How to Remove Dried Fingernail Polish


Noelle asked: How do I remove dried nail polish? My three-year-old daughter decided to paint her own nails without my help and spilled nail polish on my sheets, comforter and quilt. The nail polish dries in 60 seconds, so there was no time for me to find and use recommendations for removing wet nail polish. I have tried nail polish remover, Goo Gone and bug spray with scrubbing by a toothbrush. None even made the tiniest dent. It has also left light pink stains on the carpet and the pine wood bed frame. Thanks for any help!

There are several methods lauded for removing fingernail polish, but many of them will take away some of the underlying surface as well. If you want to keep your fabrics in one piece, try this one instead.

You Will Need:

  • Windex
  • Toothbrush
  • Paper towels

Steps to Remove the Nail Polish:

  1. If the piece (such as sheets) can be removed from the bed, do that first.
  2. Lay them on a surface that won’t be damaged by any cleaning products that may soak through.
  3. Thoroughly soak the stain with Windex (or a similar glass cleaning agent).
  4. Wait a few minutes for it to soak into the stain, then scrub the mess with the toothbrush.
  5. Blot the area with paper towels.
  6. Repeat as necessary until the stain is removed.

Additional Tips and Advice

  • This method has been extremely successful with carpet and all types of fabric, but may require quite a bit of effort for full results. Don’t forget to spot test before you begin.
  • If you can’t seem to get rid of the final bit of discoloration or residue, try applying gel shaving cream to the remaining stain. Scrub with a soft brush, then rinse, blot or wipe clean with a moist towel. The stain should be gone.
  • For hard surfaces, try WD-40 to remove the finger nail polish. Allow it to soak for a minute, then wipe with paper towels or a gentle scrubbing tool (which to use depends on the underlying surface and how readily it might be damaged).


  1. I tried the first one, but I couldn’t find hairspray so I didn’t use it. It did nothing. In fact, it loosened the carpet.

  2. I was thinking of doing the tips, but my hands are so shaky, I’m sure they wouldn’t come out right!

  3. Don’t know if it works, but it’s starting to fade. It does take time and a wee bit of elbow grease. Thank you so much for the advice.

  4. Just finished the window lean trick and finished off with the shaving gel. Got good results; not completely vanished, but a big difference to a huge, bright red stain on my sofa. Thanks!

  5. The stains are not completely out, but my boyfriend’s jacket looks a little bit better. So, thanks.

  6. I cannot thank you enough for posting this! I got red nail polish on a very expensive quilt that my mother had given me. I was upset and had tried just about everything I could think of. Then I came across this post and decided to try the Windex solution you recommended. It worked like a charm! The stains are gone and my quilt looks fabulous! Thank you so much!!

  7. Angelina says:

    OMG, I tried for hours looking for the perfect way to get a nail polish stain out from my mom’s comforter. This way won’t help with it. This remedy only helped a little, but my mom told me that I have to buy her a new one. I don’t know what to do; please help me.

  8. Melanie says:

    This article is specific for fabric and has more tips: How to Remove Nail Polish from Fabric. Keep in mind though that you should always test a cleaning solution on a small, hidden area of the fabric first to look for any adverse reaction.

  9. This did NOT work whatsoever! I am highly disappointed as I usually come to this website often and find solutions. The scrubbing and different materials made the fabric weaker and thinner and the stain more prominent.

  10. This worked like a charm; I used acetone and Windex, and I got the nail polish right out of my tank top! Thanks so much for posting this!

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