Check How To Get Nail Polish Out Of Clothes Without Hassle

Home manicures are cost-effective as you can try different colours without paying a penny. Sometimes though, accidents happen, and your nail polish slips off your hands, ending up on your clothes, couch upholstery or your carpet.

Pink nail polish drops from the brush back to the bottle

If this happens, don’t freak out! There are several ways you can try to remove it from any surface and even from your carpet. Check how to get nail polish out of clothes without hassle.

Before you begin

Before you begin removing nail polish stains, you need to read the care label of the item you want to clean and check on an inconspicuous area the cleaning method you are about to apply on the fabric. 

Some fabrics, like those containing fibres of acetate, triacetate or modacrylic, need dry cleaning. To tell the truth, avoid any cleaning method for nail polish stain removal at home for these fabrics, as most removers will damage them. On the other hand, delicate fabrics may resist stain removers, but they’re sensitive to scrubbing. Thus, you need to be careful when trying to clean nail polish spills

What’s more, before you start, you need to have on hand all the tools you might need during the process. Depending on the cleaning method you’ll follow, you may need laundry detergent, cotton swabs, nail polish remover, hairspray. So, first, check the cleaning way and make sure you have everything you need. Once you gather all the necessary tools and ingredients for the cleaning solution, you can start with the process.

How to remove nail polish from washable clothing

Depending on the fabric and whether is machine washable or not, you can follow different cleaning ways. You better let the professionals deal with such stains if you have delicate pieces, like silk or wool.

Removing nail polish with rubbing alcohol

This method is the best way to clean coloured clothes. These garments are made from cotton and polyester and can withstand alcohol. You’re going to need:

A bottle of rubbing alcohol used to remove nail polish from clothes

  • Rubbing alcohol (or dry-cleaning solvent)
  • Paper towels or any absorbent white towels
  • Acetone nail polish remover
  • Cotton swabs
  • A dull knife
  • Hydrogen peroxide (optional)

Before you begin, as mentioned above, use a dab of nail polish remover to a hidden spot to ensure that it won’t discolour the fabric. If everything seems fine, you can continue with the below steps:

  1. Remove the excess nail polish using a dull knife. You better do it immediately after the accident happens and never wipe the stain because you end up with a larger and deeper stain. 
  2. After that, place some white paper towels under the stain. 
  3. Dip a clean white cloth or a cotton swab in the acetone polish remover and start dabbing the stained area. Start from the outside and move toward the inside to prevent the stain from spreading. 
  4. Keep dabbing until the entire polish stain is gone. 
  5. If any colour resists, you can use rubbing alcohol or dry cleaning solvent. Dip a cotton swab into the alcohol and dab the stain. If your cloth is white, you can use hydrogen peroxide instead. 
  6.  Once you have removed the stain, pop your garment into the washing machine and wash as usual. 

How to get nail polish out of delicate fabrics

If a manicure accident happens while you’re wearing your favourite silk shirt, don’t panic! There’s a way to fix it! You need first to remove the excess nail polish, and then you’ll be able to clean the rest of the stain. However, you shouldn’t use acetone. The best thing to do would be to let professional dry cleaners clean your delicate pieces, especially if “Only Dry Clean” is indicated on the label. Otherwise, you can also DIY.  

Here’s what you need:

  • Coldwater
  • Detergent for delicates

Now, follow the below steps:

  1. Blot the stain first, with a detergent special designed for delicate clothes. 
  2. After blotting for a while, soak the item in cold water mixed with the detergent. Avoid rubbing it as it can damage the garment.
  3. Machine wash (if recommended) on the gentle cycle using a detergent suitable for delicate clothing. If hand washing is suggested, then do so.
  4. If the stain remains, then you should consider dry cleaning

How to get dried nail polish off of clothes

If a nail polish accident happens and you didn’t notice, or you didn’t have the time to clean it, then we have to admit that it’s harder, but not impossible. The first thing you should do as soon as you discover the dry stain is to treat it like a wet polish stain.

A woman pouring laundry detergent into the washing machine

You’ll need:

  • A plastic putty knife
  • Clean white cloths/paper towels
  • A nail polish remover (depending on the type of cloth)
  • laundry detergent

Follow now the below step-by-step instructions:

  1. Use the putty knife to scrape as much nail polish as possible. Be careful not to tear the fabric.
  2. Check the remover you are about to use in a hidden spot on the cloth. If the fabric’s material is made of acetate, triacetate, or modacrylic, or if it’s delicate, don’t pre-treat it. Visit an expert!
  3. Dab a towel with the solvent/remover and blot the stain in a circular motion. Move from the outside toward the inside. Avoid rubbing the stain.
  4. Then, launder your cloth as usual. For stubborn stains, presoak the garment in water mixed with one tablespoon of detergent. Hang to dry.

Using alternative nail polish removal methods

There are alternatives removal methods you can apply.  But, always check the care label and test the solution in a hidden seam. 


Weird? Not at all! Hairspray is a great and safe solution for stains on fabrics, as it won’t bleach them and dissolve the nail polish. What you have to do?

A woman with green nail polished nails spraying with the hairspray

  1. You need to let the polish dry.
  2. Then, use the hairspray on the area or spray it on an old toothbrush and rub the stain. Then let it dry for a while. 
  3. Once it dries, use a pair of tweezers to scratch the residue. 
  4. Next, peel off any remaining polish and wash as always in your washing machine.

Alcohol spirits

Vodka, gin, and any other drink with a high alcohol content can remove nail polish from fabrics. Soak the stained fabric into an alcohol spirit and remove the polish after a few minutes. 

Hand sanitiser

Another alcohol-based solution you can use is a hand sanitiser. Soak the fabric into a hand sanitiser and rub it afterwards with a cotton ball or a cloth. 


One more non-acetone remover is toothpaste. Apply some toothpaste on the nail polish and scrub for a few minutes. Then use a cloth to wipe toothpaste and launder as usual. 

Some white toothpaste on a toothbrush ready for cleaning

You don’t have to worry from now on while having your manicure. In case of an accident, you’ll know what to do. An acetone nail remover and some cotton can save your clothes. And even if you run out of it, you have many alternatives to get nail polish out of your clothes. Just be sure you read the care label as not all products are suitable for all types of fabrics. If none of the above manages to clean your clothes, you better visit the nearest dry cleaner.

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