How to Get Nail Polish Off of a Wooden Surface

While removing fingernail polish from wood with a fingernail polish remover may seem like a logical idea, the polish remover actually can ruin the finish. Instead of reaching for the polish remover, use other items that you have around the home to restore the surface. Nail polish must be removed carefully because you can damage the wood. After you remove the stain, you may need to touch up the wood surface to restore it back to its original condition.

Things You'll Need

  • Plastic putty knife
  • Washcloth
  • Mineral spirits
  • Denatured alcohol
  • Wood paste wax
  • 0000 grade steel wool
  • Wax or touch-up


    • 1

      Scrape the surface of the wood gently with a plastic putty knife to chip off the dried nail polish. Loosen the nail polish with a washcloth dampened in hot water and continue scraping the surface carefully.

    • 2

      Apply mineral spirits or denatured alcohol to a washcloth to dampen it. Rub the washcloth over the wood surface to remove the nail polish.

    • 3

      Rub a wood paste wax over the nail polish stain. Rub it on the stain in the direction of the wood grain with fine steel wool until you remove the nail polish.

    • 4

      Wipe the wood surface with a damp washcloth to rinse the area. Dry the wood completely to prevent it from warping.

    • 5

      Apply a wax or finish touch up product to the wood to restore the surface. Follow the directions on the product before you use it.

Tips & Warnings

  • Mineral spirits and denatured alcohol may remove the paint from the wood surface. Rub the wood gently to prevent taking the paint off the wood.
  • Never use steel wool that is not fine grade because you can damage the wood surface.
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  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Pixland/Getty Images

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