Removing Nail Polish from Clothing and Fabric

Nail polish can be difficult to remove from textiles, especially if it has already dried. This guide is about removing nail polish from clothing and fabric.

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A nail polish brush dripping.
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September 10, 2015 Flag
0 found this helpful

How do I get dried nail polish off my 98%cotton 2% spandex jeans? They are my favorite pair of ripped jeans and I tried the hairspray method, nail polish remover method, and I am currently going to try the Windex method. Is there a better way to get it out? I haven't washed or dried them yet in the laundry. Please help!

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    September 11, 20150 found this helpful

    No promises that it will work, but try straight acetone. It can be purchased at beauty supply or home improvement stores. It is the main ingredient in nail polish remover. Get plenty of paper towels or a few old towels. put the stain face down on a towel on a protected surface. pour a little acetone on the back of the stain, press gently with another towel. keep moving to a new spot on the towels or keep replacing the paper towels, and repeat until as much has come out as possible. Then pretreat with a stain remover and launder. I say no promises it will work, because even though the acetone will remove all the solvents from the polish (the part that makes polish dry hard, shiny, and waterproof) and some of the pigment, but it may not remove all the pigment. That is where the stain remover comes in, because it will remove more pigment after all the solvent has been removed. But, it may not remove all the pigment, either. Pigments by themselves are rather tricky and some like to bond to things more than others. But it will lighten the stain considerably. At this point you haven't much to lose, either it will come out completely, or it won't. Good luck!

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    September 12, 20150 found this helpful

    Have you tried the old ice cube trick? It's pretty basic but works a treat for globs of chewing gum and dried nail varnish.

    Simply hold an ice cube directly against the glob for several minutes (to freeze the glob). Then use a piece of hard plastic (credit card or driving license edge, putty knife, spatula, etc) to 'flick' or chip away the glob.

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    May 30, 2015 Flag
    2 found this helpful

    Earlier today I stupidly applied glitter polish on my toenails right before I started my yoga class and apparently one of my nails hadn't fully dried yet and stained the back of my new workout leggings! I came here to try and find a solution and unfortunately we don't have any oven cleaner or acetone-free nail polish remover in the house at the moment, so my husband made a mixture of dishwashing liquid and white vinegar and applied it with a cotton bud to the stain. After a couple of minutes of gentle rubbing I rinsed it and it had lessened significantly! He continued applying and after the second rinsing there's almost nothing left. A few of the glitter grains even came off while I was rinsing. Hope it works for you!

    Removing Nail Polish from Clothes
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      April 15, 2008 Flag
      1 found this helpful

      When people recommend Off for nail polish removal, are they recommending Off the oven cleaner, or Off the bug spray? Thanks! This is for polish on a brand new cotton dress (fabric is on the thin side).

      A.B. from San Rafael, CA

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      October 7, 20140 found this helpful

      I just spilled some yellow glitter nail polish while cleaning the nail salon on Monday. I spent 3.49 at the dry cleaners and they didn't do a good job so I tried the "Easy off" oven cleaner then scrubbed it then washed them as usual and the stain is gone. Oven cleaner does wonders :)

      ReplyWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes
      June 1, 20160 found this helpful

      I spilt blue nail polish on my sweater and I was wondering if soaking in white vinegar could help if so because I don't have nail polish remover

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      January 29, 2012 Flag
      0 found this helpful

      How do I remove dried nail polish from a comforter? It is 100% cotton.

      By Shirley

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      January 30, 20120 found this helpful

      I would think just nail polish remover would work...

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      January 31, 20120 found this helpful

      Scrape as much of the dried polish as you can off using your fingernail or the edge of a credit card.

      Then use non-acetate fingernail polish remover to get the colour (if any, not all nail polish stains when colouring your nails or anything else) out of the fabric. Non-acetate remover won't eat the cotton fibers.

      If you do have some colour staining from the polish after you've used the remover, about the only thing left to do is either leave the mark as a memory (for example if a child or grandchild was playing dress up for the first time), or cover it with either embroidery or a patch of fabric applied as an applique.

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      January 13, 2011 Flag
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      I had a drop of nail polish get on a pair of khaki pants and tried nail polish remover to get it out and it didn't work. Then I tired soap and water and that didn't get it out. How can I get the polish out even after the polish has dried on the pants?

      By Pumpkin

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      January 13, 20110 found this helpful

      I am able to get paint out of my clothing by using a small scrubber paint brush. A small one, by dipping it in paint remover. Kut-zit or any paint stripper and letting a drop sit for 1 min. then scrubbing it off with the brush. Sometimes it comes off with one try and sometimes it takes a few tries by wiping it off with cloth and repeating it, then wash garment. Hope this helps.

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      December 18, 20110 found this helpful

      "Awesome can be bought at Family Dollar Stores. It is in the cleaner department.

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      September 2, 2011 Flag
      0 found this helpful

      How can I remove a small nail varnish stain from a T shirt?

      By Chris from Heathfield, UK

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      September 6, 20110 found this helpful

      You may be able to remove it with nail polish remover, but try this on a hidden spot first. I don't think it will hurt a tee shirt, but I made a bad situation worse when I used it on a polyester dress, made a much bigger spot.

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      April 24, 2010 Flag
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      How do you remove nail polish from nylon clothes?

      By Theresa from Athens, AL

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      April 27, 20100 found this helpful

      The archived answer from Cyinda is very thorough. However, I would like to add a note of caution. She has told you that nail polish remover will melt a hole in some fabrics, and I had that experience. I had some on a "suede" dress, and the acetone took the fuzzy finish right off. It was much worse than the actual stain. Luckily, a gal in a dress shop had the idea to bring the belt around the front and fasten with a nice broach, which worked really well. Anyway, be sure to test the nail polish remover on the fabric in a hidden spot to see if it will damage the fabric.

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      March 9, 2010 Flag
      0 found this helpful

      My 3 year old daughter got into a purple bottle of nail polish. I would like to know what is the best way to remove it from my bed comforter.

      By Catina from Johnson City, NY

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      Anonymous Flag
      March 12, 20100 found this helpful

      Another person just asked a similar question but her fabric is white. Here's what I suggested to her but you might want to do a test on an inconspicuous portion of the comforter before trying unless your comforter also happens to be white:

      "Have you tried soaking the portion that is stained in nail polish remover and then briskly rub the fabric together? I would try non-acetone polish remover first and be sure to wash the pillowcase afterward. ;-) Let us know if this works or not, okay?"

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      April 7, 2009 Flag
      0 found this helpful

      How do you remove nail polish from a sweater?

      By Twilighter444 from Houston, TX

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      April 17, 20090 found this helpful

      Be very careful with nail polish remover. I had a spot of nail polish on a polyester suede dress. The polish remover removed the suede as well as the polish-- so I was worse off than when I started.

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      November 23, 2010 Flag
      0 found this helpful

      I spilled nail polish on a pair of pants (87% Nylon, 13% Elastine). What can I use to remove it without ruining the pants?

      By Janine from Moranbah, QLD, Australia

      Answers:

      Nail Polish Stains on Clothing

      I splurged for the sweetest white cotton dress with purple flowers for my toddler. She found bright blue nail polish (neon colored) and "went to town." It was all over the new dress! $36 dollars gone and she'd only worn it once. I scrambled to find hairspray and bug spray after nail polish remover failed. I couldn't find any hairspray.

      Instead, I used Krud Kutter (Target), which I use to get out food stains on carpet. I sprayed it on and watched the nail polish bleed onto the rest of the fabric. I waited a few minutes and sprayed a little more. After about ten minutes and a small amount of scrubbing with the back of my nail, all the nail polish vanished and her dress was like new. Krud Kutter is amazing. (04/01/2010)

      By krudkutter

      Nail Polish Stains on Clothing

      Thank you all. It was all great feedback and I will be certain to give it a try. The bug spray seems to be the popular one for my particular garment. Great site, keep it up! (04/02/2010)

      By janine.k.bennett

      Nail Polish Stains on Clothing

      OK, so cheer camp is coming up and our squad has to wear the same thing. I ordered hot pink Nike shorts like our coach asked. I wore them around the house and was messing around with nail polish. I got some on the shorts. :( I did not tell my mom because I knew she would get mad.

      So first, I used nail polish remover to try and get it out. It removed the outside layer, but not the entire stain. Then I used some hairspray and a toothbrush to try and get it off, nothing. So then I used Spray-n-Wash and put them in the washer. Some time later I take them out and the stain is still there. :O Desperate, I use Off! bug spray, Matisse hair spray, and Tea Tree oil. I combine them on the shorts and rub it in with a toothbrush. I was so happy when the stain was gone and my mom didn't find out! Hope this helps!;) (05/28/2010)

      By t-nail19

      Nail Polish Stains on Clothing

      Bug spray worked for me! Wow, I just have to say that there truly is a way to remove deep pink nail polish that has dried for 24 hours on a light, colored brand new swim suit. (My 5 year-old hid the swim suit after having an "accident", she confessed the next day.) I tried many of the things I read on here. (Nail polish remover, hair spray, tea tree oil, Goof Off, Oxi-Clean).

      The hair spray seemed to do the most to remove the nail polish, but still left a deep colored stain. I finally decided that was the best it was going to get and took it into the laundry room to toss in the wash. I noticed a can of Repel insect repellent on the shelf and remembered reading that bug spray also worked sometimes.

      I sprayed it on the stains and blotted it with a cloth, and I kid you not, the stain completely disappeared after about the third time. Unbelievable! That is the first time I have ever had success removing nail polish. I now know there really is a way to do it! Just keep trying different things, and don't give up. (06/26/2010)

      By Glorybound333

      Nail Polish Stains on Clothing

      I used a bar of Don Massimo. It takes out the stain but in the process weakens the fibers of the cloth (as it is an abrasive). (07/15/2010)

      By nancyillman

      Nail Polish Stains on Clothing

      Off insect repellent works really well. My daughter spilled hot pink nail polish on her white comforter and Off alone took it right out, I was shocked! (08/10/2010)

      By bromanlex

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      January 26, 2010 Flag
      0 found this helpful

      Have you ever had a bad nail polish stain? Well, I got a very bad one on my brand new shirt. I was very mad! So I called my aunt and she didn't know what to do, but suggested that I spray hairspray on it and rub it with my nail. So that's what I did, and it came out. It was 100% cotton and it didn't ruin the fabric. So I would just spray on some hairspray to get it out. If you're looking for a brand, it was Aussie.

      Source: My Aunt

      By packrat from Kirksville, MO

      Answers:

      Nail Polish Stains on Clothing

      I just used Goo-Gone Extreme Remover and it worked very well; nail polish remover, hair spray, bug spray, and goo-off didn't do a thing to my sweater. (09/28/2009)

      By flvia122

      Nail Polish Stains on Clothing

      Well, I just painted my nails in red and found out that 3 hours later I had wiped my finger on my brand new 100% cotton t-shirt that I was wearing. I felt so bad, as it cost a bit. So, after using acetone nail polish remover which I had no luck with instead just finding that it was spreading it even more, I then used a stain remover called preen which started to get a little bit of it off. I then phoned my grandma who said to try hairspray and then insect repellent and rub which I did and repeated 4 time and the stain came right out. So my day could continue. :-) (01/20/2010)

      By lozenja01

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      August 25, 2009 Flag
      0 found this helpful

      How do I remove nail polish from clothing after it has been washed?

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      June 11, 2009 Flag
      0 found this helpful

      I'm an Activity Director at a nursing home. I was painting finger nails and one of the polish bottles broke. I have it on my white pants and a dark purple top. How do I get this out?

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      June 4, 2009 Flag
      0 found this helpful

      My brother just washed and dried all my children's laundry with nail polish. It is all over everything. How can I quickly get this out? Is there something I can pour into the washer?

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      February 25, 2009 Flag
      0 found this helpful

      I recently got red nail polish on white linen shorts. Panicking I used acetone nail polish remover, which didn't work along with (this was dad's suggestion) paint thinner, with no avail before crying for about 20 min over my favorite and nicest article of clothing.

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