Red nail varnish spilling out of an upended bottle.

How to Get Nail Polish Out of Clothes

If you have little girls at home, you’ll know that one way to make them feel really excited and really special is to arrange a mummy-daughter pampering day. You don’t need to head off to the spa or salon for this – you can easily do your own manicures in the comfort of your own home. There’s just one little problem – stains!

As any parent knows, getting kids to sit still can be quite the challenge, and when they’re racing round with their fingernails and toenails covered in not-quite dry polish, stains happen. A bright pink stain on a white shirt can look like something from your laundry nightmares, but rest assured it can actually be quite easy to remove nail varnish from clothes.  

How to Get Nail Polish Out of Fabric: Natural Fibres

Check the care labels on the clothing that has nail polish on it – if it’s a natural fibre such as cotton or linen, then removing nail varnish is simple!  

  • Place an ice pack on the stain to harden it – working with wet polish will just encourage smudging and even more staining.
  • Peel off any large flakes of dried polish if they come away from the fabric easily – never pull or tug at the clothing. Handy hint: use tweezers to gently pick up the flakes.
  • Soak a microfiber cloth in an acetone-based nail polish remover, and test on an inconspicuous area of clothing – check that the solution does not discolour the fabric. Always check the care label first.
  • Dab the back of the stain with the acetone-soaked cloth until the colour of the stain has faded. Never scrub or wipe as you may damage the fabric.
  • Machine wash as normal with a good quality laundry detergent, like Persil Powercaps washing capsules, to remove any residue left by the nail polish or the remover. Our caps are pre-dosed for convenience, so all you need to do is add them to the washing machine drum before putting in your clothes. Just remember to follow the instructions on the pack label to decide whether you need one cap or two

How to Remove Nail Varnish from Fabric: Synthetic Fibres

If the care labels on your clothing suggest you’re working with common synthetic fabrics such as nylon or polyester, you can follow the same steps as above. Removing nail varnish from clothes made from these sorts of synthetic fibres can be just as straightforward.  

How to Remove Nail Polish from Clothes: Delicate Synthetics

You will need to pay extra attention to any clothing containing acetate. Fortunately, it’s not a very common fibre, and is usually found in ornate prom dresses and wedding dresses as it’s very luxurious and drapes well. If your clothing does contain acetate, keep in mind that acetone-based nail polish removers can dissolve the synthetic fibres.

The good news is that removing nail varnish is still possible. You could follow the steps above using a non-acetone based nail polish remover, or you could try spraying alcohol-based hairspray onto the stain and gently massaging the nail polish with an old toothbrush to remove as much discolouration as possible before washing with one of our Persil Powercaps.

However, with delicate fabrics it’s best to consult a dry cleaning professional before attempting stain removal yourself.   Always test on an inconspicuous area first, keep the room well ventilated, and never proceed if you’re unsure about the material of your garment – remember, you can always pop down to the dry cleaners!   How do you remove nail varnish from clothes? Share with us your tips for cleaning up after a nail varnish disaster on our Facebook page.

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