Here's How To Get Nail Polish Out Of Your Clothes For Good

Fans of manicures know what a bummer it is when your nails grow and your polish fades. Running to a salon for a fresh coat of paint every two weeks isn't always convenient, so many of us resort to doing some DIY touchups in the comfort of our homes. 


Here's the pickle: No matter how many fancy tools you have, doing your own manicure is a tough skill to master. DIY nail faux pas happen all the time, including clumpy varnish, uneven fingernail trim, and (the worst of all) spilling polish on your clothes. It's hard to not panic in this case, especially because the durability of nail polish makes it the enemy of fabric.

Made of various chemicals that quickly solidify into the fibers, nail polish can be very difficult to remove from fabric, per Ariel. If left untreated, nail polish can leave a permanent stain on your clothing. 

"The longer the polish is left to sit and seep into the fabric, the harder it is to lift," laundry expert Madeline Miller tells InStyle. Therefore, it's best to treat lacquer marks as quickly as possible to prevent them from ruining your clothes. 


Here are a few expert-approved tips to remove nail polish from your clothes for good.

Use nail polish remover to get polish out of clothes

According to laundry expert Patric Richardson (via Yahoo! Finance), all you need to remove a nail polish stain from your clothing is laundry detergent, cotton swabs, and nail polish remover. 

To err on the safe side, apply a small amount of acetone-based polish remover on a small, unconspicuous patch of your clothing. If the fabric doesn't react adversely to the formula — like changing color or deteriorating — proceed to use the liquid on your clothing. You might want to use a non-acetone remover if your clothing is delicate or pricey, like silk or wool, to risk being bleached or damaged, per Bailey Carson, head of cleaning at Handy (via Byrdie).


First, put an old towel on the underside of the stain to prevent spreading, and dab at the stain with a cotton swab soaked in polish remover. Keep dabbing until the stain is gone, and treat the stain afterward with soap and tepid water. 

You can machine wash it in cold water, which works well to lift water-based stains, and let it hang to dry. Until the stain is completely removed, don't put the clothing into a dryer, which will set the stain deeper into the fabric.

Hair spray can help lift the lacquer stain, too

Contrary to the method of using nail polish remover to lift lacquer stains from clothes, The Maids suggests reserving nail polish remover for your nails only. The reason is that the chemicals in the remover might wreak havoc on certain fabric dyes. 


Instead, use a dry cleaning solvent or hair spray on the stain. To gently bleach away fingernail polish stains from white garments, use hydrogen peroxide, an effective yet gentle bleaching chemical. Once the stain has been eliminated, wash your item in cool water, and hang it to dry.

Another cost-effective way to get nail polish out of your clothes is to use distilled white vinegar, Silver Bobbin advises. Although vinegar is not as effective as acetone in breaking down nail polish, it's more suitable for delicate materials that don't react well to acetone. 

To use this method, soak a clean cloth in white vinegar, and put it over the stained area. Let it sit for 10 minutes before using a clothing brush or an old toothbrush to brush away the varnish. After successfully lifting any remaining polish, rinse out the vinegar with cold water. Then, let your garment air dry. 


If any stains persist after trying all the aforementioned remedies, you might want to seek the help of a professional launderer.