Nail Polish Removal

How to Remove Nail Polish from Clothes

Everybody loves having beautiful nails that feature colorful, attractive nail polish. But the problem is that applying nail polish can be tricky. The brushes are so small and the opening to the jar so narrow that it’s actually quite easy to accidentally get nail polish on your clothes, bed spreads or other fabrics.

The good news is the removing nail polish from clothes without causing damage or staining is actually pretty simple once you know a few special tricks.

Now, before we begin, let me just say that every situation is different and that not all nail polishes are made of exactly the same types of substances. Use these tips for how to remove nail polish from clothes at your own risk. If you want to play it safe and not take a chance that you are going to ruin your favorite dress or best pair of jeans, you should take your clothing to a professional cleaner.

How to Remove Nail Polish from Clothes with Nail Polish Remover

Perhaps the easiest way to remove nail polish from clothes is simply to use nail polish remover. But you have to be extra careful with this method because the chemicals in nail polish remover can easily remove color from your clothing along with the spilled nail polish. It’s a good idea to try it out on a test spot that most people won’t usually see first, such as the inside of a hem, to determine whether nail polish remover will stain or remove color from your clothing.

How to remove nail polish from clothes

Once you are satisfied that you can safely use nail polish remover, what you will need is one bottle of nail polish remover, some soft cloths, and a few cotton swabs or cotton balls. It’s a good idea to collect everything you need before you begin so you aren’t slowed down later by having to go search for something in the middle of the procedure.

Okay, here is how to remove nail polish from clothes using nail polish remover:

  1. Start by moistening a soft cloth with a little of the nail polish remover. Don’t pour too much, just a little bit. If the area to be cleaned is small, you can use a cotton ball or a cotton swab instead.
  2. Gently begin by blotting the hidden area of the fabric to make doubly sure that it is color safe. If the color is not removed or damaged by the nail polish remover, you can continue to Step 3.
  3. Now you want to use the moistened cloth to blot the nail polish stain. As you blot, you should notice a little of the nail polish being transferred from the stained clothing to the cloth, cotton ball or cotton swab.
  4. The last thing you want to do is to add more nail polish to the area of the clothes that already is stained with the nail polish you are trying to remove. So you want to make sure you switch to a fresh area on the cloth frequently to keep from reapplying the polish to the fabric. If you are using a cotton ball or cotton swab, throw one away and use a fresh one every couple of swabs.
  5. Once you are satisfied that all of the nail polish has been removed, it’s a good idea to throw the clothing in the washing machine and clean it right away so you can remove any residual nail polish remover before it can do any additional damage to the clothing. Follow the washing instructions on the label to keep your clothing safe while washing. Make sure you don’t accidentally wash something in the washer that is “dry clean only”.

How to Remove Nail Polish from Clothes without Using Nail Polish Remover

If you spill nail polish on clothing, it’s important that you remove it right away, before it dries. So if you don’t have nail polish remover, you aren’t going to have time to go run to the store to buy some. Some people can’t stand the smell of nail polish remover, so here’s a way to remove nail polish from clothes without using nail polish remover.

All you will need are a few everyday objects most people commonly have lying around the house: A bottle of Off bug spray, an old toothbrush, and a can of hairspray.

Okay, here’s how to remove nail polish from clothes without using nail polish remover:

  1. The first thing you want to do is to spray a small amount of Off buy spray on a hidden are of the clothing to test to make sure it doesn’t stain or remove the color. If the color is not removed or damaged by the bug spray, you can go ahead and proceed to the stained area of the clothing.
  2. What you want to do next is to spray the bug spray directly onto the nail polish. Make sure you spray enough so that the stain is fully saturated with bug spray.
  3. Once the buy spray has been absorbed into the stain, gently scrub the area with the old toothbrush. Use steady strokes and watch closely to make sure the stain is going away.
  4. If the stain doesn’t go away, try saturating the stain with hairspray. Believe it or not, the cheap hair spray you get at the dollar store actually works best for this. You are going to want to let the hairspray set for a few minutes, then try scrubbing the stain out with the old toothbrush.
  5. Once all of the nail polish has been removed, you should wash the clothes in the washing machine so that any residual chemicals are washed away.

Additional Tips for How to Remove Nail Polish from Clothes

Before you begin, check to make sure what type of material the clothes are made out of. If the clothes are made out of acetate, don’t use acetone-based nail polish removers because it will ruin the fabric. In this instance, the nail polish should come out with a quick washing.

You want to treat the stain as quickly as possible. The longer the nail polish sits on the clothes, the dryer it becomes. And when it is fully dry, it’s going to be nearly impossible to get out.

If all else fails, don’t throw the clothes away. Take them to a professional dry cleaner and ask if they can help. Sometimes they have special methods and techniques that can get the stain out when everything you tried can’t.


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1 Comment
  1. Reply Cheryl September 3, 2016 at 3:11 pm

    I accidentally got UV nail shellac on my favourite t shirt today while at the nail salon. The stain was the size of a quarter. I wish I had taken a “before” pic. When I got home, I tried using nail polish remover (acetone based) Nothing. So I googled it, and came up with the above advice. I tried the Off first.. didn’t seem to work, so I went and got my Pantene hairspray.. started to work on it and believe it or not? It worked like a charm. Got the stain out, now I have popped it in the washer to get all the aforementioned attempts out of it! I am really impressed!!!

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