How To Remove Nail Polish From Wood

Wood floors are a beautiful addition to any house, and they are usually easy to clean and maintain.

Finding nail polish on your wood floor can ruin your cleaning ritual, though.

Nail polish is notorious for bonding with and staining just about everything so that it may seem like your beautiful wood floors are now ruined.

Luckily, we’ve done the research, and learning the process of how to remove nail polish from wood does not need to be stressful or expensive.

All you need are a few everyday household items to remove nail polish from wood, regardless of whether the stain is dry or still wet.

What You’ll Need

You will need a few everyday household items to remove nail polish from wood.

Now that you have everything you need, read on to learn how to get nail polish off of wood.

1. If the stain is dry, apply clear nail polish

If you find that the nail polish on your wood floors is dry, grab a bottle of clear nail polish.

Paint a coat of clear nail polish over the dried nail polish and allow that to sit for a few seconds.

Doing this should encourage the dried nail polish to release from the wood and attach to the new coat of polish, which is still wet.

Pro tip: If you do not have clear nail polish, you can also use rubbing alcohol or mineral spirits.

Both of these products are more likely not to damage your floors, and they can remove nail polish.

Remember to test either product on an inconspicuous area of the wood first, though, to confirm it will not damage your wood.

If you choose to use rubbing alcohol, soak a few cotton balls in the rubbing alcohol and place on the dried nail polish for a few minutes.

If you decide to use mineral spirits, apply carefully to the dried polish using a paper towel, cotton ball, or Q-tip.

2 wipe the Clear Nail polish away

Once you have applied the clear nail polish, rub the stained area with a paper towel.

The dried nail polish should come off quickly without damaging the wood.

Try to rub the nail polish in the same direction as the grain of the wood to prevent any nail polish from catching and settling deeper into the wood.

Pro tip: Gently scrub the dried nail polish away if you have chosen to use rubbing alcohol or mineral spirits.

Working in the same direction as the grain of your wood will help remove as much nail polish as possible.

3. Repeat as needed

If you find that there is still some dried nail polish on your wood, you can repeat the above process a couple of times to remove all the nail polish.

If the remaining nail polish is in specks and spots, try reaching for the hairspray.

The hairspray will encourage the remaining small spots of nail polish to release from the wood.

Spray the affected area with the hairspray and allow it to sit for a minute.

Then, using a damp cleaning cloth, wipe away the rest of the dry nail polish along with the hair spray. 

Once you have entirely removed the dried nail polish from your wood, we strongly recommend cleaning the affected area with soap and water.

Use the appropriate cleaning soap for your wood.

Doing this will ensure no left-over material from removing the nail polish that could damage your floor from the prolonged exposure. 

Here is a video demonstrating how to remove dry nail polish from wood.

0:34—If you don’t have any mineral spirits around the house, grab some clear nail polish.

0:38—Apply the clear nail polish to the dried stain.

0:48—Rub the nail polish away with a paper towel.

1:02—You may have to repeat this process a second time, depending on the age of the dried nail polish and how thick the stain is.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I remove nail polish from wood if the nail polish is still wet?

If you discover the nail polish while still wet, grab some white sugar and pour it over the affected area.

The sugar will cause the wet nail polish to thicken and harden with the sugar, not on your wood.

Once the nail polish has hardened, you can sweep it up with a soft brush or a fresh cleaning cloth.

We recommend vacuuming the area or washing with soap and water afterward to remove any lingering traces of the sugar to avoid accidentally creating an ant problem. 

If you find that some nail polish has already dried, remove as much of it as you can with the sugar and then follow the step above to remove the dried portions of the nail polish from your wood.

Can I use nail polish remover To Remove Nail Polish From Wood?

Although some people recommend using nail polish remover on tough nail polish stains, we do not.

Acetone and other nail polish removers can damage your wood by removing the finish.

Even if you are very careful, we do not recommend using nail polish remover to remove dried nail polish from wood. 

Mineral spirits have many of the same properties as nail polish remover, but it is less likely to damage your wood.

If you choose to use mineral spirits, dab the dried nail polish with as little mineral spirits as possible.

Although it is safer, it can still remove some of the finish on the wood.

When should I call in a professional To Remove Nail Polish Stains From Wood?

Large nail polish stains can be tricky to remove.

If the stain is large or if the stain is on a piece of antique wood, it is better to allow professional cleaners to remove that stain.

They can remove the nail polish without damaging the wood, allowing you to go back to enjoying your wood without any unexpected paint additions.