In general, the contents of nail polish are not that harmful to wood. They at least won’t corrode the wood if they come in contact with it. Acetone, one of the contents, can damage hardwoods; however, a minor spill will not do any significant damage since it highly vaporizes. The only issue is the nail polish colors stick to the wood floor. Using a nail polish remover on the hardwood floor may seem like a simple solution, but can it really be done without any risk to the hardwood floor?
Can I Use A Nail Polish Remover?
No. Nail polish removers should not be used on hardwood floors as they contain acetone – a solvent that can eat away at the finish and alter the color as well.
As I mentioned above, a small acetone spill on a hardwood floor won’t harm the floor. If you wish to remove nail polish with nail polish remover, then you have to rub acetone onto the hardwood. Consequently, rubbing acetone for an extended period of time can damage the finish.
While some experts recommend using acetone to remove such stains, it is advised to do it in places that are in the corners of the room or will be hidden by furniture.
Additionally, don’t use it on hardwood floors where multiple shades of planks of wood are mixed. Acetone can pick a color from darker woods and stain it on lighter woods.
If there is a stain in the corner of the room that often goes unnoticed, you can try applying acetone to the fabric and lightly touching the stained surface. If the stain starts to come off, ensure that you spot-clean that area to eliminate any lingering acetone.
Powdered White Sugar Or Salt – Freshly Spilled Nail Polish
Powdered white sugar can be very helpful if nail polish has not yet hardened or stained the floors. Simply pouring some white sugar or salt over the spill will make the sugar absorb the polish before the hardwood can absorb it.
The sugar will congeal with the nail polish and harden, which can then be swept up once the polish has dried. If the nail polish is stubborn, this method will not work. However, you can try the methods in the next section.
Once the sugar or salt absorbs all the nail polish, you can wipe them with a clean cotton rag.
Spot Clean – Dried Nail Polish
If the white sugar trick was ineffective due to the nail polish not being wet enough, you could try the spot clean method.
- Dab the freshly spilled nail polish with tissues or a cotton swab.
- Once the mess has been absorbed, use a clean white towel or cotton swabs and dab them in rubbing alcohol.
- Use rubbing alcohol on the stains that are left behind. If there is no noticeable difference, use mineral spirits instead of rubbing alcohol.
- Do not be too rash when scrubbing the floors. If the nail polish has not come off entirely, your only hope is the next section of this article.
Rubbing alcohol method can help weaken the nail polish, which can then be removed with the help of a cloth. When using rubbing alcohol on hardwood floors, ensure you do not use too much – as it may damage delicate floors.
- Take a cotton swab and dab it in the rubbing alcohol.
- Rub the cotton swap in an unseen corner of the hardwood to see if it results in any form of damage.
- If there is no visible damage, use a fresh cotton swab/cloth dabbed in rubbing alcohol on the nail polish.
- Ensure you are rubbing gently on the nail polish. Check the cloth to see if the nail polish is coming off.
If the nail polish does not come off, do not pour and oversaturate the hardwood with rubbing alcohol. Move on to the next method.
Hairsprays have aerosol in them that can help remove the nail polish off the hardwood floors. The method is quite easy to use, though you may have to try it more than once to get everything off.
- Spray the hairspray on the nail polish stains.
- Wipe the stains with a wet cloth in one direction.
- Gently scrub the area with hot and soapy water.
- Repeat the process till the stains disappear.
Mineral spirits are often used to clean paint brushes, and they do not pose extreme harm to hardwood floors. However, when using methods that pose a little risk to the hardwood floors, always test them out in an unseen spot.
- Use a cotton swab or cloth to directly apply the mineral spirits to the stains.
- Use another cloth to gently wipe up the stains.
- If the stains do not respond to the mineral spirits, do not scrape or rub hard – it could remove the finish.
If your nail polish stains are very stubborn and have not come off despite all of the methods above, here are two surefire methods that will work perfectly on hardwood floors with close to no risk.
Acetone-Free Polish Remover
While acetone-based nail polish removers cannot be used on wood flooring due to their destructive capabilities, there are non-acetone nail polish removers on the market. They are safe for use on hardwood floors, but you still have to be careful to scrub gently.
- Use a cotton pad or a cloth and douse it in the non-acetone polish remover.
- Apply and start rubbing gently on the stains.
- You should see the cloth absorbing/removing nail polish stains as you go on.
- Repeat till the stains have finally disappeared.
- If the cotton pad does not do the trick, you can use the polish remover on the stains and use a scrub instead.
If your finish is entirely hidden underneath the nail polish, you can use this method to restore the hardwood floor back to its original color. You will have to lightly sand the nail polish stain for this to work.
- Use sandpaper and lightly sand the stained area.
- Apply linseed oil to coat the area.
- Wait for close to a day, and it should be returning back to normal.
Baby Oil + Vinegar
Another method you can try is a baby oil and vinegar solution. Mix baby oil and vinegar in equal proportion. Then rub this mixture on the nail stain using a cotton rag. If stains come off in the cotton rag, then it’s fine; otherwise, move on to the next method.
Goof Off FG653
I found a store-bought cleaner Goof Off works pretty well on hardwood surfaces. First, dampen a cotton rag with Goof Off FG653. Rub it on the nail polish stain on the hardwood surface. Make sure to rub it in one direction. You’ll see nail polish coming off the wood surface.
Additionally, you can use it to remove marker stains, pen stains, adhesives, etc., from the hardwood flooring.
Sanding – Ultimate
If non of the above method works, it’s time to sand the hardwood surface. Sanding will remove nail polish stains 100%. Moreover, you have to refinish the surface, as sanding can damage the original finish of the hardwood. As nail polish spill in a small area, you’ll have to sand that small area. Hence, nothing risky.