How To Get Nail Polish Off Hardwood Floors

Nail polish may add long-lasting color to your nails, but it doesn’t look that great when it’s spilled on the floor. As nail polish is highly pigmented, it can be tough to remove and may stain your nice hardwood floors permanently.

This may seem awful, but there are a few ways that can help remove nail polish spills.

How To Get Nail Polish Off Hardwood Floors

Before you start replacing the floorboards, try some of the stain removal methods we’ve listed below. We’ve also covered when you should stop trying to remove the stain yourself and call a professional.

Regular Sugar

If you act quickly, this method may catch the nail polish before it has time to stain your floorboards. Once the nail polish has spilled, pour regular white sugar on the spill as soon as you can.

While the polish is still wet, the sugar will absorb the polish before it affects the wood. If you’re successful, the sugar should mix with the polish and become solid. You should be able to sweep up the residue once the polish and sugar mixture has dried completely.

Nail Polish Remover

As nail polish remover is used to remove polish off of nails, this seems like a good method of removing it from other surfaces. This effective solution contains acetone. Acetone is good at removing nail polish, but it can have disadvantages.

Acetone is a strong solvent, so it could remove more than you were initially hoping for. On some materials, acetone could take off the finish or paint from your floorboards.

If you want to use this method, test your nail polish remover on a less visible area beforehand.

You can do this by using a cotton swab dipped in acetone. Gently dab a corner or hidden area of your hardwood floors. Keep an eye out for any discoloration, changes in surface finish, or damage. Don’t soak the floor with acetone, as the goal is to use as little nail polish remover as possible.

In most cases, hardwood floors are coated with polyurethane. After it has been cured, it creates a strong finish that holds up under a little acetone. However, not all hardwood floors are treated in this manner.

Before you start removing the stain, find out if your floorboards are finished with polyurethane or not. You can decide where to go from there.

If you want to go ahead and use acetone, use a cotton swab to apply the solution to the stain. Dab the nail polish lightly, making sure you leave any surrounding floorboards.

Don’t rub hard or too fast, just blot slowly. Continue until the stain disappears. You may want to wipe the surface again with a cloth to remove any leftover residue or color.

Rubbing Alcohol

If your floors don’t have a durable finish, rubbing alcohol may be a good solution to remove your nail polish stain. Rubbing alcohol is a less harsh alternative to acetone, but it may still affect your floors.

Always test your floors before going in with the solution. Dab a little rubbing alcohol on a cloth or cotton swab, then apply to a hidden area or corner of your floorboards. If the floor isn’t affected, you can go ahead and use this method.

Get Nail Polish Off Hardwood Floors

Similar to the acetone method, dip a cotton swab into rubbing alcohol. Gently dab the nail polish, making sure you only dab the stain and not the wooden floor. Don’t use too much of this solution, even if the stain doesn’t move. If you don’t see a difference, switch to another method.

Mineral Spirits

Mineral spirits are generally used by painters, as it cleans hard paint off of brushes well. Mineral spirits are often used in place of turpentine, as they are less flammable and less toxic than the latter.

These spirits aren’t as harsh as acetone, so they may be a good choice if you’re unsure about how your floor will react. Like the former methods, always do a test patch first. Mineral spirits could still harm your floorboards, so use a small amount in a hidden area before you attack the stain.

If there are no changes to the finish, paint, or color of the floorboards, you can try this method on the stain. Use a cotton swab or the corner of a cloth to blot mineral spirits onto the nail polish.

Dab lightly, making sure that you don’t rub it on the surface. Continue to lightly wipe away the stain. Once it’s gone, use a clean cloth to wipe away any residue.

Remember that mineral spirits are still flammable. Any rags that were dipped in solvents shouldn’t be thrown in the trash. Before you dispose of them, wash them in water first, making sure that the rag is completely soaked. If you’re still unsure, you can give any affected items to a hazardous waste facility.

They will dispose of any harmful items carefully and safely.

Make sure that you store your mineral spirits properly too. Any spirits that are leftover should be kept in a tightly sealed container. Don’t pour this down the drain, as it could cause issues to other pipes and plumbing in the area.

When Should You Call A Professional?

Hardwood floors are a nice feature within homes. Unlike newer floorboards, older hardwood floors may have color variations, scratches, or different finishes. This isn’t a bad thing, as they can give older homes a charming and distinctive look.

If you don’t mind this, then the above methods may be a better choice for you to take. Acetone, rubbing alcohol, or mineral spirits may take off some of the paint or finish from the floor, but as long as you’re careful, they shouldn’t be extremely damaging.

If your floors are new, or you want to keep a clean and modern aesthetic, the above methods may be too harsh for your needs. In this case, professional cleaners may be a better choice. These services can help you remove the initial stain and repair any damage caused afterward.


Nail polish is a hard-wearing substance that can cause stains, especially on hardwood floors. These stains are worrying, but there are several methods that may help remove them.

Depending on the situation, you may find solace in sugar, acetone, rubbing alcohol, or mineral spirits. Always test a hidden area of your floor before you try these methods. If all goes well, you’ll remove the stain and restore your hardwood floors back to their former glory.