How to Get Nail Polish Out of a Wood Floor

Nail polish spills can be a challenge to clean up, especially if it is on wood floors. Wood often needs to be cleaned carefully to prevent any further damage to its surface. 

To prepare for this type of spill, you should know exactly how to get nail polish out of a wood floor. The best approach is to attend to a spill as soon as it happens as this is easier to clean, but if you are dealing with an old stain it will require a more intensive clean. 

This article shows you how to deal with a nasty nail polish stain in a way that still protects your wood floors in the process. 

How To Get Nail Polish Out Of A Hardwood Floor

how to get nail polish out of hardwood floor

Fresh Polish

If you drop nail polish onto a wood floor and you notice right away, then you should act quickly to clean the stained hardwood floor as this will be easier and cause the least amount of damage to the wood. 

Blot Off Excess

First, use a paper towel or cotton pad to remove as much of the wet polish as you before it dries up. Do this quickly, as the polish can dry quite fast. 

Gently blot the polish to remove it instead of rubbing it, as the latter can spread the stain out and make it more difficult to remove. 

Apply Acetone

Next, you will apply acetone or nail polish remover. Before you use it on the spill, test it out on a small spot on your floor that is under a rug or in a hidden corner. Some wood floors may not react well to this type of chemical, so you will need to do a spit test first. 

This is good to use to remove glue from wood furniture, too. 

how to get nail polish out of hardwood floors

If it passes the spot test, apply a few drops of the acetone onto a cotton pad and gently dab the stained area to remove the polish. Again, avoid rubbing the floor as this might cause damage and/or discoloration of the wood. 

You may need to swap out the cotton pad for a fresh one, and re-apply acetone, depending on how big the stain is and/or how stubborn the polish is to remove. 

Rinse Acetone

You will then need to rinse out any acetone from the wood. Do this immediately after removing the polish, as leaving the acetone to settle into the wood can be detrimental. 

Dip a soft cloth into cold water and wring it out to remove excess liquid. Then use the damp cloth to gently wipe the area, removing any acetone present. 

Dry Area

Use a fresh, dry cloth or towel to remove any moisture from the hardwood floor. This is important to avoid water damage which can cause mold, breakage, or bubbling. 

Old Polish

how to remove nail polish from wood floor

Occasionally, you might have a nail polish spill that you do not notice immediately. This can be unavoidable. But don’t fret, as there are ways to remove older, more stubborn nail polish stains. This also works well to get dye out of wood floors.

Apply Acetone

The first step to removing as much of the dried-up polish as you can is applying acetone to the area. Before you do, do a spot test on a tiny inconspicuous patch of the floor (behind furniture or under curtains generally works best), and see if it causes any damage to the wood. If it does, refrain from proceeding with this process. 

If the spot test is clear, apply a few drops of the acetone onto a soft cotton pad and gently blot the stain. Continue doing this, and you will see some of the polish transferred onto the pad. 

You may need to swap out for a fresh cotton pad and acetone after a while. Do this until the polish is no longer transferring onto the pad. 

Mix and Apply the Solution

If there are still remnants of polish left on the wood floor, you will need to prepare a cleaning solution that will clean slightly beneath the surface layer of the wood. This type of solution would also work to remove dried ink from a hardwood floor.

Mix a cup of lukewarm water and a tablespoon of mild liquid soap. Transfer this to a spray bottle, and then spray the solution onto the stained wood. 

how to remove nail polish from hardwood floor

Using a soft-bristled cleaning brush (the Truck Mount Forum Hand-Fit Horsehair Brush is best), gently scrub the stain until the polish is clear. Do not apply too much pressure, as this can damage the wood. 

If you have one, a carpet cleaning CRB can work effectively here, too. 

how to get rid of nail polish stains on wood floor

Rinse Area

Once the stain is cleared out completely, use a cloth dampened with cold water to wipe away any remnants of acetone and cleaning solution. This is also a good way to clean wood floors so they are not slippery.

Leave to Dry

Leave the area to air dry for a few minutes, and check it carefully to ensure that the stain is completely gone. If not, repeat the process from the beginning. 


When painting your nails, or others’, the occasional nail polish spill is inevitable. If this happens on a wood floor, you will need to clean it accordingly using safe methods. 

Like with getting red wine out of wood, a fresh nail polish spill should be dealt with immediately, as this is generally much easier to clean at this point. If it is left for even a few minutes too long, the polish will dry up and become a bit more challenging to remove. 

If the nail polish stain is older and requires a heavier cleaning, you can use a combination of acetone and cleaning solution to remove this. 

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