Remove Nail Polish from Carpet

One of a beauty addict’s worst accidents is a nail polish spill. And not just a nail polish spill, but the crushing death of not only your favourite polish, but also the white/taupe/beige carpet or rug it fell on.



A Google search quickly leads you to a tip sheet including the following points

  1. Upon discovering any nail polish stains on your carpet, wet the stain with cold water.
  2. Spray 15-20 pumps of hair spray, followed by three to five small splashes of rubbing alcohol. This is the best approach when you’re wondering how to remove nail polish from carpet.
  3. Using a small scrub brush, scrub the nail polish stain directly for about a minute. While you’re scrubbing, keep pouring clean, cold water onto the stain throughout the process.
  4. Repeat this process until the nail polish stain is no longer visible.


I tried the above but didn’t quite get the results I was looking for. So I added non-acetone nail polish remover. And blotted. And blotted some more using clean paper towels… Still not quite removing the hot pink mess on my carpet. That’s how I landed upon the following tricks guaranteed to remove your polish mess! 

Here is what you will need: 

  • OxyClean or similar non-bleach stain remover 
  • Hot water
  • Non-acetone nail polish remover 
  • Hair spray
  • Sponge
  • Paper towels 
  • Brush or old toothbrush 



  1. Blot the polish spill to remove any wet polish, using clean cloth or paper towel each time so as not to spread the mess. Do not rub!
  2. Apply some nail polish remover on the spill, and blot, never rubbing. Blot using clean paper towel each time, otherwise you will transfer polish onto clean areas.
  3. Mix a scoop of OxyClean into about 2-4 cups hot water, preferably in a bucket. 
  4. Apply this OxyClean mixture, using a sponge, on the stain. Rub this in, but only one small polish-stained area at a time. (This prevents spreading the coloured foam this creates, and prevents your spreading the stain.)
  5. Spray a good dose of hairspray onto the stain.
  6. Blot and repeat blotting the small area you just worked on. 
  7. You can also scrub the small stain using a brush/toothbrush to work the stain remover in, but blot between scrubbing to prevent foam/coloured water from spreading the stain.
  8. Your polish stain should start to fade to a different colour–in my case, it became orange.
  9. Now pour some non-acetone polish remover on the small area you are working… Blot. You will see polish transferring onto your paper towel.
  10. Continue blotting, using a fresh piece of paper towel each time. 
  11. Scrub using OxyClean mixture again. Spray hairspray. Blot again. 
  12. Apply polish remover and blot again. 
  13. This does take some scrubbing but your stain will start to fade, until it is no longer visible. The key is to blot. A LOT.
  14. Once you are happy with the result, blot using clean towels or paper towel to absorb as much of the fluid as possible. 
  15. Et voila!

Here was my result after scrubbing once with the OxyClean mixture:



A little better:



Until finally, the stain was gone: 



I am pretty confident that if I was able to remove this hot pink (with shimmer!) polish, my tricks will help you clean your light-coloured carpet with some help and elbow-grease. 🙂

Let me know if this method worked for you! Good luck!

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6 comments
  1. Manna said:

    Thanks for this! I haven’t spilled polish (yet) but I did spill an entire red candle on the floor. It was a disaster!

  2. Kristeena said:

    Oh my goodness the hair spray and alcohol SAVED my carpet, thank YOU ☺️

    • Yes!! So happy to see this! Glad it helped you as well. 🙂

  3. Valerie said:

    Worked perfectly, can’t thank you enough!!!

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