A photo of a spilled bottle of nail polish on a white bedsheet, showing the colorful, dried stains and a person attempting to remove them using various cleaning materials.

How To Get Nail Polish Out Of Sheets

Oh no, you just spilled nail polish on your nice clean sheets and now there is a stubborn stain! Not to worry, removing nail polish from sheets is possible with the right techniques. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the step-by-step process to get your sheets looking fresh again.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: try dabbing the stain right away with nail polish remover or rubbing alcohol. Then wash the sheets in hot, soapy water. For stubborn stains, make a paste of baking soda and peroxide and let it sit before washing.

Act Quickly When You First Notice the Stain

Grab a Paper Towel and Blot

When you first notice that nail polish has spilled onto your sheets, it’s important to act quickly. The longer the polish sits, the harder it will be to remove. As soon as you see the spill, grab a paper towel or cloth and gently blot the stain.

Don’t rub aggressively at this point, as that can push the polish deeper into the fabric. Lightly dabbing will help absorb excess polish.

Use Nail Polish Remover or Rubbing Alcohol

Next, grab a bottle of nail polish remover or rubbing alcohol and pour a small amount directly onto the stain. Let it sit for 1-2 minutes to break down the polish. Then, gently blot the stain again with a clean paper towel or cloth.

The remover/alcohol will help dissolve the nail polish so it can be lifted off the sheets. You may need to apply more remover and blot several times to fully get rid of the stain.

According to a 2021 survey by the American Cleaning Institute, 91% of people have acetone nail polish remover readily available in their homes. So chances are, you already have this handy for tackling stains quickly.

Do Not Scrub Aggressively

It’s important not to scrub too hard when trying to remove nail polish from sheets. Vigorous scrubbing can further embed the stain into the fabric. Instead, stick to light dabbing and blotting. Let the remover or rubbing alcohol do the work of breaking down the polish.

With a little patience and gentle blotting, you can likely get fresh looking sheets again.

If you’ve let the stain set in for a while, try soaking the entire sheet in a bath of warm water and laundry detergent. Let it soak for at least 30 minutes, then gently blot the stain again. The combination of soaking and blotting with remover is your best bet for getting rid of dried-on nail polish.

With quick action and the right stain removal products on hand, you can likely erase that nail polish spill from your sheets. Just remember – blot, don’t scrub! Those pretty painted nails might leave behind some polish, but with a little elbow grease, you can keep your sheets looking their best.

Wash the Sheets

Use Hot Water and Detergent

The first step in removing nail polish from sheets is to wash them right away before the stain has time to set. Start by filling your washing machine with hot water, the hottest temperature allowed for the fabric. Hot water helps dissolve the nail polish and separate it from the fibers.

Add your regular laundry detergent as you normally would. Detergents contain surfactants that will help lift the oily nail polish from the fabric. Let the sheet soak in the detergent solution for at least 30 minutes before starting the wash cycle. This gives the detergent time to penetrate the stain.

Add Baking Soda or Vinegar to Boost Cleaning Power

For really stubborn nail polish stains, give your detergent an extra boost by adding baking soda or vinegar to the wash. Baking soda is a natural degreaser and mild abrasive that helps scrub away oils and residue. Add 1/2 cup baking soda along with the detergent.

White vinegar helps dissolve oils and grease while brightening fabrics. Add 1 cup white vinegar to the machine during the rinse cycle. It will help rinse away any remaining traces of nail polish. You can even do both – baking soda during the wash and vinegar during the rinse – for maximum power!

Air Dry in Sunlight for Added Whitening

After washing the sheets, avoid the dryer and allow them to air dry in direct sunlight if possible. The UV rays in sunlight act as a natural bleach to brighten white fabrics and remove any last traces of stains.

As an alternative, you can add 1/2 cup lemon juice or hydrogen peroxide to the rinse cycle for extra whitening power. Just make sure to check that these bleaching agents won’t harm the fabric before using. Then air dry as usual.

With a thorough wash and some time in the sun, you should be able to get even embedded nail polish stains out of sheets.

Tackle Stubborn Stains with a Paste

Make a Baking Soda and Peroxide Paste

Nail polish stains can really set into fabric and be tricky to remove. But don’t lose hope! Making a simple DIY paste with common household ingredients is an effective way to tackle those stubborn stains. Here’s how to whip up an easy nail polish remover paste:

  • In a small bowl, mix together 2 tablespoons of baking soda and 1 tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide until it forms a thick, spreadable paste.
  • You can adjust the amounts as needed to make more or less paste depending on the size of the stained area.

Baking soda is a mild abrasive that will help lift the pigment from the nail polish out of the fabric. When combined with hydrogen peroxide, it makes a stain-fighting duo! The peroxide releases oxygen molecules to help break down and lift out the stain.

Let the Paste Sit Before Washing

Once you’ve made the DIY stain remover paste, don’t rush to wash the sheets right away. Letting it sit for a bit gives the ingredients time to work their magic:

  • Apply the paste directly onto the nail polish stain and let it sit for at least 30 minutes.
  • For tougher stains or polish that has set in, let the paste sit for up to a few hours or overnight before washing.

This dwell time allows the baking soda and peroxide to penetrate the fibers of the fabric to help loosen the pigment. Having patience pays off for better stain removal results!

Use an Old Toothbrush for Scrubbing

After letting the DIY nail polish remover paste sit, it’s time to start washing the sheets. Scrubbing the area with an old toothbrush helps remove more of the stain:

  • Before washing, use a soft-bristled toothbrush to gently scrub the paste into the stained fabric.
  • The mechanical scrubbing action helps lift out more of the stain.

An old toothbrush is the perfect item to keep on hand for stain removal. The bristles are soft enough not to damage delicate fabrics like sheets. And it lets you apply targeted scrubbing to the stain.

Once you’ve scrubbed the area, wash the sheets as you normally would according to the care instructions. The paste recipe is safe for white and color-safe bleach. For best results, wash in hot water. The heat helps activate the ingredients to remove stains.

With a simple homemade paste and some elbow grease, you can outsmart nail polish stains! No need to lose sleep over spots on your sheets. This method lets you rest easy knowing even stubborn stains can meet their match.

Try Other Home Remedies

Lemon Juice

Lemon juice is an effective natural remedy for lifting fresh nail polish stains from sheets. The citric acid helps to dissolve the harsh chemicals in the nail polish. Apply a small amount of fresh lemon juice directly on the stain, gently rub with a sponge, and rinse with cold water.

Allow the sheets to dry in the sunlight. For tough stains, repeat the process a few times before washing as normal. Lemon juice also helps to brighten and naturally whiten the sheets.


An aerosol hairspray can effectively treat nail polish stains. Spray a modest amount directly on the stained area and let it soak for 30 seconds. Then use an old toothbrush or sponge to gently rub the spot in circular motions to release the stain. Rinse with cold water.

Repeat if needed until the stain fades, then launder as usual. The alcohol and industrial-strength chemicals in the hairspray help to dissolve and lift the stubborn polish.

Rubbing Alcohol and Salt

For a powerful stain-fighting duo, combine table salt and rubbing alcohol. Pour a small pile of salt directly onto the nail polish mark on the sheets. Then drizzle a bit of rubbing alcohol over the salt until it forms a paste.

Gently massage the area with an old toothbrush, being careful not to spread the stain. Rinse with cold water and repeat as needed. Finally, wash on the highest heat setting as safely possible for the fabric type.

The alcohol breaks down the polish while the salt provides a gentle abrasive scrubbing action.

Oxiclean or Borax

Stubborn nail polish stains often call for more intensive cleaning solutions. Pre-soak the marked sheets in a mixture of warm water and OxiClean powder for 1-2 hours. This allows the activated oxygen in the formula to penetrate and loosen the staining. Rinse well and launder as usual.

For a natural option, use Borax instead. A half cup added to the washing machine can boost results. The alkaline pH and stain-fighting enzymes tackle nail polish with ease.

When to Call in a Professional

For Large or Multi-Colored Stains

If you have a large nail polish stain that covers a significant portion of your sheet, or multiple stains in different colors, it can be incredibly challenging to remove this yourself. The larger the stained area, the deeper the nail polish will have soaked into the fabric.

Similarly, multiple colors make it harder to monitor the stain removal process. In these cases, calling in a professional may be your best option to safely remove the stains without risking damage to the sheets.

If Home Remedies Don’t Work

We all like to try DIY solutions first when tackling household stains. However, if you’ve tried every home remedy under the sun with no success, don’t keep scrubbing away at the stain. This can lead to the nail polish saturating deeper into the fabric, making it even harder to remove.

Know when to call it quits and hand the sheets over to a professional. They have commercial-grade stain removers and tools that safely lift out tough stains without harming the sheets.

To Avoid Damaging the Sheets

If your sheets are expensive or have sentimental value, you may decide it’s best to let a professional handle stain removal. While home remedies are generally safe, they do come with a risk of damaging the fabric.

Professionals have the skills and experience to lift out stains while protecting the integrity of the sheets. This avoids any accidental holes, tears or fading that aggressive scrubbing could cause. Your sheets will come back good as new.


Removing fresh nail polish stains from sheets is very doable with ingredients like nail polish remover, baking soda, and peroxide. For older, set-in stains, try lemon juice or commercial stain removers.

With some patience and elbow grease, you can likely get your sheets looking clean again without having to replace them. Just be sure to act quickly as soon as you notice the spill for best results. Follow these tips, and you’ll have sweet dreams in fresh, stain-free sheets again soon.

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