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Here’s how to get nail polish out of everyday materials & surfaces

By Emma Hobday | 27 January 2022 | Feature

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We’ve all been there – hurrying to get somewhere you need to be, continuing with daily activities when your nail polish isn’t quite dry, or just accidentally dropping your nail polish – and alas! A stain appears on the surface, much to your dismay.

But never fear – the solution can lie in common household items you tend to have around the house, such as hairspray, nail polish remover, and a lot of clean cloths and paper towels!

Here Scratch’s Emma discovers ways that can help remove nail polish from the likes of carpet, jeans, hair and more… but always exercise caution!


Spray the nail varnish with hairspray, wait for 20-30 seconds, and then wipe away. You may have to do this a few times to remove the entire stain. Also, refrain from using nail polish remover on wood, as it can ruin the finish.


If your carpet is white or a light or pastel shade, use a non-acetone polish remover. If your carpet is black or a darker shade, pour on a little rubbing alcohol (or hairspray) and use paper towels to gently sponge away the stain.


I for one have done this before, and it’s frustrating when you’re in a rush! If the polish has settled into your hair and has dried before you noticed, squeeze a blob of conditioner into your hands and gently work it through the hair until the polish becomes loose and comes out.


Use something like an old credit card to scrape off as much polish as you can (don’t rub it as this can make it harder to remove), and then pop on a dry-cleaning solvent to the area. Gently dab and sponge the area until completely dry.


Dip a clean cloth in vinegar or rubbing alcohol and lightly dab at the stain until it starts to come away. Don’t feel the pressure to harshly scrub at it to remove it quicker, as this can damage the item further. Slow and steady wins the race!

Silk, wool, or clothing with special care instructions:

Don’t even think about it! Off to the dry cleaners you go.