How to Get Nail Polish off Wood Floor?

Have you spilled nail polish on the hardwood floor? Sadly, nail polish stains stay longer on the wood floors than on your nails. Do not worry; while nail polish stains on the floor are tough to clean, it is not impossible. Do not let that red nail polish stain ruin the look of that classy hardwood floor.

While trying to get nail polish off the wood floor, try not to use harsh chemicals. Also, before applying a product to the nail polish stain, test it on a tiny discrete area. Wood floors are not all the same, and the floor’s finish differs. Ensure the product you are applying does not remove the wood’s finish. Also, remember that you should never use lacquer thinner for removing nail polish from wood flooring as they may cause permanent damage. The same applies to laminate floors and wood furniture.

Here are four easy methods to safely remove nail polish stains from hardwood floors. These methods use some basic materials that are available at home. At most, you will need to make a trip to the nearest dollar store.

4 Easy Methods to Safely Remove Nail Polish Stains From Hardwood Floors

Method 1: Use White Sugar to Remove Nail Polish Stains

The white sugar method is the safest way to get nail polish off the hardwood floor, and it does not affect the floor’s finish. However, you need to apply sugar after spilling the nail polish on hardwood floors. This method does not work on dried out nail polish stains. Pour white sugar on the wet nail polish spill; make sure it covers the nail polish completely. It would be best to do it before the floor soaks the nail polish.

Use White Sugar to Remove Nail Polish Stains

Sugar absorbs the nail polish and creates a clump. Clean the mess with a brush once it is completely dry. You can use this same method to remove nail polish spills from wood furniture. If you cannot put sugar on time, or if the sugar fails to remove the stain entirely, try any of the following methods.

Method 2: Apply Nail Polish Remover

Acetone nail polish remover can successfully remove nail polish, almost in all cases. However, be careful while applying acetone based nail polish remover on hardwood floors. Acetone can affect the finishing of the hardwood flooring and leave it discolored. Thus, before using acetone, always test it on a small area where it cannot be seen.

Apply Nail Polish Remover

A small amount of acetone should not damage the hardwood floor coated with polyurethane. Before trying this method, find out if your wood floor has a polyurethane coating. You may also try a non-acetone based brand. They are not always as effective as acetone, but they may do the job well, depending on the nature of the nail polish.

Take a cotton swab soaked in nail polish remover and dab the nail polish gently. Try not to spill it into the surrounding area. Do not rub it too fast; instead, try to blot it. After the stain is removed, wipe it with a soft cloth.

Method 3: Rubbing Alcohol Method

The effect of rubbing alcohol on hardwood floors is gentler than acetone. However, rubbing alcohol still can damage the floor’s finishing; do not forget to test it before using it. The process is the same as applying acetone. Dip a cotton swab in rubbing alcohol and gently scrub the area. Do not pour the rubbing alcohol into the surrounding area. Also, never rub too harshly. If a gentle alcohol scrub does not do the job, try another method.

Rubbing Alcohol Method

Method 4: Use Mineral Spirits to Get Rid of Nail Polish Stain

Try mineral spirits if rubbing alcohol does not work on your nail polish spills. The process is similar. Soak a cotton swab or a soft cloth in mineral spirits and apply it to the stain. Dab it and leave for a few minutes. Be careful that you do not spill it in the surrounding area. Once the stain is gone, use a cloth or a paper towel to clean the residue.

You can also use a wet cloth to clean up the area after the process is done. Also, remember mineral spirits are flammable; use them with proper care. Do not throw away mineral spirits-soaked cloth in the trash.


Removing nail polish from hardwood floors can be challenging. Never use a cloth to wipe the nail polish when it is still wet. The color may go deeper into the wood grain if you rub it. Then, it will become even more challenging to get rid of it — instead, remove the nail polish using sugar. If sugar is not readily available, you may use paper towels to remove excess nail polish. Then leave it for 15 to 20 minutes for drying out.

Wood floors and wood furniture are sensitive to any harsh chemicals. Start with rubbing alcohol as it is the mildest one. Nail polish remover may be most effective, but it can damage the finishing. Use it only when nothing else works.