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Stains: How to Remove Nail Polish from your Carpet

Date posted: 24 November 2016

If you accidentally spill nail varnish on your carpet, don't panic – with the right cleaning approach you should be able to remove the stain.

For the best results, follow the steps in Stage 1 carefully, and if you still have any remaining stain you can then move on to Stage 2.

Stage 1: Using nail polish remover

  1. Blot up as much of the spilt nail polish as you can. Obviously avoid pressing the nail polish further into the carpet, or spreading it across a wider area.
  2. Using either an eye dropper or a cotton bud, apply a little bit of nail polish remover (acetone) to the remaining nail polish stain. Acetone can harm certain fibres so it is best to test it on an inconspicuous area of carpet (e.g. behind a bookshelf or under a sofa!) before you use it on the stain.
  3. Immediately after the nail polish remover touches the carpet, blot it straight away with a clean, white cloth or a piece of kitchen towel. The nail polish should transfer from the carpet onto the cloth.
  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 until you can not get any more nail polish to transfer onto your cloth.

If the stain has completely disappeared, stop cleaning.

If, on the other hand, you can still see some nail varnish, continue with Stage 2, below.

Stage 2: Using a dry cleaning solvent

  1. This time, use a dry-cleaning solvent, turpentine or white spirit to blot at the stain, again continuing until no more nail polish transfers from the carpet onto your cloth. Changes to the chemicals used in some nail polish may make this less effective. It is also worth testing the solvent on a hidden area of carpet before using it on the stain, just to check it causes no harm to the fibres.
  2. If the stain has completely gone, stop cleaning. If not, move on to Stage 3.

Stage 3: Using hydrogen peroxide

  1. Apply a small amount of 3% solution of hydrogen peroxide to the remaining stain using an eye dropper or a cotton bud. Be aware that hydrogen peroxide can bleach natural fibre carpets such as wool, so you need to test it on a hidden area first.
  2. Use a small amount of cold water on a clean cloth to gently blot at the carpet to remove the hydrogen peroxide.
  3. Blot the carpet dry.

To remove nail polish from an item of upholstery you can follow the same steps as for carpet cleaning, above.

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