How to Remove Nail Polish from Fabrics

Monica asked: How do I remove hot pink nail polish from my bed sheets? Please, I need help. I have a new set of white sheets and dropped hot pink nail polish.

Removing nail polish from fabrics takes special precautions. While some methods may easily remove the polish, it can take the color of the fabric with it. Begin by ensuring that the fabric is colorfast and then proceed with the following steps.

Using Nail Polish Remover

You Will Need:

  • Nail polish remover (non acetone is gentlest)
  • Soft cloths
  • Cotton swabs or cotton balls

Steps to Remove the Nail Polish:

  1. Begin by moistening a soft cloth with nail polish remover. If the area is small, you can use a cotton swab or cotton ball instead.
  2. Gently blot a hidden area of the fabric to ensure that it is colorfast. If the color is not removed or damaged by the polish remover, it should be safe to proceed to the stained area.
  3. Use the moistened cloth to blot the nail polish stain. As you blot, you will see the nail polish begin to transfer to the cloth.
  4. Switch to a fresh area on the cloth regularly to keep from reapplying the polish to the fabric.
  5. Once the nail polish is removed, launder the piece as usual to remove any residue from the nail polish remover.

Removing Nail Polish Without Nail Polish Remover

You Will Need:

  • Off bug spray
  • Old toothbrush
  • Hairspray

Steps to Remove the Nail Polish:

  1. Spray a small amount of Off bug spray on a hidden area of the fabric to ensure that it is colorfast. If the color is not removed or damaged by the spray, it should be safe to proceed to the stained area.
  2. Spray the bug spray onto the nail polish. Spray enough that the stain is saturated.
  3. After the spray has started to be absorbed by the stain, scrub the area gently with an old toothbrush.
  4. If the stain remains, saturate the area with hair spray (cheap hairspray works best). Allow the hairspray to set for a few minutes, then scrub with an old toothbrush.
  5. Once the nail polish is removed, wash the piece as usual.

Additional Tips and Advice

  • Never use acetone based polish remover on acetate fabrics. The acetone will ruin the fabric. For acetate items, wash the nail polish out with a quick washing.
  • As nail polish sits and dries on the fabric, it will set and become more difficult to remove. For the best removal success, treat the stain as soon as possible.
  • Delicate and dry clean only fabrics should be treated by a professional. Be sure to point the stain out to the cleaner when you drop it off, so they can treat it right away.
  • Goo Gone has also been effective in removing dried nail polish from various fabrics. It can leave a stain on some fabrics, so test a hidden area first.


  1. Bria says:

    Thanks a lot! This really helped get my $200 dollar sheets cleaned. I loved your advice, and thank you again.

  2. Evelyn says:

    Wow, the “Off!” bug spray worked! I used to have a bright blue nail polish stain on my yellow duvet cover, and now it’s completely gone!

  3. A Person says:

    This has helped me so much. I would have been in so much trouble if it hadn’t been for this. Thanks again so much.

  4. Judy says:

    What is Off Bug Spray?

  5. Melanie says:

    Off! Bug Spray is an insect repellent. The brand name is “Off!” Here is their website.

  6. Cindy says:

    Thank you so much for the helpful tips. I used Goo Gone on my expensive black Baby Phat hoodie that got lavender polish on it; it removed it like magic!!

  7. Sue says:

    Help need to remove nail polish from a duvet cover.

  8. Melanie says:

    If your duvet cannot be washed, use the information in this article instead: How to Remove Nail Polish from Upholstery.

  9. Makenzie says:

    This didn’t work at all. My purple nail polish is still on my duvet and my mom is gonna kill me.

  10. Elissa says:

    Ummm, I haven’t tried it yet, but the first way, when we remove the stain with nail polish remover, doesn’t work at all; when I first got my black nail polish on my favorite pink sleeping robe, I rubbed it immediately with nail polish remover, but it got worse. And that’s the reason why I went to this website. I think I will try the second way, using a toothbrush, bug spray and hair spray. Thank you for the advice anyways. :)

  11. Jacqueline says:

    Before doing any of the above:
    1- Use a fine nail file or emery board and remove any of the dried stain, as much as possible without filing the fabric.

    2- The stains becomes a lot lighter and more faint, especially if it is a dark color.

    3- Proceed as suggested in above article.

  12. Michelle says:

    Excellent tips, thank you! I was able to resurrect a pair of white jeans from a spill of red nail polish; definitely thought I wouldn’t be able to wear them again. I used a combination of non-acetone nail polish remover and the aerosol personal insect repellent. Who would have believed it.

  13. Avis says:

    Having sprayed with hairspray, I then rubbed a small amount of Jif cream over the stain (test a small area first) and found the stain disappeared.

  14. Candy says:

    Dude, that didn’t work; my mom’s going to kill me. Thanks a lot, and what do u mean by “blot”?

  15. Melanie says:

    The term “blot” is often used in cleaning to mean ‘gently dab with a cloth or paper towel to remove a spill from a fabric”. Blotting is often done by using a lifting motion, wiping the spill upwards off of the fabric to avoid grinding it further into the fibers (which would make it more difficult to remove).

Leave a Comment