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Does Nail Polish Remover Remove Paint? (Explained)

There are many great paint removers in the market but if you have run out of them or if they are not readily available where you live, you might be able to use nail polish remover as an alternative.

Does nail polish remover remove paint?

Nail polish remover can remove paint as it mainly contains acetone which is a powerful solvent. Acetone is added to help remove tough materials such as synthetic resin, plasticizers, and nitrocellulose in nail polish. So, they can also effectively clean up paint splatter or spills and thin paint.

Despite being made and marketed specifically to remove nail polish, a nail polish remover still has the ability and strength to clean out the paint. This includes latex-based paint, oil paints, and uncured paints. 

It is important to note that these aren’t easy paints to get rid of once dried completely. The best part though is the fact that nail polish remover can remove paint from not only one but various different surfaces which makes it such a handy product. 

Let’s take a look at a few different surfaces to see how effectively nail polish remover cleans paint off of them.

From clothes:

Clothes getting stained by paints can be heart-breaking especially if the clothing item is new, luckily nail polish remover can remove those stains. 

You can do this by dipping a clean towel in nail polish remover and once the towel has become saturated, you can begin to blot the paint stain with it, it will begin to loosen up. You can then toss it into the wash. This almost always works to get rid of paint stains from clothes.

From cars:

Nail polish remover can remove paint splatter and spills from cars but it is highly discouraged to do that. Because even nail polish remover without acetone can dissolve your car’s paint. 

The clear topcoat and the paint underneath, basically to the very base of your car’s paint. If you get nail polish remover on your car by accident, wipe it away immediately to avoid damages.

From the skin:

Nail polish remover can remove paint from your skin. But instead of rubbing it into your whole hand, try dipping a cotton ball in the nail polish remover and gently scrub away the paint. 

This precaution will be beneficial as nail polish remover can be abrasive on the skin, especially if the person has sensitive or allergy-prone skin.

From shoes:

It is possible to get rid of paint from your shoes by using nail polish remover. All you need to do is dip a cotton ball in nail polish remover, let it get saturated, and then gently scrub at the paint you want to get rid of. It should come off easily.

From wood:

Nail polish remover is not good for either fresh, new wood, or even varnished wood. If you use it on wood it will stain the surface of the wood and leave a bright, bleached blotch behind. 

Also, nail polish remover with a high concentration of acetone can erode the surface of the wood.

From carpet:

If you have accidentally spilled paint onto your carpets, then you might be able to remove it with the help of nail polish remover. The best way to do it is by blotting the stain with a tissue or cotton pad soaked in nail polish remover. 

This should be able to loosen it up and get rid of the stain. But if that doesn’t work, you might have to get the carpet professionally cleaned or use commercial cleaning products.

From plastic:

If you want to get rid of any paint stain caused by splatter or spillage from plastic surfaces then nail polish remover is your best friend! It helps liquefy the paint by dissolving and makes cleaning the paint off completely effortless.

From a canvas:

Nail polish remover can get rid of acrylic paint mistakes from a canvas but the nail polish remover should be free of additives. But sometimes even the acetone in nail polish remover can be too harsh for the canvas. So, it is best to avoid using it on canvases.

From glass:

Nail polish remover cleans paint off of glass without any effort and also doesn’t harm the glass. All you need to do is take a few drops of nail polish remover on a microfiber cloth and rub it on the stains and let it sit for a while. 

This will allow the stain to come off, you can then wipe the glass clean with a dry cloth.

From metal:

You can easily remove paint or even sticky residue from stickers from metal surfaces by using acetone-based nail polish remover to wipe the stain. This will get rid of the paint.

From concrete:

One of the easiest ways to get rid of paint stains from concrete is by pouring nail polish remover that contains acetone onto it and scrubbing with a brush with slightly sturdy bristles. 

If the paint is old and tough, then leave the nail polish remover for a while before you begin scrubbing.

What paint does nail polish remover remove?

There is a wide variety of paints and nail polish remover will react differently to each one of them. It might be effective in removing some stains but might not even be able to budge others.

Acrylic paint:

Nail polish remover can effectively remove acrylic paint but it is best to use in small sections. 

A small washcloth should be dipped in acetone-based nail polish remover and held against the acrylic paint that needs to be removed and wait for it to break apart and come off.

Oil-based paint:

Any nail polish remover containing acetone can easily remove oil-based paint.

Latex paint:

Due to the presence of acetone, nail polish remover can also remove latex paint from many different surfaces, despite the paint being so tough.

Enamel paint:

Old, dried enamel paint can also be removed from various surfaces with the help of acetone-based nail polish remover. It works like a charm in getting it off.

Spray paint:

Spray paint can be tricky to work with and has the tendency to go where it’s not supposed to but thankfully nail polish remover can successfully get rid of it.

Gloss paint:

The acetone in nail polish remover is a solvent that can easily dissolve gloss paint and clean it off of many different surfaces with minimal effort.

Will non-acetone nail polish remover remove paint?

Non-acetone nail polish removers aren’t as effective or fast at removing paints, mainly old paint that has dried up and becomes tough over time. 

However, because of the absence of acetone, there is risk of damaging the surface you are trying to get the paint off reduces significantly.

How do you remove dried paint using nail polish remover?

Old dried paint splatters can make furniture or surfaces look unseemly and dirty even if they are not. And cleaning off the dry paint can revamp it instantly and give them new life. 

Not to mention the money you can save which you would otherwise have spent to replace the furniture with paint on it.

Let it get saturated:

Dip a towel or a paper towel in nail polish remover and let it get saturated.

Dab the nail polish remover:

Use the towel to dab the nail polish remover onto the paint splatter and spills you are trying to remove and let that sit for about 5-10 minutes. This will give the paint time to break apart and come off.

Gently scrub away the paint:

After that, you can gently scrub away the paint. But if you still notice a few stubborn bits refusing to come off then you can repeat the process till all of the old paint is removed.

Can you use nail polish remover on paintbrushes?

Nail polish remover can clean paint brushes due to the presence of acetone, which is a strong solvent. But we should know that acetone not only dissolves paint but also performs similarly when it comes in contact with the glue. 

In this case, it might remove the glue used to keep the bristles in the brush together and leave you with a bald brush.

How to use nail polish remover as a paint thinner?

If you want to use nail polish remover to thin paint then you must begin by adding one ounce of nail polish remover to about a gallon of paint and stir it continuously till the two become completely incorporated and then draw a long strip using the paint to check the consistency.

You may also add nail polish remover or paint till you get your desired final product.

Final Thoughts:

Nail polish remover can easily remove various types of paint thanks to acetone which is the primary ingredient in nail polish remover, for making it possible. It is a strong solvent that removes paint by dissolving it. But it can also be harsh on different surfaces if used carelessly.