How To Get Nail Polish Out Of Clothes

How to remove nail polish out of clothes

Table of Contents

Can’t get rid of nail polish stains? Don’t worry, we will help you out.

Nail polish is formulated in a way to stay on the nails for a longer period. That’s why their stains are often tough to remove. But, when you know the right stain removers, getting rid of stains becomes a cakewalk.

So, let’s quickly move forward and see how to get nail polish out of clothes.

Things To Know Before You Try To Get
Nail Polish Out Of Clothes

Things to consider before trying to get nail paint stains out of clothes

It will take time

Unlike dirt stains, nail polish may take time to vanish completely. It is better not to expect instant results. You might have to repeat the stain removal process multiple times to get nail polish out of clothes.

Treat the stain ASAP

You should treat the stain as soon as you spot it. If the stain is still wet (nail polish is still sticky), it has yet to settle deeply in the fabric. At this stage, it is easy to get nail polish out of clothes.

Reading the garment care label is necessary

The process of getting nail polish out of clothes differs for washable and “dry-clean only” clothes. Hence, you should check the garment care label first to know whether the garment is washable or not. Other than this, certain stain-removing ingredients like acetone may not be safe for every fabric such as velvet. Check whether the label has specific instructions regarding stain removers.

Check out: Everything About Using Home Dry Cleaning Kits

How To Get Nail Polish Out Of Washable Clothes

Things You’ll Need:

  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Acetone or acetone-based nail polish remover
  • Paper towels or clean white clothes
  • Cotton swabs

1. Remove excess nail polish

If the nail polish is still wet, remove it using a butter knife, credit card, or any similar blunt object. Do not spread it onto the cleaner parts of the garment. If the stain is dried out use the same objects to gently scrape off the excess nail polish.

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2. Treat the stain with acetone

As stated above, there are three things to keep in mind while choosing a lipstick stain remover:

You will need acetone (available in pharmacy stores) or acetone-based nail polish remover to get rid of nail polish stains easily.

But, you should know: 

Acetone can cause discolouration in some fabrics. Hence, before using it directly on the stain, test it in a hidden part of the garment. Here’s what you need to do: 

  • Dip a cotton swab in acetone or acetone-based nail polish remover
  • Rub it on a hidden area of the garment such as the inside hem of sleeves. 
  • Wait for 10-15 minutes. 

If any discolouration occurs, it is not safe to use acetone on that particular garment, replace acetone with rubbing alcohol and follow the below-mentioned steps. If there is no discolouration, here’s what you need to do next:

How to get nail polish out of clothes using acetone
Remove nail polish from clothes using acetone
  • Lay a clean white paper towel/ microfiber towel or old white cloth on a table.
  • Spread the stained area on this towel/cloth.
  • Dip a cotton swab in the acetone or acetone-based nail polish remover.
  • Scrub the stain gently with the cotton swab. It will push the stain inside and prevent it from spreading.
  • The stain will slowly transfer to the paper towel/cloth, keep changing the cloth or place stained part on a cleaner area. The key is to have a clean cloth underneath so that the stain doesn’t get back on the garment.
  • You will need to change the cotton swab once it gets covered with nail polish.
  • Repeat the process until the stain is no longer transferring to the towel/cloth.

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3. Treat the stain using rubbing alcohol

This step is only required if the stain still persists.

If you have already used rubbing alcohol instead of acetone, you can repeat the entire process again immediately or wait for 2-3 days and then retry getting nail polish out of clothes.

If you have treated the stain with acetone, you need to repeat the same process explained in the previous point, just replace acetone with rubbing alcohol.

Once the stain is gone or lightened, wash the garment as usual.

If the stain still persists, you may need to try removing it multiple times with the same process or you can get professional help.

Quick hack

If you can’t find rubbing alcohol, you can use hair spray to get nail polish out of clothes. It often works to some extent. The good part is that it will not damage the colour of garments (still do a patch test on a hidden area). 

  • Dampen the stain with hairspray. 
  • Scrub the stain using a cotton swab or anything similar. 
  • Wash the garment as usual.

Note: Rubbing alcohol can be used on some “Dry-clean only” clothes as well. However, there will be a risk of damage to the fabric. Hence, we do not recommend treating such clothes at home. 

Also Read: 4 Uses of Vinegar in Laundry

When Do You Need A Drycleaner?

Drycleaners can efficiently get nail paint out of clothes
Drycleaners can efficiently get nail paint out of clothes
  • If the nail polish stain is still visible after 4-5 attempts.
  • If you have a stain on a “dry-clean only” garment.
  • If the stained garment is too old, expensive to ensure 100% safety of the fabric.
  • If the stain is on embellishments such as sequins and beads.
  • If you have nail polish stain on fabrics like silk, wool, triacetate, modacrylic, acetate, leather or natural fabric that may bleed colour.


There is no DIY or household stain remover that is safe for these fabrics. Products like acetone can dissolve the fibres of acetate and triacetate. So, if you have a stain on any of the above-mentioned garments, it is better to take it to a dry cleaner. They can use mild chemicals suitable for both the stain and the fabric.

Hey! don’t like washing clothes every weekend? Don’t worry, we will do it. 

Key Takeaway

Nail polish stains may not get out of clothes completely in a single stain removal attempt. So, be patient as you might have to repeat the processes multiple times. 

Acetone and Rubbing alcohol are two highly effective stain removers for nail polish removers.

We do not recommend treating stains on “dry-clean only” garments using acetone as it may cause discolouration in coloured clothes and cause further damage to delicate clothes, you can refer to the previous section to read this in detail. 

Rubbing alcohol is still safe on most fabrics, however, do not use any ingredient without carrying out a patch test. 

For more such articles on stain removal and washing clothes, keep visiting Tumbledry as we post a lot of these topics. 

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author. They do not necessarily purport to reflect the values or views of Tumbledry.

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