Nail polish stains can be difficult to remove after an accidental spill. Most women who use nail polish will eventually have a nail polish stain that will need to be cleaned up from carpeting, upholstery or clothing, though. There are a few successful methods to remove a nail polish stain.
If the stain is new, it is important to remember to blot up as much of the nail polish as you can with a clean cloth. Do not rub the stain with the cloth and do not allow the stain to dry, as this can set the stain and make it even more difficult to remove. One method that can be effective is to place nail polish remover on the stain, then blot it up. You might have to do this several times before the stain is fully removed, after which you can wash with warm water and soap.
Another similar method is to use hydrogen peroxide mixed with water on the stain instead of nail polish remover. Both of these methods can lift the stain fairly easily. However, if you choose to use either of these methods, be sure to spot test first on an inconspicuous area of the carpet or article of clothing as each has the potential to damage fabrics. Do not allow nail polish remover to soak into the carpet -- this will remove the nail polish stains, but it could also destroy the latex backing of the carpet. It is safe to let the hydrogen peroxide mixture sit on the stain for a while, but again, remember to spot test.
If you have old, dried-on nail polish stains, these will be more difficult if not impossible to remove. First, scrape off the excess with the edge of a knife or a spoon. You can then try cleaning them as above, with a paper towel dipped in nail polish remover or with hydrogen peroxide. If the clothing is made of a specialty material like silk, leather or suede, it is best to bring the item to a professional cleaner so you do not risk damaging the item.
Searching online brings up numerous tips for removing nail polish stains. Some suggest spraying the stain with hairspray or bug spray, and then using a toothbrush or other bristled brush to scrub the stain out. Other sites suggest using an oxygen-based cleaner or rubbing alcohol on nail polish stains. These stains are persistent, but if you keep trying different methods, you are likely to find one that works.