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Published on May 18, 2017 | Updated - Jan 5, 2024
Our 10-year-old daughter has decided that she’s old enough to paint her nails without parental supervision. Whilst this has become an ongoing conversation in our home, as a professional carpet cleaner, I’m reminded of just how difficult it is to remove nail polish from the carpet.
Nail polish is a paint that contains hardeners to help it set quickly and bond to nails. This means that nail polish can’t be “cleaned away”, and we instead need to use solvents to break down and remove the nail polish slowly. This is easier said than done.
To remove a nail polish stain, we need to use a solvent to dissolve the nail polish. This process is similar to using mineral terps when we clean up after painting with an oil-based paint.
Rubbing alcohol is an effective solvent on some types of nail polish, but it’s likely you’ll need acetone or nail polish remover to achieve the best possible result. Rubbing alcohol is a “dry solvent”, so it totally evaporates after use, whilst acetone is a “wet solvent” that leaves a residue. This means that rubbing alcohol is safer and less likely to damage your carpet, so we recommend using rubbing alcohol as our first option in the treatment process.
What you'll need
Using strong solvents on carpets comes with a number of risks. Whilst rubbing alcohol is generally safe to use, acetone or nail polish remover can pose some challenges.
It is nearly impossible to remove a nail polish stain totally, but you should be able to reduce the stain to a faint mark that, hopefully, you can live with. You will tend to find that some of the nail polish will run down the carpet fibres when it comes into contact with the nail polish remover, affecting the entire carpet fibre and the backing. You will decrease the possibility of this occurring by using small amounts of nail polish remover; however, this is often inevitable.
If in doubt, call the professionals at Electrodry Carpet Dry Cleaning. Our specialised stain removal systems safely remove all kinds of stains. Nail polish is tricky to remove, however, and even after our professional stain treatment, a faint nail polish stain is likely to remain.