How to remove nail polish from my wood furniture?

How to remove nail polish from my wood furniture?

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Nail Pollish Spill on Furniture

Nail Polish Spill?

Ouch! You’ve spilt the dreaded nail polish on your beautiful wood furniture.

This happens to a lot of people. That little brush can sometimes be tough to insert and remove without spilling the bottle. Well here are some ways to remove it.

Chances are it’s still not wet.. but if it is… great job on your quick thinking and fast Internet search.

If nail polish is still wet


Grab a lint free white cotton cloth (white t-shirt) and gently dab the polish letting it soak into the cloth. Remove as much as you can with this method. Do not swirl or spread the polish into the finish or paint because it will start to lift it or make the problem worse.


After you have removed as much as you can with step #1, using a clean part of the cloth, start pulling the polish from the outside into the center of the spill while using a clean part of the cloth for each swipe, as it’s tightly wrapped around your index finger.


If there are remnants of the polish, use some soap and water and again a clean white cloth and gently clean the area until removed.


Grab some furniture polish and polish the top to regain its luster.

If polish has dried

Use a plain razor blade and  gently scrape the spill from the surface remembering to only scrape the spill itself, not the wood finish. The nail polish should slip easily from the wood. If the spill is stubborn,  apply a cloth dampened with hot water to the spill for a few seconds to loosen it, then proceed with the razor blade. You can try using a plastic putty knife ,but this may not be as effective.


Apply denatured alcohol to a cloth, and gently rub the spill until it comes off. This procedure is risky and may take some finesse but it can be done. Alcohol is a strong solvent and will damage the finish on your furniture so do this with caution. Polish usually has an alcohol base so using alcohol to remove it makes sense.


Use # 0000-grade fine stainless-steel wool to gently buff away the dried nail polish. Steel wool with a # 0000 grade is a very fine wool that will be tough enough to work the spill away from the wood, but soft enough not to damage the finish. You will be tempted to buff  a larger area than the spot itself but I suggest you stay very close to damaged area using small, light strokes.


Sometimes you will be left with a dull spot where you removed the polish. I suggest using a wax and a buffing rag to regain the luster of the  finish and to wax the whole surface evenly. This will ensure an invisible finish.

These steps are not for the faint of heart. You may further damage your finish. Usually a professional is called in for such repairs and one may still be required after your attempt.

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