How to Remove Varnish From Carpet

So you've done the unthinkable and spilt a bold colour of nail polish on the carpet or, even worse, one of your treasured heirloom rugs. Whether you have a runner on original oak wood floors, a luxurious rug perfect for the lounge area, or durable pet-friendly materials on your floor, you must act very quickly and delicately when a stain unfortunately strikes. While your usual cleansing system may not be up for the challenge, following this nail polish crisis, a strategy can help decrease the impact of your at-home salon adventures.

What do I do first?

Firstly, don't panic! If you gently sponge away any excess nail polish with a paper towel/cloth, take extra care not to smudge any of the remaining stains or spread the polish to a larger surface. If the polish has already dried, then use a blunt knife like a butter knife or another gentle tool to scrape the hardened polish away. When you've attempted to triage as best you can, it's time to introduce the cleaning solutions.

Can you use vinegar or baking soda to remove the nail polish?

A typical household pantry item like vinegar and or baking soda has been a known method to help in these cases. If you're giving the vinegar method a try, wet the stained area entirely with plain vinegar, and then place the vinegar-soaked paper towel/cloth on top of the surface. Let it rest for around 10 minutes, then gently sponge and scrub the stain until it is removed.

If you're attempting the baking soda method, then sprinkle enough baking soda on the area to cover the stain completely. Then, pour on some ginger ale on top of the surface and let it absorb for around 10 minutes. Then gently scrub until the stain is removed, and then "rinse" the area with water or a wet cloth.

There are household cleaners like Goo Gone and Windex that have also been a known treatment to help, but make sure to test them out in a small surface area that is out-of-the-way to assess how effective they will be on specific material of your rug or carpet.

Can I use a nail polish remover to cleanse the carpet?

Yes, you can, but before you start with the Cutex and cotton balls, you'll need to understand and follow a few extra steps to accomplish the best outcome. Firstly, it doesn't matter which cleaning arrangement you choose; you'll need to be sure to test it out on a small, secluded corner of the material. Now, if the material becomes discoloured or you notice the fabric's colouring is rubbing off on the cloth, you will need to switch your solution selection.

A little nail polish remover can be beneficial, especially on white or lighter shade carpets, but you will need to make sure that the bottle you are using is clearly labelled with both non-acetone and dye-free. Soak a piece of cloth or paper towel with the nail polish remover, and then gently touch the stain, taking extra care not to smear the stain to any untouched areas. Repeat this treatment until you see an improvement. 

If you have darker carpet, use extra care, as seldom nail polish remover can change darker rug dyes more dramatically than white or neutral shades. If you're concerned about any unwanted marks, then opt for an alternating cleaning solution, such as rubbing alcohol, hairspray, or even dish soap.

Can you use hairspray?

This is correct, however, but have in mind that this method works best on dried stains. Wet the area with cool water, then spray around 10 to 15 pumps of hairspray onto the stained area. Add a modest amount of rubbing alcohol. Then use a brush or a cleaning tool to scrub the surface while adding more splashes of cold water as you clean.

Can you use dish soap?

If you use a diluted solution of a small volume of dish soap combined with warm water, it can also help in extreme times, but it is most useful when linked with one of the other solutions stated above. For example, after tapping the nail polish off with remover, use the dish soap treatment to clean the area and counteract the remover's powerful fragrance.

What happens if all methods fail?

Then it would be time to call in the experts. Should you decide to let your local carpet cleaning service take over, let them know in advance about the nail polish stain, as they'll likely operate specific techniques to cleanse the spot.