How to Get Fingernail Polish Out of a Couch

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You may regularly paint your nails at the dining room table or your desk. But while lounging in front of the television one evening, you may have chosen to paint them on the couch. Having no steady place to put the bottle, knocking it over was probably inevitable. Your couch is now just as colorful as your nails – but not as attractive. To remove it, just get out your acetone nail polish remover and get to work.

Things You'll Need

  • Spoon
  • Clean cloths
  • Acetone nail polish remover
  • Dry cleaning solvent or neutral detergent
  • Water

Scrape off dried nail polish with the edge of a spoon. Blot wet nail polish with a clean towel. Resist the temptation to rub the stain, as this will spread the nail polish.

Test a small amount of acetone nail polish remover on an inconspicuous area of your couch for colorfastness. It's important to note that acetone is unsafe for upholstery containing acetate, as well as upholstery that cannot be cleaned by solvents. This is indicated by a “W” on the manufacturer's care tag for upholstery that does not require professional cleaning (see Resources).

Apply a few drops of nail polish remover onto the stain. Blot the stain with a clean cloth. The nail polish should transfer itself to the cloth. Continue to apply the acetone nail polish remover and blot until you have removed the stain.

Follow up the acetone treatment by sponging the area with a dry cleaning solvent. Blot with a clean towel to remove excess solvent. As an alternative, Anne Field, an extension specialist at Michigan State University, recommends blotting with a solution of one tsp. neutral, mild detergent with one cup of lukewarm water. Sponge the area with water and blot to remove excess moisture.

Allow the area to dry completely.

Tips & Warnings

  • If acetone is unsafe for your upholstery, try hydrogen peroxide. Apply the hydrogen peroxide to the stain and blot with a clean towel. Continue until you have removed the stain. Sponge the area with cold water and blot to remove excess moisture. Allow the area to dry thoroughly.
  • When using acetone nail polish remover and dry cleaning solvent, make sure the room is well-ventilated. The fumes given off by both are irritating.

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