to pull up any cherry-red leftovers.

How to get nail polish out of leather/suede

Oh, no! Not the leather jacket! It’s okay — we know what to do.

Reach for the rubbing alcohol, and pour a little on a microfiber cloth. Blot, blot, blot until the stain is safely removed and your leather goods are blemish-free.

When should you seek professional cleaning help?

Read the manufacturer’s label on your clothes or upholstery to see what the fabric content is. If the item in question is made of wool or silk, don’t even try to remove the stain yourself.

There’s no at-home stain removal method that’s safe for these fabrics. Instead, take them to the dry cleaner’s, and let the professionals handle it.


The Holey Trinity

Is your stained item made of acetate, triacetate, or modacrylic? Nail polish removers that contain acetone dissolve these materials, leaving gaping holes that can’t be repaired.

Always opt for non-acetone nail polish to remove stains, and when in doubt, take it to a professional.

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Spills happen, but Grove Collaborative has you covered with Stain Busters. Each week, we’ll tell you how to tackle a different tough stain around the home or on your clothes. Red wine, grass stains, ink ... no stubborn stain is a match for our grime-busting guides.