A Comprehensive Nail Polish Stain Removal Guide

Spilling nail polish on your carpet, clothes, or any other surface can be quite a frustrating experience. Fortunately, you can use common household products to remove nail polish stains. If you know what you are doing when attempting to remove the nail polish stains, you can easily get rid of them quickly and effectively.

You should however be ready to take a hands-on approach. In addition, different household items require different cleaning agents. Here is a comprehensive nail polish removal guide for different surfaces/materials.

Non-Washable Fibers

If you would like to remove nail polish from silk, rayon, wool, or fiberglass, you should first use a dull knife to scrape off any excess polish. Once you do this, you then need to apply a dry spotter to the stain and use an absorbent pad to cover the affected area.

You should then allow this to stand while the stain removal is underway. You should keep the pad moist during the process. You should then flush the stain after doing this using a dry-cleaning solvent then allowed to dry.

Washable Fibers

If you would like to remove nail polish from washable fibers including spandex, cotton, linen, or nylon, the first thing you should do is to scrape the excess polish from the surface. You can use acetone on the area affected but test a small area in an inconspicuous area first.

If the fibers don’t change in color, you should flush acetone throughout the area affected using an absorbent pad. Once the stain is gone, you should then change the pads and use dry-cleaning solvent to flush the area well before allowing it to dry properly.

Soft Surfaces

Soft surfaces include acrylic plastic, vinyl wall-covering, cork, asphalt, linoleum, Plexiglas, vinyl clothing, or vinyl tile. If you would like to remove nail polish from any of the surfaces listed the first thing should be to scrap any excess spillage since nail polish contains chemicals that can easily cause damage to the materials. You should then dab the area using a cloth dampened with amyl acetate and finally rinse the surface.

Metal Surfaces

If you would like to remove nail polish from tin, iron, stainless steel, or aluminum, the first step should be to immediately wipe any excess polish. Metal surfaces are not porous meaning that no stain will form but a mild discoloration will occur, which can be removed using a steel wool soap pad. Once you have done this, you should then rinse thoroughly and allow it to dry.


If you would like to remove nail polish from marble, the first step should be to immediately wipe off any excess polish. The next step should be to wipe the affected area clean using a cloth dampened with acetone.

You should then rinse the area using another clean, damp cloth and then wipe it dry. If any staining remains on the marble, you should apply a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and water as well as a powder detergent to the stain. Cover this using a damp cloth and once the stain has been bleached out, rinse it thoroughly and allow it to dry.

Tile Flooring

Tile flooring includes surfaces such as bluestone, granite, flagstone, brick, concrete, slate, sandstone, or limestone. You should remove any excess polish from the surfaces immediately. The next thing should be to dip a cloth in acetone and dab the stain until it disappears. You should then wash the affected area using a soft-bristled brush and a mixture of detergent and water. Finally, use water to rinse off the area and let it dry.


If you would like to remove nail polish from wool or synthetic carpets, the first thing should be to remove any excess polish without using force. Leave the nail polish in a pile an apply amyl acetate to it and cover it using a pad dampened with amyl acetate too.

You should leave this for about 15 minutes ensuring that you blot it occasionally. Once you have done this, scrape the pile loose and flush the area carefully using dry-cleaning solvent. Finally, you should allow the carpet to dry thoroughly.

Final Thoughts

If you have always wanted to know how to remove nail polish stains from all kinds of surfaces, the information provided here should be an excellent guide.

It is worth noting that nearly all products that contain acetone or methyl-ethyl-ketone should remove nail polish stains effectively. The products may include paint remover or paint thinner. However, caution should be exercised since the products are highly flammable and can dehydrate skin rapidly.

If you are using pure acetone you should know that it has a flash point similar to gasoline meaning that it can easily ignite if flames are close by. Acetone can also dissolve common plastic items and can destroy wood surfaces and should therefore not be used to remove nail polish from either of these two surfaces.