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Nail polish can easily stain clothes, especially when you're a parent of active kids! Find out how to get nail polish out of clothes with our top tips.

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A closeup image of nail polish in different colours.

How to Remove Nail Polish From Clothes

If you have little girls at home, you’ll know that one way to make them feel really excited and really special is to arrange a mummy-daughter pampering day. You don’t need to head off to the spa or salon for this – you can easily do your own manicures in the comfort of your own home. There’s just one little problem: stains!

As any parent knows, getting kids to sit still can be quite the challenge, and when they’re racing round with their fingernails and toenails covered in not-quite dry polish, stains happen. A bright pink nail polish stain on a white shirt can look like something from your laundry nightmares, but rest assured it can actually be quite easy to remove nail polish from clothes. 

Natural fibres

Check the care labels on the clothing that has nail polish on it – if it’s a natural fibre, such as cotton or linen, then removing nail polish stains is simple!

  • Place an ice pack on the stain to harden it. Working with wet polish will just encourage smudging and even more staining.
  • Peel off any large flakes of dried polish, if they come away from the fabric easily – never pull or tug at the clothing. Handy hint: use tweezers to gently pick up the flakes.
  • Soak a microfiber cloth in an acetone-based nail polish remover, and test on a hidden of the garment . Check that the solution does not discolour the fabric. Always read the care label first.
  • Dab the back of the stain with the acetone-soaked cloth until the colour of the stain has faded. Never scrub or wipe, as you may damage the fabric.
  • Wash as normal with your regular detergent like OMO Auto in your machine or OMO Handwash if you prefer to remove by hand any residue  left by the nail polish or the remover. Just remember to follow the instructions on the detergent’s label.

Synthetic fabrics

If the care label on your garment suggests you’re working with a common synthetic fabric, such as nylon or polyester, you can follow the same steps as above. Removing nail varnish from clothes made from these sorts of synthetic fibres can be just as straightforward. 

Delicate synthetics

You will need to pay extra attention if you need to remove nail polish from clothes containing acetate. Fortunately, it’s not a very common fibre – it’s usually found in fancy Matric Dance dresses and wedding dresses, as it’s very luxurious and drapes well. If your clothing does contain acetate, keep in mind that a normal acetone-based nail polish removers can dissolve the synthetic fibres.

The good news is that removing nail polish stains is still possible. You could follow the steps above using a non-acetone based nail polish remover, or you could try spraying an alcohol-based hairspray onto the stain and gently massaging the nail polish with an old toothbrush to remove as much discolouration as possible, before washing with your OMO detergent of choice.

However, with delicate fabrics it’s best to consult a dry cleaning professional before attempting stain removal yourself.

Always test on an out-of-sight area first, keep the room well ventilated, and never proceed if you’re unsure about the material of your garment. When in doubt, ask the dry cleaners!