Can You Get Nail Polish Out of Your Carpet?

Get nail polish out of your carpet with common household solvents and some elbow grease.
Written by Lynell Spencer
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
Nail Polish can be removed from your carpet using a combination of cold water, hairspray, and rubbing alcohol. 
Nail polish on your carpet can feel like a disastrous eyesore. Fortunately, it can be removed with some elbow grease and a few household solvents. Some factors will make the process more or less difficult, including the type and color of carpet you have, and how long the spill has been there. 
car and home insurance
has put together this handy guide for removing nail polish from your carpet—no matter the situation.  
Let Jerry find your price in only 45 seconds
No spam · No long forms · No fees
Find insurance savings

How to clean nail polish out of carpet

If the spill has just happened, start by blotting the excess polish with a paper towel or a clean rag. Do not rub—just blot the area. Rubbing the polish will only spread it and grind it deeper into the fibers of the carpet you are trying to save. 
When you have removed what you can by blotting—or if the spill has already dried on the carpet—follow these steps:
  • Wet the nail polish stain with cold water
  • Spray 15-20 pumps of hair spray onto the nail polish stains and cover that with around a capful of rubbing alcohol 
  • Use a small brush (like a toothbrush) to scrub the nail polish stain in a circular motion for about a minute. While brushing the stain, periodically pour cold water directly onto the polish spots
  • Next, pour non-acetone nail polish remover onto the stain and continue to brush it out
  • Gently blot the stain (don’t rub) with a paper towel until all of the nail polish is gone Make sure to change the towel often so that you don’t smear the carpet more.
  • Use a wet/dry vacuum or a spot steamer around the stain spot to remove excess liquid.
Repeat this process until the stain is gone. It can take a few tries but keep at it and you will see results!
MORE: How to remove bugs, tar, and sap from car paint

Other nail polish removal methods 

There are some other solvents that can work on carpets as well. Window cleaner, hairspray, vinegar, and dry cleaning solvent have all been used successfully to remove polish from different carpet types, so you may need to try a couple of different things before you have the best combination for your stain. 
Remember to test each solvent on an area of your carpet that is hidden before starting your stain removal. 
Depending on the type of carpet you have, here is a look at what solvent works best:
Carpet type/color
Recommended Method
Dark colored carpet
Use hairspray and rubbing alcohol instead of nail polish remover
Nail Polish remover can bleach your carpet
Light-colored carpet
Clear, non-acetone polish remover
colored polish removers can stain your carpet
Shag or high-pile carpet
Use scissors to trim polish out of the tips of the carpet
Removes the surface paint so that you can clean underneath
Let Jerry find you the best homeowners insurance policy for your needs
* checking your rate won’t affect your credit score
Shop Now
* checking your rate won’t affect your credit score

Does home insurance cover damaged carpet? 

If you have a really bad stain—and have tried everything else—you may be considering getting your carpet professionally cleaned or replacing your carpet, which can be quite the hefty cost. Unfortunately, as a nail polish stain is not caused by a named peril—just human error—it won’t be covered by
home insurance
Typically, your installed carpets (but not throw rugs or area rugs) are covered by insurance for the
named perils
like the rest of the structures of your home. These generally only include things beyond your control, things like fire or smoke damage. 
Damage to your carpet caused by normal wear and tear, lack of maintenance, or negligence would not be covered by your homeowners policy.  

Choosing the right homeowners insurance

Replacing or cleaning your carpet is expensive. Save some money for household maintenance by shopping around for the best deals on your homeowners insurance policy. And
makes the whole process easy. 
Simply download the app, answer a few questions, and Jerry does all of the rest—including completing paperwork and helping to cancel your old policy. You can even bundle your home and auto insurance for even greater savings. 
was wonderful! I used it for my auto and renters policies. I trusted it so much that I signed up my homeowners insurance under Jerry as well. All of the agents are amazingly nice and knowledgeable.” —Mary Y.
Thousands of customers saved on average $887/year on their car insurance with Jerry
This app is great, but the customer service is even better! Not to mention convenient! My husband and I got the lowest rate (much lower than the rates I was finding online through my own searches), quickly, and pretty much all through text message! Thank you so much for a hassle free experience👍
Gabriella R.
Find insurance savings
rating primary
4.7/5 Rating on App Store


White vinegar is a very acidic compound that can break down the chemical composition of nail polish. To take care of a polish stain, soak the spot on your carpet with white vinegar and let it sit for about 10 minutes, then scrub with a small brush and blot dry.
Unfortunately, there is no instant answer for removing nail polish from your carpet. If the stain is only on the tips of the carpet, you could trim them—but for a set-in stain, you are likely in for a few rounds of spot cleaning.
Save an average of 18% by bundling your home and auto insurance
Bundle your home and auto insurance with Jerry and save!
Try Jerry

Easiest way to compare and buy car insurance

No long forms
No spam or unwanted phone calls
Quotes from top insurance companies
Find insurance savings