How to Remove Nail Polish from Clothes

You most likely must have found it a bit troublesome to remove nail polish from clothing-white shirts, jeans, polyester and bed sheets, … Herein, find different ways and tips to get rid of dried and and stained varnish from these materials

Fabric Clothing

To achieve the effect, place the stained fabric face-down on a few paper towels. The part of the fabric that is stained should be against the paper towels. This method is useful whether the nail polish is wet or dry. This method works effectively on cotton, linen, silk, denim, and most other fabrics.

After that, proceed with caution if the item in question contains acetate or triacetate since the nail polish remover melts fabrics containing these chemicals.

How to Remove Nail Polish from clothes couch shoes fabric
Spilled nail polish on clothing

Blot the stained area with acetone. Use a cotton ball or paper towel saturated with acetone (available in drugstores in the nail polish remover section) to blot the backside of the fabric. This action transfers the stain to the paper towel.

Rinse and repeat the procedure. Take the clothing item to the sink and rinse out the stained area, then place it face down on a clean set of paper towels. Repeat the blotting action to finish transferring the stain to the paper towels.

Continue rinsing the fabric and applying more acetone until the paper towels no longer turn the color of the nail polish after blotting; this indicates the stain has been removed.

Check the stained area one final time for traces of nail polish. If you see a little color left, dip a cotton ball in acetone and gently remove it.

Finally, launder the clothing item. Use a stain remover product on the previously stained area, and then launder the item according to the washing instructions on the tag. The stain should be completely gone and the item ready to wear once it is dry.


To achieve good results, the following simple steps are essential:

First of all spray the nail polish hair spray on the jeans. To follow that saturate the nail polish with a lacquer-based hair spray.

Press into the polish with a clean paper towel or cloth, press into the stain to help remove polish. Ensure you do not scrub the polish, as this may spread the stain. Continue until no polish is transferred into the towel. Having done that, cover the polish stain.

After cleaning with hairspray, place several paper towels directly over the polish, then flip jeans inside-out. Thereafter turn the jeans inside-out so the rear of the stain is visible.

The next thing is to soak a towel in acetone. Dip a corner of a clean towel or cloth into an acetone-based nail polish remover. Then dab the rear of the stain with the acetone-covered towel. Repeat until no polish is transferred to the paper towels.

Prepare for launder by turning the jeans right-side-out. Treat the nail polish stain with your preferred pre-wash stain remover then wash the jeans. You should ensure that you launder your jeans according to its fabric instructions.

Fully dry the jeans, and review the nail polish stain. If evidence of the stain remains, then consider taking the jeans for professional cleaning.

removing nail polish from jeans
Stained Nail polish on Jeans


Almost all fabrics react differently to acetone and/or nail polish remover. Before you plan on getting rid of a stain, start by testing a small, hidden area to ensure that there is no damage to the color and texture of the material. Pour some acetone on the fabric, rinse and allow it to dry completely. If the test spot goes well, you are safe to move onto the stained area of the garment. To distain polyester material clothing, the procedure below would be key:

  • Place the garment on an absorbent cloth so that the stain is face down on the cloth.
  • Pour some acetone through the fabric.
  • Press gently on the fabric so the nail polish will be absorbed into the cloth.
  • Avoid rubbing the area as this will damage the suede-like texture and leave a bare area.
  • Repeat with the acetone until the stain is removed. Change the cloth as necessary to keep the stain from reapplying to the fabric.
  • After the stain is removed, lay the garment over a clean, absorbent cloth and pour dry cleaning fluid through the material to remove the remaining acetone. If the garment is washable, you can also wash it in the washing machine.
  • Spread the clothing out flat and allow the piece to air dry completely.
  • Once dry, check the area for any remaining stains. Repeat as necessary until the stains are gone.

Take note that polyester is a versatile fabric that can tolerate many cleaning methods. Unlike true suede, it can withstand the chemicals without becoming damaged.

nail lacquer on polyester removal
Nail Varnish stains on Polyester

White shirt

The simple initial process of removing stain on a white shirt is to soak a cotton ball in nail polish remover and then blot the stain. The nail polish remover (In most cases a dilute solution of acetone) can dissolve the nail polish, which will transfer to a second clean cotton ball you also blot the stain with to pick up the nail polish.

The procedure also takes an assumption that the nail polish remover won’t hurt the shirt. However, you will need to test a hidden part first with the nail polish remover. To do this apply a few drops to a hidden area, wait a few minutes, and then blot dry with a paper towel. You scout for any distortion to the fabric. If there’s no change, then go ahead with the treatment (you should be sure that the process is suitable).

Finally, conclude by hand washing the shirt in cool water with a little detergent, and allow it to air dry. This way you won’t put any fabric with residual solvent into your clothes washer or dryer.

From Bed sheets

Staining your bed shits could be so scaring to an extent of making you having an option of throwing away the bed sheets. However, when they are stained, do not throw them away just because of one nail polish stain.

There are several products and methods that can be used to successfully remove nail polish from the bed sheets. The stepwise approach below gives a yardstick on how to go about this:

First of all, remove the bed sheet from the bed. Do so carefully so that the polish does not transfer to unaffected areas of the sheets.

After that, lay the bed sheet on a flat surface. Blot up as much nail polish as possible using paper towels.

Having done that saturate a cotton ball with acetone or acetone nail polish remover. Blot the acetone-soaked cotton ball onto the nail polish stain. Avoid rubbing as the nail polish may spread further.

That done continue blotting the stain with an acetone-soaked cotton ball, switching to a new cotton ball when one becomes filled up with nail polish.

To add on the above, moisten a sponge with plain water. Wipe the stained area with water to remove any residue from the nail polish and acetone.

Apart from the above, launder the bed sheets as usual. Inspect the sheets for any trace of the nail polish prior to placing them in the dryer. The heat from the dryer will set in the stain, making it even more difficult to remove.

Alternatively on the hand, you can spray hairspray onto the bed sheets for a different nail polish removal method. Saturate the stained area of the sheets with the hairspray. Scrub gently with an old toothbrush. Blot up excess moisture from the sheets, along with the nail polish residue, using paper towels. Launder the sheets as usual, inspecting them before placing them in the dryer.

Use hydrogen peroxide if the bed sheets are white or colorfast. Combine equal parts hydrogen peroxide and water into a bowl. Pour the mixture onto the stained area of the bed sheets.

Lay the sheets in the sun for about two hours to dry.

Apply more peroxide as it begins to dry onto the sheets.

Launder the bed sheets as usual once they have sat in the sun for a couple of hours.

Inspect them before drying for any trace of the nail polish

Tips to Prevent Nail polish on drying & staining clothing

The best thing to always do to prevent nail polish from coming into contact with surfaces that can easily be damaged is by being careful. Always take care not to leave nail polish bottles open on your couch, sofa, clothes or leather shoes.

If possible catch the spilled varnish while it is wet. It is easier to deal with while in this state compared to when it is dry

Finally, keep your polish safely out of the reach of children as they are likely to tamper with it if they have access.

See also

Originally posted 2021-04-02 12:58:00.

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