How to remove nail polish from carpet

Well from the title you know where this post is going don’t you?

A couple of months ago the sun was out and we were getting ready to head into town. I thought it’d be a great idea to paint my toenails so they would look a bit nicer with my Birkenstocks. I usually paint them downstairs where we have wooden flooring but as I was in a rush I did them in our bedroom next to my dressing table.

All was going well and they were all done but as I was putting the brush back into its pot I got distracted by the boys and missed. The bottle toppled over, I tried to grab it and it was one of those awful slow motion moments where you just know the end result is going to be bad. And it was really really bad.

Nail polish went all over our BEIGE carpet and red nail polish at that! I tried to “dab” at it but I knew that wasn’t going to work.

I felt sick and I instantly felt like a child again with that huge sense of dread when you have done something wrong that you need to own up to.

I told Mr H what had happened and needless to say, he was not impressed.

A quick google later and there were lots of suggestions. The lovely Rachel from Parenthood Highs and Lows who also had this happen to her gave me some suggestions on how I could attempt to remove the polish, her partner used to be a carpet fitter so she had some great tips and advice for me. One tip was to use an iron and steam to steam the polish out – you can read about this on her post here). Unfortunately, because our carpet was a much lighter colour this didn’t seem to work for me.

So after trying and failing to get hold of some rubbing alcohol and hairspray to attempt to remove the polish I settled on a couple of bottles of acetone from our local pharmacy.

I used a cloth to apply the acetone onto the carpet and then dabbed it with a tea towel which slowly but surely worked the polish off gradually.

As you can see from the photos it looks much better than it did. This used up two small bottles of acetone and although hasn’t come out completely I am pleased it’s no longer so vivid!

Needless to say – I will not be painting my nails upstairs anymore!

*UPDATE We had our carpets cleaned professionally a few months after and this lifted out the nail polish completely.

Have you ever spilt nail polish onto carpet? How did you remove it?


  1. Eek! I have never spilt nail varnish but my youngest did cover her bedroom carpet in it once….I used nail varnish remover and managed to fade it enough so you couldn’t see….It was pink on a pink carpet so it wasn’t too bad.

  2. Oh no what a nightmare! I remember when my two were toddlers and got in to my make up bag…. they painted their bedroom wall, the carpet and each other with nail varnish, lipstick, waterproof mascara and more… you can just imagine that mess!

    Thanks for linking up to #PicknMix lovely, see you later this week!!!

    Stevie xx

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