If You Get Some Nail Polish on Your Shirt or Pants Can You Get it Out?


Although nail polish can create an attractive, polished look, it can also leave a big mess. Absorbent fabrics such as clothing and upholstery quickly absorb nail polish and become pigmented. Because nail polish is a liquid, it spreads rapidly, and its tendency to dry quickly can make it difficult to remove the stain. Fortunately, there are several effective methods for removing nail polish stains from clothing.

After the Spill

  • Immediately after you spill nail polish, use a paper towel or absorbent washcloth to gently blot the spilled polish. Avoid rubbing the stain, as this can grind the polish deeply into the fabric, making it more difficult to remove. Don't put the soiled garment in the washing machine. Laundry detergent is unlikely to remove the stain, and the washing process can set the stain, making it nearly impossible to remove.

Nail Polish Remover

  • House cleaning website Mrs. Clean points out that acetone polish remover is one of the most effective nail polish stain removers. This method works best when applied before the nail polish has dried. Pull the garment taut over a bowl and drip nail polish remover over the stain, allowing it to run through the garment to the bowl. If you've stained a brightly colored garment or if the stain is in a particularly conspicuous location, don't use polish remover, as the acetone can strip some colors from clothing.


  • If the stain has already dried, scrape away loose pieces of the polish with a nail file or sandpaper. Then, rub the stain with a gum-based eraser. Continue alternating between filing the stain and rubbing it with the eraser until it is gone.

Hair Spray

  • Place a paper towel or cotton ball under the garment to absorb any polish, and then apply hair spray to the dried nail polish stain. Wait a few minutes, and then scrape the stain with a soft toothbrush.

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