Spilled Nail Polish On The Carpet? Here’s What You Need To Do (Like Right Now)

published Mar 18, 2017
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(Image credit: Karana)

There you are, minding your business and painting your nails, when suddenly you make one false move and your favorite shade is splattered on the rug. Nothing like a big, crunchy, tangerine-colored spill in the middle of your white carpet to really pull the room together, huh?

Good news: You might still be able to get your carpet back to normal—it’ll just take a bit of elbow grease. Don’t panic, just follow these steps.

First Thing’s First: Catch It Quickly

If you catch the spill before it has time to dry, blot it with a clean cloth to get as much of the excess out as possible. Don’t rub or wipe at the polish; you don’t want it to spread and make the stain worse. Once you’ve blotted the excess away, turn to one of the methods below to get out the rest.

Note: Before you try any of these methods, do a spot test by dabbing a little bit of your chosen cleaner with a cloth onto a less visible part of the carpet—that way, you’ll be able to see if anything happens to the rug, or if the color from the rug rubs off on the cloth. If it does, don’t use that method, or it may damage your carpet.

For White or Lighter Carpets

If your carpet is white or a light color, use a non-acetone nail polish remover (and make sure it’s the clear kind—some nail polish removers come in different colors, and that can do more damage than good in this case).

Put a small amount of the remover on a cloth, then gently blot (again, don’t rub) the stain until all the color is gone. Keep in mind going in—this is not an easy task, and it will likely take you a while to get it all out, so be patient.

For Darker Carpets

Nail polish remover can affect the dye in a darker or more colorful carpet, so if you’re worried about that, skip it in favor of a different cleaner. In this case, your best bet is to use rubbing alcohol in its place (follow the same instructions from above) or try hair spray.

For the hair spray method, spray a small amount first to do a spot test—if the spot test comes out fine, spray the stain with hair spray, then dab at it with a cloth like you would with nail polish remover. Keep at it until the stain is gone.

Other Methods You Can Try

  • Windex: Spray Windex on the affected area, and allow it to soak for a minute. Then, wipe the stain away with a wash cloth and cold water.
  • Goo-Gone: Pour a little bit of the Goo-Gone cleaner (you can also use Greased Lightning instead) on the stain then use a wet rag to scrub it out. Repeat until it’s gone.
  • Hydrogen Peroxide: If you’ve tried other methods but the stain still remains, use a small eyedropper to put some hydrogen peroxide on the stain, then blot. (Again, do a spot test as hydrogen peroxide can have bleaching effects.)