How to Get Nail Polish Stains Out of Carpet

There are your everyday spills, accidents you’re not happy to see but you know you can handle. Then there are things like nail polish.

We’re not going to lie to you – this is a nasty stain full of synthetic dyes and chemicals. This guide will help you deal with the spot, but it might only be able to lighten it.

If you don’t feel like tackling the stain yourself, remember that Oxi Fresh’s carpet stain removal experts are just a call away.

Now let’s get started (and thanks to for the great information!)

Step 1
One of the most important things to do when treating spilled nail polish is to act fast. Grab a small spoon and start scooping up the polish.

Work from the outside edge of the spot towards the center, scooping upwards as you go. Wipe down the spoon with every scoop to keep it from getting spread around.

Step 2
Grab a clean towel and blot the spot. Like with the spoon, work towards the center of the spot and frequently change what part of the towel you’re using. If you don’t, this carpet stain removal tip will only spread the stain around more.

Step 3
Get a clean towel (or a different part of the previous towel) and dampen it with water. Blot the spot again. Frequently switch between different parts of the towel so you don’t spread the polish around.

Please note, you’re just trying to keep the spot from drying out– you’re not removing the carpet stain, so don’t scrub or work to aggressively. Also, don’t use too wet of a towel, as excess water can spread the spot around.

Step 4
Take a different towel and wet part of it with nail polish remover. Begin blotting the spot, working from the outside edge towards the center. Make sure you switch to different parts of the towel as you go.

WARNING: Nail polish remover, especially the acetone variety, is not designed for carpets and could damage them. Test the product by blotting it onto a small, inconspicuous part of the carpet. Follow this up by blotting the test area with a wet towel and then drying the area with another towel.

Examine the area for color loss or color transfer. If there is any, you shouldn’t use the product on the carpets. Even if there isn’t color loss, just remember that there’s always the risk of it happening elsewhere on the floor.

Step 5
Eventually, you won’t get anymore polish out of the carpet with the nail polish remover. When that happens, wet part of a towel with rubbing alcohol. Begin blotting the spot, working from the outside edge towards the center. Make sure you switch to different parts of the towel as you go.

IMPORTANT: Like with the nail polish remover, rubbing alcohol is not a carpet-friendly product. Follow the same testing regime in Step 4 to see if the product is safe to use on the floor. You should test on the same spot where you tested the nail polish remover.

Step 6
Eventually, you won’t get anymore nail polish out of the carpet with the rubbing alcohol. When that happens, mix a little dish soap with warm water and dampen a towel with the solution. Thoroughly blot the spot and the area immediately surrounding it.

Step 7
Finally, dampen a towel with water and blot the spot. Your goal is to remove the soapy residue, so keep blotting until it’s gone. You might need to switch towels at some point.

Step 8
Let the spot dry. You can use fans to speed this process up.


We hope that this carpet stain removal tip has helped save the carpet or at least lightened the spot significantly. That said, if the spot is still sitting there stubbornly, Oxi Fresh is here to help.

We offer special carpet stain removal services designed to break apart and extract advanced stains like nail polish, gum, wax, and rust. If this home remedy didn’t get you the results you desired, give us a call at 1-877-OXIFRESH and ask about our Spotting Kit services.

A big thanks to the team at for the great guide. Also, thanks to Disco-Dan for the photo “Splash of red” which is licensed under CC BY 2.0. We cropped and adjusted brightness of the photo.

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