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How to Get Nail Polish Out of Carpet

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How to Get Nail Polish Out of Carpet

Spilling nail polish on your carpet might seem like a complete disaster, sending you into frenzied cleaning mode as you attempt to scrub away the spillage on the floor as it spreads more and more and seeps further into your carpet. Makes you ask the question, how to get nail polish out of carpet?

We’re here to tell you to put down the cloth, step away from the stain, and use the tips and tricks listed in this article to give you the best chance of removing the nail polish stain as thoroughly as possible and with minimal damage to your carpet.

While it’s true that nail polish is a particularly stubborn culprit when it comes to carpet staining, removing it is not impossible and can even be done using all-natural ingredients that won’t cause lasting damage to the fibers of your carpet or have potentially negative implications on the health and safety of you and anyone else within your household.

Here, we are going to talk you through some tried and tested methods that should enable you to remove the nail polish stain and restore your carpet to its prior condition. Some of the methods listed in this article might not be suitable for use on all carpet types and colors, so we advise carrying out a patch test on a less visible area of the carpet beforehand if possible.

Related: How to Get Milk Out of Carpet

How to Get Nail Polish Out of Carpet

Removing Wet Nail Polish

Firstly, let’s concentrate on fresh nail polish stains, meaning spillages that have happened recently enough that the nail polish has not yet dried into the carpet.

It’s always best to try to deal with spillages as early as possible to prevent permanent damage or staining of the carpet, so this is the ideal course of action to take, particularly when dealing with highly pigmented, hard-drying liquids such as nail polish.

Step 1: Remove as much nail polish as possible

Our first step in How to Get Nail Polish Out of Carpet when dealing with wet nail polish, you should start by absorbing as much of the liquid out of the carpet as possible.

Use a clean, dry towel or rag to blot up the excess polish, taking care not to spread the liquid around on the carpet. Never rub the affected area, as this is likely to cause the polish to spread and sink deeper into the carpet pile. Use a blotting motion and take a clean area of the towel each time. 

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When the towel stops picking up any liquid, you can move on to the next step. By removing as much liquid as possible, to begin with, the cleaning agent you use in step two should be able to penetrate and lift the stain effectively.

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Step 2: Use your chosen cleaning solution

When choosing an appropriate cleaning solution to thoroughly remove the nail polish, there are a few things you will need to consider.

Firstly, avoid any harsh chemicals or potentially toxic cleaning products. Not only are these terrible for the environment and any waterways they make their way into, but they can also have adverse effects on your health and wellbeing, causing respiratory problems or skin irritations, to name just a couple.

Instead, opt for natural but effective ingredients. There is a wide range of all-natural detergents and liquid soaps available that may be able to lift the nail polish out of the carpet.

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Alternatively, you could make your own DIY cleaning solution using water, white vinegar, and baking soda. To do this, apply a light coverage of baking soda to the affected area and allow this to soak into the carpet for around ten minutes. Then, mix equal parts of white vinegar and water in a spray bottle and spritz this over the top of the baking soda. You may see some fizzing as the baking soda and white vinegar react with one another. Again, leave this to soak for a further ten minutes before removing with a damp, clean cloth.

Both baking soda and white vinegar are effective cleaning agents and can be extremely useful when it comes to lifting stubborn stains.

If you choose to use this method, you may also need to finish by drying and vacuuming the area to remove any residual baking soda particles.

Related: 15 Carpet Cleaning Hacks

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Removing Dried Nail Polish

Our first step in How to Get Nail Polish Out of Carpet when dealing with nail polish stains that have been left to dry on the carpet can be a little more challenging. When it dries, nail polish becomes extremely hard and clings to any surfaces or fibers it can find.

This is not to say that removing the stain will be impossible, it may simply take a little more time and elbow grease.

Step 1: Remove loose particles or the top layer of nail polish

Again, you should start by trying to remove as much of the stain as possible. In this case, the nail polish will be in solid form rather than liquid, meaning you’ll need to employ some different tactics.

Start by using a stiff dry brush to loosen any surface-level nail polish. This may also separate the fibers of the fabric, meaning the cleaning solution you go in with next can work more effectively.

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Scrub the area with your dry brush until some of the nail polish has lifted away and the carpet fibers beneath are visible. If the stain is particularly stubborn or dense, you could try spraying the area with some water first to loosen the particles before brushing.

Follow this up by vacuuming the stain to remove any particles that have been dislodged.

Related: How to Get Blood Out of Carpet (Safe and Natural Methods)

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Step 2: Use your chosen cleaning solution

Next, you will need to go in with your chosen cleaning solution. The same options are available as previously mentioned, choosing between an all-natural detergent or dish soap or the DIY baking soda, white vinegar, and water combination. Either option is suitable here.

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Because the stain is likely to have become more stubborn over time, it is likely that you will need to saturate the area more and leave the cleaning solution to soak in for longer than in the previously mentioned method.

If you choose to use the DIY cleaning method, start by dampening the area with some clean water. Then, sprinkle over the baking soda and allow this to soak in for up to 30 minutes. Go in with your vinegar and water mixture and allow this to soak for a further 30 minutes.

Remove the cleaning solutions with a clean microfiber cloth and then assess the situation. If hard nail polish particles are still visible, go in again with the vinegar and water mixture and your dry brush to remove these.

You might find that some discoloration or staining remains, we will move on to how to deal with this in the following section.

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Tackling the Stubborn Stain

If, after following the steps in How to Get Nail Polish Out of Carpet, you are left with some staining or discoloration, there are some further steps you could take to try and tackle this.

Hydrogen Peroxide is a naturally derived, but extremely tough and effective cleaning agent that can lift stains and remove discoloration. However, hydrogen peroxide is also likely to lighten carpets, so this might not be a suitable option for darker carpets. Always carry out a patch test on a less visible area if possible.

Simply apply the hydrogen peroxide, per the product instructions, to the affected area and allow this to soak for the suggested time. Remove this using a clean microfiber cloth and then clean again with water to remove any residual product. For more advice on removing other types of stains from carpet, check out our post How to Get Coffee Stains Out of Carpet.

Restoring or Re-fluffing the Carpet

After removing the nail polish stain from your carpet, you may find that the affected area is somewhat flattened, the carpet fibers have become matted, or the carpet simply needs some restoration to bring it back to life.

Firstly, you should prioritize drying the carpet thoroughly to prevent any residual moisture from being left in the carpet, as this can lead to the growth of bacteria and mold if left untreated. To dry the area, allow plenty of airflow and use a space heater or fan to speed up the process. Avoid walking over the area or covering it with furniture until it is thoroughly dried.

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Next up, go in with your dry brush or carpet rake to re-fluff and separate the carpet fibers. If they are being especially stubborn, you may need to add a little water and then brush or rake once again. Allow to dry, and then repeat this process a couple of times until your carpet is fully restored to its optimal condition. Click here for more on How to Make Carpet Fluffy Again (3 Easy Methods)

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Final Thoughts on How to Get Nail Polish Out of Carpet

Nail polish spills on your carpet or rug might seem like a total catastrophe. It’s true that this is definitely one of the more stubborn products to remove from any carpet, but the tips and advice listed in this article on how to get nail polish out of carpet should enable you to rectify the situation and prevent any permanent damage to your carpets.

As with any spillage, it is always best to clean it up as soon as possible while the liquid is still wet. Allowing the nail polish to dry will significantly increase the difficulty of removing the stain thoroughly, so always avoid this and act quickly if possible.

As we have shown in this article, cleaning your home and dealing with stubborn stains does not mean compromising on your values and turning to harsh, potentially harmful chemical cleaning agents. There are many natural ingredients out there that work efficiently and effectively, particularly when removing stubborn stains such as nail polish.

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