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Fixing a Wood Table With a Nail Polish Remover Stain

Category Furniture


I spilled some nail polish remover on my kitchen table and it turned white and my table is a dark dark brown. Is there anything I can do to restore it without stripping the stain?


By Jojo from Bouctouche, NB


Using a Clothes Iron

I just figure out the easiest most affective way to do it (and believe me, I tried it all).

  1. Warm up your iron on max (no steam just the dry iron).
  2. Put a clean, white wash cloth on top of the stain.
  3. After the iron is hot, work circular motion moves with the iron on top of the stain for about 1 min.
  4. Remove the wash cloth to check your progress.
  5. Keep doing that over and over until the stain is gone.

Here is an explanation of why it works: the heat of the iron dilates the wood grain, and also evaporates the nail polish which is very volatile. Don't let the iron sit on top of the wood for too long, it will damage the wood grain and burn your table.

I hope it works on tables with different finishings. I know it worked on mine. Hope that helps lots of people staining my table with wood polish was so frustrating!

By fefafonseca

Hot Iron Worked

Using the suggestion with the dry iron worked great for me. I spilled some candle wax on a laminated chocolate brown table and tried some nail polish remover to get ride of it. What a mistake! The stain was still there plus, now, a god awful white stain.

Following the above suggestion, I used a dry iron over a clean cloth and and the white stain (and the wax!) disappeared.

Note: I first used a facecloth with a line-texture in it and it imprinted the texture on my table. I then switched to a clean plain tea towel and everything was fine!

By xtineh

Touch Ups

You have stripped the stain with the nail polish remover. Look for products in the paint store for spot touch ups. They may have something that will fix the spot. Sadly, I think you are going to have to refinish the whole table top. to get a good match.


By louel53

Mayonnaise With Ashes

To whoever suggested mayonnaise with ashes, thank you! I just created an account to post my testimonial. I spilled nail polish remover on my deceased father's desk four years ago and have always just put a cloth over the surface. I finally found this tip and it drastically reduced the cloudy white stain. I smeared mayo over the surface, sprinkled ashes from the fireplace over the top, and then buffed until it was dry. Thank you so much!

By DianaJacqueline

About The Author: This is article is an archive of a question and feedback from 2010.

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April 3, 201214 found this helpful

Regarding nail polish remover spilled on real wood table. Yes! The hot iron with white washcloth worked WONDERS! I was stunned!

By Jojo from Texas


Comment Was this helpful? 14


September 27, 20130 found this helpful
Top Comment

My daughter just spilled a bottle of nail polish remover on my hardwood table. It left huge white marks plus spill droplets all over it. (The bottle totally poured out before she could grab it). I applied mayonnaise and ashes for an hour, wiped and removed and then ironed. The end result? I thought I'd have to have the entire surface refinished but you can hardly tell anything ever happened anymore! A little oïl on there and it'll be completely gone. Thank you so much!

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November 21, 20130 found this helpful
Top Comment

The tip for the iron and white cloth for the nail varnish remover spillage worked wonderfully. Was sceptical at first as the table had a big white stain from the remover but it lifted it off completly. Just needed a coat of oil afterwards. Brilliant,

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October 8, 20070 found this helpful

This is article is an archived discussion from 2005. Test all cleaning methods in an inconspicuous spot first.


My daughter spilled nail polish remover (acetone) on my kitchen table, and then wiped it up. My table now has a large cloudy, rough area where the remover ate through the finish on the wood table. Are there any ideas on how to fix this, or am I stuck replacing this table or having it refinished? Help, the table is only 1 1/2 years old! Angela


Ashes and Mayonnaise

Try rubbing cigarette ashes with a dab of mayonnaise on it.

By Joanne

Mayonnaise and an Iron Methold

Let mayonnaise sit on it for about an hour, wipe off and the put 2 or 3 paper towels folded in half on top of the mark and then run an iron over top a few times. Lift the paper towel to see if there is any change. If it is just starting then continue ironing and after about 4 strokes over the spot look under the paper towel to check progress.

By HLFike

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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

January 2, 20121 found this helpful

My daughter spilt nail varnish remover on our small table. The stain is white and very rough; what can I do to put it right? The table is made of yew, and highly polished.


Answer Was this helpful? 1


January 11, 20120 found this helpful
Best Answer

Since this was nail polish remover, it has done to the table what it was meant to do to your nails; removed (or at least ruffled) the finish. So the sanding and refinishing will be necessary. Probably the whole table top since you will probably never be able to match the refinished area to the rest of the tabletop.


An alternative to consider is painting instead of staining the wood. Being sure to sand with the grain of the wood, get the roughness restored to as smooth as possible. If you have to spot sand too much, you may create a dip of sorts in the surface. So sand the rest of the tabletop as well, at least the surrounding areas...always with the grain, never against. Then paint the table top with a complimentary paint color. Painting is much easier to do as well as it covers the affected spot better than any stain would especially since you may not be able to sand far enough down to get all the original stain/finish off.

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January 11, 20120 found this helpful
Best Answer

I just reread your post that the table is yew. Painting is probably the least desired effect you are wanting. The high polish is just a very thick layer of clear varnish. The whiteness is the result of the remover trying to break it down (so it could be removed).

Sanding will work, but a faster solution might be to strip the entire surface of the table chemically with a paint or varnish stripper product available most anywhere. Then redo that thick coat of clear varnish.

It may be worth it to seek out a professional furniture refinisher to do this work to get the best result for the beautiful yew wood.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes

August 9, 20120 found this helpful

I spilled finger nail polish remover on my wood table. Is there anything I can do to restore the finish?


Answer Was this helpful? Yes


August 10, 20121 found this helpful
Best Answer

Really, the only thing you can do is to refinish the whole top. Sand it down good and reapply some polyurethane. Being the klutz that I am, I have now refinished my coffee table 3 times! LOL

Reply Was this helpful? 1
August 11, 20120 found this helpful
Best Answer

If your top is veneer, please do not sand your table. You could ruin it completely. Carefully remove the finish on the table top with one of the commercial products offered at the hardware or other stores. DO NOT let it drip on other parts of the table or you will end up having to redo the whole table. Your best advice will come from the store personnel who know "how to" restore your table.

You will have several other steps to this process to return your table to useable condition.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes

By 0 found this helpful
April 8, 2011

I dropped a bottle of nail polish on our tile floor and it splattered on the leg of our table. My hubby used nail polish remover before I could tell him no and now there are dull lighter white spots, almost like a water stains, on the wood and the varnish is gone. I called Pottery Barn and of course nobody can remember the name of the varnish since it is an older piece.

Should I just varnish it with clear and leave the spots? I have heard about the iron method, but I am scared. I feel so horrible I want to cry about my floor and my table! Thanks for all your help!

By lacullinane from Omaha

Answer Was this helpful? Yes


August 6, 20100 found this helpful
Best Answer

You have stripped the stain with the nail polish remover. Look for products in the paint store for spot touch ups. They may have something that will fix the spot. Sadly, I think you are going to have to refinish the whole table top to get a good match.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes

July 17, 20131 found this helpful

How can I remove a nail polish remover mark from my table?

By Palika from Rancho Cucamonga

Answer Was this helpful? 1


July 18, 20130 found this helpful

In my experience nail polish remover takes off the finish of things, so you don't want to "remove" the mark, but to cover it or restore the original finish. We would have to know what your table is made of in order to help you with that. It may not be possible to repair it. I dropped some nail polish remover on the waistline of fake suede dress; there was no way to fix the mark as it removed the fuzziness. A friend suggested I tie the belt in the front and put a broach on it to cover the mark. Worked well. Otherwise, the dress was ruined.

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