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How to Get Nail Polish Off Walls (Without Damage)

Jennifer L. Betts
spill colorful nail polish

If you get nail polish on walls, don't panic. Instead, learn how to get nail polish off walls easily. The key to removing nail polish off walls without damage is to act fast.

How to Get Nail Polish Off Walls Without Removing Paint

The key to removing nail polish without harming the paint on your walls is to hit it fast. And by fast, that means the best time to remove nail polish is before it's had time to dry. To get nail polish off the walls, you need:

  • Cloth

  • Dish soap

  • Water

  • Magic eraser

  • Rubbing alcohol

  • Cotton swab

  • Razorblade

  • Borax

Removing Wet Nail Polish From Painted Walls

When removing wet nail polish from walls, it's important to remember to not push too hard or focus too much on one area of the wall. And if your walls haven't been washed in a while, you might consider washing the whole wall once the nail polish has been removed. For wet nail polish removal, follow these steps.

  1. Grab a dry cloth and wipe the nail polish off in an upward swiping motion.

  2. Any remaining nail polish can we washed off with a wet cloth and a few drops of dish soap.

  3. If a bit of color still remains, rub the spot with a damp magic eraser pad.

Red nail polish spilled on wall

How to Get Dry Nail Polish Off Painted Walls With Rubbing Alcohol

Dry nail polish from painted walls is a different ball game altogether. Getting dry nail polish off your painted walls is going to take a bit of elbow grease and patience.

  1. Put a bit of rubbing alcohol on a cotton swab and dab at the nail polish.

  2. Use a clean swab and more rubbing alcohol until most of the polish is removed.

  3. Wipe the area down with a soapy cloth.

  4. Hit any remaining stains with a magic eraser using gentle circular motions.

Remove Dry Nail Polish With Nail Polish

You can break down dry nail polish by adding a coat of fresh nail polish on top of it.

  1. If rubbing alcohol is ineffective, try painting over the nail polish with fresh nail polish.

  2. Allow it to sit for about a minute and wipe.

  3. Repeat until the nail polish is gone.

  4. Then wipe with a magic eraser.

For dry nail polish, you can also take a razor blade and carefully scrape the polish off the paint. However, the margin of error for this method is pretty high.

How to Remove Nail Polish With Borax

Borax can be a miracle worker when it comes to nail polish on painted walls.

  1. Add a teaspoon of borax to warm soapy water.

  2. Wipe the stain with the mixture.

  3. Repeat until the polish stain is gone.

While borax works great on painted walls, it should not be used on wallpaper.

Can You Use Nail Polish Remover for a Painted Wall?

Nail polish remover isn't recommended for use on a painted wall because it can damage the paint. If this is the only option left available, you want to test the remover on a discrete area of the wall to make sure it doesn't harm the paint before attacking the nail polish stain.

Woman cleaning wall

Getting Nail Polish Off Wallpaper Walls With WD40

For wallpaper, you can try the methods above for painted walls. In most cases, a magic eraser is all you need to get rid of the stain. However, another effective method for removing nail polish from wallpaper is WD40.

  1. Spray a bit of WD40 on the nail polish stain.

  2. Allow it to sit for a few seconds and wipe off the stain.

  3. Follow up with a magic eraser.

  4. Wipe everything down with soapy water and dry.

Before using WD40 on your wallpaper, make sure to test it on an inconspicuous area to be sure it doesn't lead to any discoloration or breaking down of the paper.

Tips for Getting Dry Nail Polish off Wood Walls

When it comes to painted wood or laminate walls, wet nail polish can be removed with a bit of ingenuity. To start removing nail polish from wood walls, grab:

  • Rubbing alcohol

  • Sponge

  • Cotton swab

  • Fine steel wool

How to Remove Wet Nail Polish From Wood Walls

Wet nail polish hasn't had much time to soak into the grain of the wood. Therefore, most stains can be fully removed.

  1. Use the cotton swab to soak up as much nail polish as possible.

  2. Add a bit of rubbing alcohol and rub off with nail polish with the grain.

  3. Use the fine steel wool to gently buff out any remaining nail polish.

How to Remove Dry Nail Polish From Wood Walls

When it comes to dry fingernail polish on wood floors, you have fewer options. You can try the scraping method with a plastic scraper or using fingernail polish remover. However, both of these options leave the potential for ruining your wood walls. Therefore, you'll want to do a test run on a hidden area of the wall. Another option for wood walls is to use fine sandpaper to sand off the fingernail polish and refinish that area of the wall. If in doubt, consider calling a professional.

How to Remove Fingernail Polish From Walls

When it comes to cleaning walls with nail polish, it's important to act fast. Most of the time fresh nail polish spills can be removed with soap and water. However, if that's not enough you can bust out the magic eraser, WD40, or rubbing alcohol. Now that you know, it's time to hit that stain fast.

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How to Get Nail Polish Off Walls (Without Damage)