Nail Varnish in Carpet

Created by Adam King, Modified on Fri, 06 May 2022 at 01:28 PM by Adam King

Blog - Carpet Runners - Nail Varnish

September 2018

How to Get Nail Varnish Out of Carpet Using Everyday Household Products




You’re getting ready for your big night out and the worst happens; a big blob of nail varnish lands on your pristine carpet. What do you do? First thing’s first: Don’t panic. Nail varnish might be a sticky nightmare of a stain, but it CAN be removed. All it takes is a collection of everyday household products and a cool head. We’ve created this guide on how to get nail varnish out of carpet using several different everyday products, which most of us are likely to have lying around in our cupboards. 

First, though …

There are the golden rules of removing nail varnish from carpet:

Act Fast - Nail varnish is easier to remove from carpet when it’s still wet. Sometimes in life we do unfortunately only discover carpet stains after they’ve already dried (we’ll come to that, so don’t panic) but if the stain is fresh then act fast for more effective removal.

Do a Tester Patch - No matter which product you’re using to remove nail varnish from carpet, always test it on a small, hidden patch before tackling your stain. You never know how your carpet might react, and you don’t want to make the stain worse, particularly when using bleaching agents. 

Stick to Plain - Removing stains inevitably involves using cloths, but we advise you stick to plain white ones. Using coloured or patterned cloths presents a risk of the colours transferring to your carpet, which would be a disaster. Steer clear of using paper towels for rubbing purposes, too, as these fall apart and turn to mulch when they get wet. These are fine for soaking up moisture, however.

Be Careful with Wool - If you’re working with a wool carpet then avoid using any cleaning products containing bleach and ammonia together, as these contain alkalis. Alkalis and wool absolutely hate one another, so steer clear if you don’t want to ruin your carpet for good.

Let’s Get Started …

How to Get Nail Varnish out of Carpet: Using Non-Acetone Nail Varnish Remover

Nail varnish remover? Really? It might sound oddly obvious, but nail varnish remover can be used to remove nail varnish from carpet just as it can for our actual nails. 

Step 1: Blot the stain with a plain, damp cloth to keep the stain wet

Step 2: Take a new cloth and apply some of the nail varnish remover to it

Step 3: Blot the stain gently with the cloth to lift as much of the colour as possible. Apply more nail varnish remover to a clean area of cloth and repeat the process, alternating water dabs and nail varnish remover dabs, as many times as it takes to lift the stain completely.

How to Get Nail Varnish out of Carpet: Using Hair Spray

Another easy product to lay your hands on, hair spray can be highly effective at removing tricky stains. Aim for the cheaper brands if you can.

Step 1: As with all of these methods, keep the stain wet by blotting with a damp cloth

Step 2: Apply a good spray of hairspray to another plain cloth or sponge

Step 3: Blot the stain gently with the hairspray cloth; the stain should start to lift gradually. Repeat the process, applying more hairspray to clean areas of the cloth and blotting until the stain is gone.

How to Get Nail Varnish out of Carpet: Using Window Cleaner

Window cleaner is a magic substance that’s great for more than just cleaning glass. If the above methods haven’t shifted the stain, try this:

Step 1: Blot the stain with a cloth or paper towel to soak up as much excess nail varnish as possible. Then blot with a clean, damp cloth to keep the remaining stain wet.

Step 2: Apply a small amount of window cleaner to the stain on the carpet and use another clean cloth to gently rub the stain in a small, circular motion.

Step 3: Rinse and blot the area with water and allow to dry. The stain should lift, but repeat the process if it hasn’t entirely disappeared.

How to Get Nail Varnish out of Carpet: Hydrogen Peroxide and Bircarb of Soda

Before we dive into this one, remember if you’ve got a wool carpet then this method is a total no-go. Hydrogen peroxide should also only be used on light-coloured carpets (i.e. cream or white) as it is a bleaching agent, and remember to use a standard household 3% solution as anything higher will be too strong. Remember to also try this out on an inconspicuous or hidden area of carpet before you tackle the main stain, just to be safe. 

Step 1: Apply some hydrogen peroxide solution to a plain cloth or sponge and apply to the area, or tip a small amount directly onto the stain (be careful with your aim if you’re doing this). 

Step 2: Blot the area with a damp cloth to remove any excess solution.

Step 3: Mix your bicarbonate of soda with a small amount of water to achieve a paste consistency. Apply a blob of paste to your stain, completely covering it, and leave to soak for an hour. 

Step 4: Tip a thick layer of more bicarbonate of soda (on its own this time) over the top and leave for another hour. 

Step 5: Gently scoop up the mixture with a spoon and then vacuum up any excess powder. The stain should be gone, but repeat the process if any discolouration remains.

Found a Dried-on Nail Varnish Stain?

Here’s how to get nail varnish out of carpet if it’s dried on. This is much more difficult, but it CAN be done with a little gentle persuasion and care in equal measure. You’ll need your non-acetone nail varnish remover and a little surgical spirit (you can find this in most beauty stores). 

Step 1: Mix equal amounts of your nail varnish remover and surgical spirit and carefully apply a small amount to your dried stain.

Step 2: Take an old toothbrush (medium or soft bristles) and very gently brush the area to loosen flakes of polish. This needs to be gentle to avoid damaging your carpet fibres. 

Step 3: Vacuum up loosened polish. Repeat steps as many times as it takes to remove the entire stain.

Do you have any tips and tricks for removing nail varnish from carpet? Share them with us on our social media pages below. 


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