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How to Remove Nail Polish from Bathtub

Here’s the thing – a fresh coat of bright nail polish looks great on your fingernails, but not so much on your bathtub!

It can be a frustrating moment to realize you accidentally spilled nail polish on your sleek bathtub, whether it’s a small drop or a big dollop of polish.

The most important thing is that you know how to safely remove nail polish from the bathtub because the last thing you need to deal with is a dull, cracked, or scratched bathtub.

Here’s how to properly remove nail polish from your bathtub quickly and safely.

nail polish

How to Remove Fresh Nail Polish Spills from Bathtub

Spills and nail polish splatters happen when you do your nails near the bathtub. Or perhaps the kids accidentally spilled your open nail polish bottle. Once this happens, take action right away.

Fresh spills of nail polish on the bathtub are usually pretty easy to remove. Get a dry, absorbent cloth and use it to wipe away the stain. But be careful when doing this. You want the cloth to absorb the nail polish, not spread the stain on your bathtub, and cause even more of a mess. Push the cloth towards the spill, absorbing it instead of rubbing and spreading the stain all over.

But make sure you reach for a cloth that you don’t mind getting ruined. Nail polish will harden within the cloth fibers, so likely it’s not going to come off no matter how much you wash it afterward.

If there are still small streaks of nail polish left, get rubbing alcohol. Use a cotton ball and dampen it in alcohol to rub away the stain, then rinse the tub with water. Alcohol should be able to remove any faint coloring from nail polish on your bathtub. But it only really works for getting rid of nail polish if it’s still fresh.

How to Remove Hardened Nail Polish from Bathtub

If you discover the nail polish stain on your bathtub after it’s already had a chance to dry, you could usually peel it away if you’re lucky. Try peeling the hardened nail polish with your fingernails first. You can usually remove smaller polish splatters on your tub this way.

But for tough spills, you’ll need to use some type of scraper to get the hardened polish off. Try using a plastic scraper to remove as much of the nail polish as possible. Avoid using abrasives or rough items like a butter knife or a metal scraper since they can scratch and damage your tub’s white, shiny surface.

How to Remove Nail Polish Stains from Bathtub

Sometimes, you clean nail polish from the bathtub, and it will come right off, and you have a shiny, pristine tub that looks brand new. In other cases, you can remove most of the polish, but there will be stains left on the surface. These polish stains are usually harder to remove, but thankfully, you can still get rid of them.

Use Acetone

What You’ll Need: 

  • Acetone
  • Clean cloth

When you notice a nail polish spill on the bathtub, getting the acetone to remove the stain might be the first thing that comes to your mind. After all, acetone can take off polish from your fingernails, so it should remove the polish on your tub, and in this case, you’re right.

Acetone, or any nail polish remover you have, will break down the nail polish and loosen its chain of polymers enough so you can wipe it off any surface afterward. So, dampen a clean cloth with acetone, then use it to wipe the stain off the tub gently.

But remember that acetone can be a bit strong, so keep in mind to use it in batches and ensure that the bathroom has plenty of ventilation before you start cleaning. Repeat the process until you remove all nail polish stains, then remember to rinse the area with water once you’re done.

As mentioned, acetone is pretty strong, so never leave it on the tub’s surface for too long.

Expert Tip: Avoid using acetone for cleaning nail polish stains from an acrylic bathtub. Acetone, like other solvents and chemical cleaners, can damage and deteriorate acrylic surfaces. So, avoid any cleaner that contains acetone. You might end up with a dull spot in your acrylic tub where you spilled or applied acetone, which is never a good look.

Get Some Toothpaste and a Brush

What You’ll Need: 

  • Toothpaste, any will do
  • Soft-bristled brush

Toothpaste contains ethyl acetate, and while it’s only in small amounts, it still makes even a generic toothpaste a good substitute for acetone. It’s also a gentler option and will less likely damage your bathtub even when left for too long on the tub’s surface.

You can simply dab a good amount of toothpaste on the stain and start brushing just like how you would brush your teeth. Don’t be hesitant to repeat the process as necessary, and get ready to keep brushing. This way, removing nail polish may require some hard work, depending on how stubborn the nail polish stain is.

You can also make a paste using toothpaste, lemons, and water for extra cleaning power against a nail polish stain.

While acetone is not ideal to use on acrylic bathtubs, this method is safer to use on acrylic surfaces.

Remove Nail Polish Stains with Baking Soda

What You’ll Need: 

  • Baking soda
  • Water
  • Clean cloth or brush

Another gentle and all-around cleaner is baking soda. It’s a gentle astringent that can remove many different kinds of stains like nail polish from all sorts of surfaces like your bathtub.

Make a paste by combining baking soda with a few drops of water, then put it over the polish stain on your tub. Leave it for a couple of minutes, giving the baking soda some time to loosen the nail polish spill or streaks on the surface.

After around ten to 15 minutes, use a clean cloth or brush to work the paste into the stain. Rinse it well and repeat the process as necessary until your bathtub gleams with cleanliness.

Another option is to add lemon to the baking soda paste for additional cleaning power. Like baking soda, lemons can help break down nail polish stains from the tub because of their acidity.

Keep Your Bathtub Nail Polish-Free!

Spilling nail polish on the bathtub can create a huge mess, but it’s quite a simple mess to deal with and clean.

There are plenty of cleaners you can use to remove nail polish stains from your tub. But depending on the material of your bathtub, you might want to reconsider grabbing the obvious nail polish remover, acetone. Porcelain and fiberglass tubs are pretty strong and durable, so it would be safe to use acetone in cleaning polish stains off these types of bathtubs.

Unfortunately for acrylic tubs, acetone is simply too strong. Although it will get rid of the nail polish spilled on the tub, it can damage the acrylic surface. The good news is, you can resort to more gentle yet still effective nail polish cleaners for your tub, like toothpaste and baking soda.

Mandy Phillips

As a frequent contributor to top US magazines and publications in the home improvement niche, Mandy has been known for sharing her expertise on how to clean, organize, and decorate bathrooms.

Additionally, Mandy has immense experience offering lifestyle tips and tricks to her readers.

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