How to Fix Nail-Polish Remover on a Wood Table

A spill of nail-polish remover, especially if it's pure acetone, can damage the finish on a wood table almost immediately. Depending on the extent of the damage, it could be a quick fix, or it could require refinishing. If the nail-polish remover has left a white stain, it's possible only the wax, not the finish itself, has been affected. Try the easy tricks first to determine if it requires a bigger, more involved refinishing job.

Things You'll Need

  • Cotton cloths
  • Iron
  • Oil soap for wood
  • Olive oil
  • Ashes
  • Furniture wax
  • Fine steel wool
  • White toothpaste
  • Belt sander
  • Stain
  • Wood lacquer


    • 1

      Place a clean cotton cloth over the nail polish-remover stain. Fill the iron's reservoir with water and turn it on to the steam setting. When the iron is hot, press it against the cloth. Check the stain after a few seconds. If it's starting to fade, continue until it's gone. Clean the area with oil soap for wood.

    • 2

      Make a paste of 1 tbsp. of olive oil and 1 tbsp. of ashes from a fireplace or ashtray. Rub the paste on the stain and let it sit for 20 minutes. Wipe away with a clean cloth and clean with oil soap.

    • 3

      Rub the stain with fine steel wool and a pea-sized amount of white toothpaste. Follow by rubbing the area with olive oil on a cotton cloth.

    • 4

      Refinish the entire tabletop if the stain is deeper than the wax coating and large. Sand off the finish using a belt sander, wipe with a damp cloth and apply two or three coats of stain. Finish with a coat of lacquer.

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