How to remove nail varnish from clothes

It's so easy to get wet nail varnish on your clothes! But do you know how to remove it? Read on for tips on removing nail varnish.

Updated 16 May 2023


AuthorBy Cleanipedia Team

Reading Time5 minutes

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Whether you’re in a rush or seem to lack a steady hand, getting nail varnish on your outfit is a rather common mishap. Luckily, there are a variety of ways to remove unwanted nail varnish stains – simply read this guide on how to remove nail varnish from clothes and pick the right method for you. If you've managed to spill nail polish on your carpet, we have the answers for you here.

The solutions will differ depending on the type of fabric that has been stained, but each method is just as effective and will remove nail polish from clothes without leaving any damage. Just ensure that you always check the care label on your garment in order to identify the type of material at hand.

You will need:

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  • How to remove nail polish from clothes that are washable

    Removing nail varnish from clothes that are washable is simpler than dry clean only items and can easily be attempted at home. For great results, try this method for washable clothes.

    1. 1

      Remove excess with a blunt tool

      Carefully remove any excess nail polish with a blunt tool, like a spoon.

    2. 2

      Use acetone nail polish remover on a small piece of the fabric

      Then take acetone nail polish remover and test it on a small piece of fabric that’s not visible when you’re wearing your garment to ensure that the colour doesn’t run.

    3. 3

      Soak a cloth with acetone and dab onto the area

      Soak a cloth or pad with acetone and then dab it onto the stained area.

      It is recommended that you avoid using vigorous motions to keep from damaging the fibres.
    4. 4

      Repeat with a clean cloth if stain remains

      If the stain remains, try using a fresh cloth or pad and repeat the process

    5. 5

      Leave to dry

      Once completed, leave your fabric to dry.

    If these steps have not removed the nail polish stain, you can either try applying a dry cleaning solvent or seek professional help at your local dry cleaners. The following materials are washable:

    - Cotton

    - Nylon

    - Polyester

    - Linen

  • Removing nail varnish from delicate clothes

    Certain fabrics are more delicate than others and cannot be washed in the washing machine. Therefore it’s important to take note of the following list in order to prevent damage when removing nail varnish from clothes and be sure to always check the care label on your garment for guidance.

    Potential dry clean only fabrics include:

    - Silk

    - Wool

    - Modacrylic

    - Rayon

    - Acetate

    The following steps are a handy way to remove nail polish from clothes without causing any damage to delicate items. As with the last method, make sure that you test your cleaning solution on a small, hidden area of the fabric first.

    1. 1

      Use a blunt tool to scrape off excess nail polish

      Firstly, attempt to remove excess nail polish by scraping off any solid chunks or flakes. Use a relatively blunt tool in order to keep from damaging the fabric.

    2. 2

      Mix one part coconut oil to eight parts dry-cleaning solvent and apply to the stain

      Make a dry spotter out of one part coconut or mineral oil to eight parts dry-cleaning solvent and apply to the stain as a pre-treatment.

    3. 3

      Leave for a few minutes

      Leave the dry spotter to set for a few minutes.

    4. 4

      Blot with a pad to absorb the nail varnish

      Next, blot the area with a pad or cloth so that the nail varnish can be absorbed.

    5. 5

      Blot until the stain has gone and then allow to dry

      Keep blotting until the stain has been lifted then allow to dry.

    If the nail varnish is proving to be rather difficult to remove, seek help from a professional dry cleaning service to avoid damaging the fabric with multiple attempts.

How to prevent nail varnish from damaging clothes?

To prevent nail varnish from damaging clothes, take the following precautions. Firstly, cover your work surface with a towel or an old cloth to create a protective barrier. When applying nail varnish, avoid doing so near clothing, and if possible, wear an old or protective apron. If a spill or drip occurs, act quickly. Use a clean cloth or paper towel to blot the area gently, taking care not to spread the varnish further. Avoid rubbing or scrubbing, as this can worsen the stain. For stubborn stains, consider using a nail varnish remover specifically designed for fabric, following the product instructions carefully. Finally, wash the garment as per the fabric's care instructions. Whether you are dealing with washable or delicate, dry clean only fabrics, both solutions are straightforward and don’t require much of your time. Give them a go!

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