How to get Red Nail Polish out of Carpet – A {sort of} Tutorial

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I hope you are never so unfortunate as to have this happen to you. “This” being an entire bottle of red nail polish poured all over your carpet.

This happened in my craft room on Friday. My wonderful son, Little Moore, opened up a bottle of nail polish, and shook it all over the carpet in a matter of seconds.

For those of you thinking that this act might prevent Little Moore from seeing his second birthday, which is only a few weeks out, I might – almost – agree. But, he really had no clue of the damage he was doing. He just saw something that mommy plays with, and wanted to play too. And, red is his favorite color (he always eats the red m&ms first). The kid may not have a lot of sense, but he does have good taste! : )

Just in case something like this does happen to you, here are the steps you should take:

1. First, accept that your carpet is never going to be the same again. It might get really, really close, but all the rubbing and scrubbing is going to loosen the carpet fibers, and possibly stretch the carpet. Plus, the more you “let go” now, the happier you are going to be with the end result. Then, grab whatever you can to blot up any big globs before they soak into the carpet.
2. Next, assemble your “dream team.”
This, by the way, is the only edited photo in this entire post. All the rest are completely unedited in any way.

As soon as it happened, I grabbed the nail polish remover, and a roll of paper towels. Yeah, um… that was an optimistic response… notice that the nail polish remover is not shown here. I have the “Oops” we already had in the house, the “Goof Off” I bought at Lowe’s, and the “Folex” that the guy at the Hardware store recommended. Oh, and our Bissel. This was super-handy.

3. Once you have the dream team assembled, along with a large pile of old rags/terrycloth towels (which are all going to get thrown away, so don’t use anything you’d like to keep), start with the Oops or the Goof Off. Pour it onto the rag, and rub, rub rub! Keep doing this, using clean spots on the rag each time. It is going to feel a lot like you are smudging the nail polish as much as you are removing it, but that’s okay right now. Make sure you open a window – this stuff is smelly! Oh, and the bottles say to “test on an inconspicuous area of the carpet.” This made me giggle (in my head… I was too frustrated to actually giggle out loud). Could this stuff really do something to make my rug look worse than it does with red nail polish?

4. Once you’ve gotten most of the big goopy bits out, move to the Folex. When I went to the hardware store and asked what to use to get red nailpolish out of carpet, this is what the salesguy recommended. I picked up the bottle, amd thought it looked pretty wimpy. But, this is really amazing stuff. I went through two bottles of it, but it worked! Folex is some amazing stuff! I soaked the entire area in Folex. Then, I used the Bissel hand tool to scrub it in (I didn’t turn the Bissel on yet, just used the scrubber). Once I’d gotten it really scrubbed, I turned on the Bissel, and sucked the carpet as dry as I could. I then sprayed with water from the Bissel, and sucked again. I repeated the process a couple times: Folex – scrub – suck – water – scrub – suck.

5. After a couple hours, It was looking pretty good. There were still a couple spots that looked like this:

In the middle, you can see some red on the carpet fibers. I went back over it with the Goof Off (I had gone through the whole bottle of Oops), and then repeated the Folex process…

After about 4 hours, it looked like this:

Here is a closer picture, you can see the red on the bottom of the table leg, but the carpet looks pretty good.

Oh, and here is what is left of the nail polish:

“Boundless Color…” he he he…

So, there you have it! I hope you never, ever have to use these tips. But, I would totally recommend having a bottle of that Folex around. While I was in “clean carpet mode” I used some on the crusty lump of glue in the carpet (yet another LM mishap), and it is no longer a crusty lump.

Lastly, if you have a toddler and don’t own a carpet cleaner of some kind, you might want to find a friend who has one. : )

One very last thing, and I feel totally silly saying this, but… this is not a sponsored post. If any or all of the above mentioned products would have come to me a week ago, and offered me “free product” to hand a bottle of nail polish to my child, I would have found several creative ways to tell them that they were off their rocker.



  1. What a nightmare! You did an awesome job getting it out though.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog. I’m glad you enjoyed the video.

  2. My carpet looks just like that, but sadly, I did it! I hope your tricks work. Have a great day!!!

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