How to Get Nail Polish Out of a Carpet

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Let’s be honest. We’ve all been there. You’re in a rush to get somewhere, the dog’s barking, the car alarms have just gone off and all hell seems to be breaking loose. You’re charging around the house like a maniac and that’s when it happens. You’ve just knocked something over. What is it? It’s your nail polish. And it’s all over your carpet.

How to get nail polish out of your carpet? It isn’t as hard as you might expect. As it happens, I did have a similar problem myself only a few weeks ago. So I set out to learn how to clean it all up, and now I’ve got the results. So sit back, relax, and let’s learn how to clean up that mess!

Take Care!

Obviously, the best way to deal with these sorts of messes is to not deal with them at all! Removing a nail polish stain can be a difficult task, but it’s not an impossible one. Whether it be red, black, green, or blue, the solution is always the same.

These types of things tend to happen when you’re in a hurry. I had a habit of leaving my nail polish all over the place, basically wherever I last used it. This meant that if I dropped it, or anything else, I could be making a lot of work for myself.

Keeping items like nail polish in your bathroom, which are usually tiled, makes cleaning up way easier. If you’re dropping your nail polish in your living room you’re a lot more likely to drop it on a rug or carpet! 

That’s where everything gets harder. If you keep everything in one place not only will it look better, and be a lot more organized, but any mess you make will be a lot easier to clean up.

Protect your health!

 You might be surprised to hear that nail polish can actually be very unhealthy for you to use. In recent years, lots and lots of research has been done on its potential health risks.

After all the research I did myself into cleaning it up, I’ve decided to start moving away from it entirely. It might look like an innocent little product, but it can and will do you harm.

Most of the normal, commercial nail polishes that you might pick up contain these harmful ingredients. Thankfully, there are also lots of new nail polish products that are a lot healthier and safer for you to use.

At the opposite end of that is the acetone nail polish removers. Acetone is generally harmless unless you start ingesting it. This should be pretty easy to avoid, as you might imagine.

What happens if acetone gets on your carpet or anything else for that matter?

Acetone is colorless and flammable. Not a great combination. It can also leave a nasty stain on your carpet if you don’t get to it in time. 

So don’t drop the nail polish!

Cleaning Up!

The main thing you need to be for this type of stain is quick. Nail polish can permanently discolor and harm your carpet, so the speed is of the essence.

You will also want to be careful. There’s no point in rubbing in even more nail polish into your lovely carpet, so you’ll have to have a gentle hand.

Once you’re calm and have a steady hand, you can get started cleaning up this mess.

First Step

Grab a spoon, knife, or scooper of some kind. You need to remove as much liquid from the carpet as possible before it seeps in. This is one of the most important steps, as it can save you time, and a carpet, if you’re quick enough.

Make sure to wipe or clean your tool in between scoops. A handy napkin or cloth will do the job with no problem at all.  Just try to get as much liquid off the carpet as possible.


If you have read any of my articles before, you’ll know that I like to blot. It seems I can’t get away from it, but maybe that’s because it’s so useful.

You should be able to get rid of a lot of the nail polish stain through blotting. Grab an old cloth and get to work.

I like to start from the outside and then work my way in. This way you can be sure that you won’t miss any by accident. You don’t want to have to come back here in a few hours and do it all again!

Make sure to use a new spot on the cloth each time you blot. This way you’ll prevent it from leaking straight back in. You’ll also stop the nail polish from being pushed even further into the fibers of the carpet.

You should start to see the color of the stain come out. Once that stops happening, you can move on to the next step.

Cleaning Solutions


Thankfully, there are a few homemade recipes you can use to help lift that stain. Once again, vinegar and baking soda are coming to our rescue.

When applying cleaners to your carpet, no matter what kind, always make sure to test it out first. Apply a small bit of your solution to a hidden corner, and wait to see the results. It’s always safer to be sure, and it’s definitely cheaper than buying a new carpet.

If you have your vinegar standing by, here are some steps you can take to try and lift that stain.

  • Wet the stained area with plain vinegar. Make sure you cover the whole stain, and no need to be shy with the vinegar.
  • Place a vinegar-soaked paper towel or sheet over the stain.
  • Wait about 15 minutes, then come back and gently start blotting and scrubbing the stain.

The stain should come off, all thanks to our trusty old vinegar.

The Baking Soda Method

If you want to try out some baking soda, the method is very simple. It is also very similar, and very easy.

  • Sprinkle the stained area with enough baking soda to cover it.
  • Find yourself a fizzy liquid, such as Ginger Ale or Sprite, and lightly apply it over the area.
  • Leave it to work for around 7-10 minutes.
  • Blot and scrub the stain until it is gone

Two very simple, but very effective methods for getting rid of any nail polish stains on your carpet.

Like with every cleaning problem, there are tons and tons of domestic products that claim to be the best for your particular mess. I always prefer to stay natural and as simple as I can. But if you have picked up a product from a shop, all you need to do is follow the directions on the back.

It’s unlikely to be anything more complicated than the above steps, so you should have no problems.

What if the nail polish is dried in?

This is where it can get a little bit more tricky. If you’ve become really desperate, you can take a knife or scissors to this. You’ll have to be very careful to avoid damaging your carpet, but it can be done.

What you should do is scrape off as much of the dried-in stain as you can. Use a dull knife or a spoon for this.

Once you’ve worked up a sweat, vacuum the stained area to suck up all the debris. 

When you’ve done all this, there isn’t much more to do, other than to follow the above steps to clean the stain.

Dried-in nail polish stains are a pain, but they can be removed just like any other.

Acetone-Free Nail Polish Remover

This is actually one of the best ways to remove nail polish stains from your carpet. But remember, the remover has to be acetone-free. You should never use a product with acetone on your carpet, it will cause far more damage than what was already there.

There are a wide variety of these products that you can find for sale on the market these days, so you should have no problem finding any.

They are a product that I would highly recommend you buy. Besides the various health benefits, it is also quite a bit better for the environment.

The End

Thank you for reading. I hope you’ve found this article helpful because I know I certainly will refer back to it when I inevitably spill my nail polish. Again.

As always, be careful if you’re using any sort of potentially dangerous item like nail polish. Never mind the carpet, your health should always come first.

Thanks again!

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