21 Wondrous Uses For Nail Polish (That Have Nothing To Do With Nails!)

21 Wondrous Uses For Nail Polish (That Have Nothing To Do With Nails!)

Finally - a way to put all those bottles of nail polish to good use! Today we're sharing 22 terrific uses for nail polish that will come in handy all around the home.

Clear nail polish is an amazing sealer, glue, and protective layer, making it useful for loads of things you've probably never considered.

Intrigued? Check out our 22 new uses for nail polish below and prepare to be amazed!

1. Prevent pearl buttons from peeling

pearls nail polish
So simple but effective!

Pearls are such a pretty accessory - they bring a touch of class to any outfit. The only problem is that they can often peel.

Coat faux pearl buttons, necklaces and earrings in a layer of clear nail polish, and it'll keep them looking great for years to come.

2. Stop fabric from fraying

Fraying is actually pretty fashionable right now, but there's a limit. If your clothing starts to fray, you can give it a coating of nail polish. 

It's a quick way to save your denim skirts from fraying into nothingness.

 3. Mark levels in buckets, jugs & more

If you ever need to mark a certain point on a liquid measurer, don't risk pens running. Instead, use coloured nail varnish to mark the level - unless you're measuring nail varnish, it's guaranteed to stay put!

4. Make threading needles easier

Once you've got going, sewing can be extremely therapeutic. One thing that isn't, however, is threading needles. Some threads just don't seem to want to cooperate and refuse to go through the eye.

Don't waste time struggling - coat the end of your thread in nail varnish and it will be much easier to thread.

5. Seal an envelope with clear nail polish

seal envelope nail polish
Do your tongue a favour and try this.

Do you hate licking envelopes?

If you can't stand the taste of glue - and who can really blame you - or your envelope seal isn't sticky enough, you can use clear nail polish in its place.

Apply a small layer to the flap and it'll keep everything safe inside.

 6. Stop tights from laddering

Argh! It's so frustrating when you pull on a pair of brand new tights then immediately ladder them.

If you haven't got a spare pair, or the ladder is hidden but you're worried about it ripping further, give it a coat of clear nail polish. Whilst it won't fix the ladder, it will prevent it from getting any worse.

7. Colour code keys

This is one of our favourite uses for nail polish. If you've got a lot of keys that look the same, you can save time by painting the top of each one with a coat of nail polish in various colours.

You'll soon get the hang of remembering which colour matches which door.

8. Seal splinters in wood

We all know how painful splinters can be. Although small, they can sure pack a punch!

If the wood in your home shows sign of splintering, a quick coat of clear nail varnish will seal and smooth it down, preventing it from giving anyone a nasty surprise.

9. Reattach gems

Another wonderful use for nail polish is reattaching gems to jewellery. If you've lost a rhinestone or similar on one of your favourite rings, plop some clear nail varnish in the hole, add your stone, and hold in place until dry.

10. Use less salt

Overdoing it on the salt? If you keep automatically reaching for the salt shaker, this clever tip could really help you.

Remove the top of your shaker, and place it onto some kitchen roll. Next, use clear nail varnish to paint over a few of the holes, and set aside to dry.

Now, when you shake, you'll get less salt out. You'll be able to automatically reduce your salt consumption.

11. How to prevent rust using nail polish

prevent rust nail polish

Are rusty hairspray, deodorant and shaving foam cans leaving marks all over your spotless bathroom?

There's a quick fix for that!

Coat the base of cans in a thin coat of clear nail varnish, and it will prevent oxygen and water from getting in, leaving your cans rust-free.

12. Stop button thread from unravelling

It's much easier to prevent buttons from falling off than to find them or replace them.

A quick coat of clear nail varnish on the thread of buttons will mean you never lose one again.

13. How to mend a cracked window screen

Cracked window screens can be extremely nerve-wracking, but they needn't be!

Give the crack a tiny coat of clear nail varnish on both sides of the screen, and it will prevent it from getting any bigger until you have time to get it fixed.

14. Stop shoelaces from unravelling

Calling all parents! Do your kids have a habit of leaving their shoelaces untied? If so, it's likely friction against the floor and feet will cause them to fray.

Another one of our handy uses for nail varnish is to prevent shoelaces from unravelling.

15. Uses for nail varnish for crafting

Who doesn't love a bit of glitter? It's a wonderful way to bring a touch of sparkle to your crafts.

Want to know a trick?

Apply a coat of clear nail varnish to your glitter-covered crafts, and it will glue everything perfectly into place, keeping both your creations (and carpets) intact.

16. Stop jewellery from going green

coat ring with nail polish
Say goodbye to cheap-looking jewellery.

A teller sign of cheap rings is green fingers.

Keep your secret (and fingers) safe by coating costume jewellery in a layer of clear nail polish. This is one of the thriftiest uses for nail polish, and also works to prevent costume jewellery from tarnishing.

This way, no one will be able to tell real from fake!

17. Tighten loose screws

Here's another one of our uses for nail polish that's perfect for you DIYers.

If you're having trouble with getting a screw to fit snugly, give it a coat of clear nail varnish. It will thicken the screw very slightly, making it a better fit for all your DIY needs.

18. Liquid plaster

This really is a bizarre way to use clear nail polish - some people claim it makes a wonderful plaster when you're out of them.

While we wouldn't recommend using ordinary nail polish, because of the variety of chemicals, you can get some medical-grade clear nail varnishes that are designed for wound care. These are typically non-toxic and help create a barrier to protect the wound from infection. 

19. Smudge-proof labels

One of the best things about nail polish is its waterproof properties.

Apply a quick coat to postage labels or DIY food labels to prevent ink from running, post getting lost, or food getting mixed up.

This is a life hack everyone should know!

 20. Waterproof matches

Going camping soon? We have another handy hack for you that will help keep matched working, whatever the weather!

Before you leave, coat the end of your matches in a layer of clear nail polish. It will keep them dry come rain or shine.

21. Keep glasses screws in place

glasses uses for nail polish
A genius hack for glasses-wearers.

Who has time to keep nipping to the opticians to get their glasses' screws tightened?

Not us!

Instead, we apply a very small amount of clear nail polish to our glasses screws, which seems to keep them put no matter what we get up to.

Have you had any success using nail polish in weird ways? We'd loe to hear your tips in the comments below!

Stephanie C


Lover of all things fashion & foodie...I look to satisfy my tastes without obliterating my budget. Wannabe interior designer, I'm an avid cushion cover maker and charity shop hunter.

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  1. Author jay on May 2, 2018 at 1:01 pm

    That "loop" at the (threading) end of a needle is called an "eye" ;)

    1. Author Stephanie C on May 10, 2018 at 12:01 pm

      Thanks Jay!

  2. Author Susan Madanat on May 9, 2018 at 2:55 am

    My late mother used coloured nail polish to initial her baking trays before lending them. This was over 30 years ago and her initials are still on the trays.

    1. Author Stephanie C on May 10, 2018 at 11:36 am

      Hi Susan. What a brilliant idea - who knew nail varnishes (or baking trays) could last so long!

  3. Author Phillip Longley on February 1, 2019 at 10:10 pm

    I was told if you varnish cork key rings you make. The varnish makes to prints on the corks show more.

    1. Author Joanne A on February 4, 2019 at 9:06 am

      That sounds interesting, Phillip!

  4. Author Sarah on April 19, 2020 at 8:42 am

    I personally would be reluctant to use clear nail polish on a cut given that some of the chemicals used to make it are carcinogenic

    1. Author Joanne A on May 9, 2023 at 5:23 pm

      There are some medical-grade clear nail polishes available that are specifically designed for use in wound care. These products are typically formulated with non-toxic ingredients and are intended to create a barrier over the wound to protect it from infection and promote healing.

    2. Author Jen on June 13, 2023 at 11:04 pm

      I've used clear polish over papercuts/ shallow cuts since childhood as has everyone in my family and tons of friends, too. A family doctor advised me it was safe and similar enough to liquid bandage to be fine to use as long as it was only a very shallow papercut type of wound and never used for burns, serious wounds, warts, skin tags etc.

    3. Author Joanne A on June 19, 2023 at 10:03 am

      Clear nail polish is commonly used as a quick fix for minor or shallow paper cuts, as it can create a protective barrier over the wound. While it may provide temporary protection, it is not a substitute for proper wound care and should not be used on severe wounds, burns, warts, skin tags, or deep cuts. For more significant injuries or persistent skin issues, it's always advisable to consult a healthcare professional for appropriate treatment and advice.

  5. Author gill tammam on April 20, 2020 at 11:44 am

    I use coloured nail varnish to jazz up plain shoes, polka dots, bows, zigzags etc etc.

    1. Author Joanne A on April 20, 2020 at 4:31 pm

      That's a lovely idea!

  6. Author Apryl Morris on January 31, 2021 at 7:47 pm

    I used gel clear to fix a glass window in my laundry room, with a BB hole in it. I just kept brushing it on. That was 8 years ago. You'd never know it was there to this day. Apryl

    1. Author Joanne A on February 8, 2023 at 5:26 pm


  7. Author Poppy on May 6, 2021 at 5:26 pm

    Can I use it to waterproof homemade stickers?

    1. Author Joanne A on February 2, 2023 at 9:55 am

      Yes, you can use clear nail polish to waterproof homemade stickers. Simply paint a thin, even layer of clear nail polish over the sticker's surface and let it dry completely. This will create a protective barrier that will help to prevent the ink from running or smudging if it gets wet. However, keepmber that this method may not work for all types of ink or paper, so it's best to test it on a small sample before applying it to your entire batch of stickers.

  8. Author Audrey on October 31, 2021 at 1:20 pm

    My bathroom floor suffered from little nicks caused by falling hairdryer,straightening iron curling iron, to prevent further splitting of rug,I put nail polish. It works great, no more splitting.

    1. Author Joanne A on November 21, 2022 at 3:03 pm

      Fab idea!

  9. Author Susan E Jones on December 9, 2021 at 3:35 am

    I carve rock with my dremel. I put clear nail polish to make my carving shiny. Then I glue a magnet on the back. Waahlaah, "fridge magnet" Makes a nice gift.

    1. Author Joanne A on September 14, 2022 at 3:34 pm

      Sounds great!

  10. Author DAW on March 28, 2022 at 8:49 pm

    As nail varnish is flammable, I would NOT advise putting it on matches to keep them dry. I am an ex scout leader and we always used vaseline to keep them dry, just wipe the vaseline off and they will then strike.

    1. Author Joanne A on May 31, 2022 at 12:56 pm

      That's a great suggestion!

  11. Author Charles Bond on April 14, 2022 at 10:55 pm

    I use clear or any color nail polish for "locktight" on screw and bolt threads to prevent them coming loose. I also use clear or any color nail polish to do touch-up painting on car parts or other metal objects that have small or medium size scratches or were cut or altered with a hacksaw. It's sometimes less messy or more appropriate than touch-up paint options offered by auto-parts stores (APS). APS offer paint spray cans (too messy) and paint pens (only works for tiny scratches). The APS don't offer a small quantity of liquid paint with a brush. Finger nail polish is a small quantity of paint with a small brush, and is ideal for small and medium size scratches. You just have to find a color that matches the auto part, or use clear. In my case my auto parts are gloss black. So I use gloss black finger nail polish. Nail polish of any color (including clear or opaque white for men) is a great way to keep toe nails dry to prevent getting to tail fungas during or after showering. If your toe nails are already damaged, opaque white is a great way to visually hide the damage, make them look good, and it waterproofs and protects toe nails. Nail polish is a small container of high quality paint with a good quality brush. It's a great tool for men and women.

    1. Author Joanne A on September 27, 2022 at 2:47 pm

      Lovely ideas! Black is also an easy colour to match.

  12. Author susan bowden on June 18, 2022 at 10:07 pm

    if a watch back irritates, coating the back (and buckle, if needed) in clear nail varnish stops the itch and rash.

    1. Author Joanne A on July 20, 2022 at 5:35 pm

      Lovely idea, Susan!

  13. Author Karen on June 26, 2022 at 2:32 am

    Thanks for all the ideas!!!! I’m going to try it on a plastic hospital tube the split. Let you know if it works.

    1. Author Joanne A on July 7, 2022 at 3:47 pm

      You're welcome, Karen! What's the tube for? Be careful, as nail polish isn't ideal for a hospital environment.

  14. Author Charles Cartia on January 12, 2023 at 2:21 am

    Probably of no use in the 21st century but when I was a kid (back in the 1950's) my father showed me how to repair a cracked or punctured radio speaker. If the hole is too big for just polish, you can add a bit of paper. Gets rid of that blurry sound. Also several coats will insulate bare wires. Low voltage only!! such as speaker wires.

    1. Author Joanne A on January 12, 2023 at 3:16 pm

      Sounds great!

  15. Author Kara on March 11, 2023 at 11:11 am

    I tried to paint clear nail polish on top of stickers to make it last longer but how can i make it so it doesn't have any brush stroke?

    1. Author Joanne A on March 16, 2023 at 11:53 am

      To avoid brush strokes when applying clear nail polish over stickers, start with a clean surface, apply a thin layer of polish using a soft brush, and use a top coat to smooth the surface. Allow the polish to dry completely before touching or moving the nails.

  16. Author Chanda on March 18, 2023 at 11:42 pm

    I've used clear polish for cracks in my phone screen multiple times. I don't have money to replace a whole phone or even pay for just an actual screen repair/replacement, so I do what I gotta do to get by🤷🏼‍♀️ & clear nail polish has saved my thumbs & fingers from getting glass splinters from my cracked phone screen too many times to count. I just paint a coat or 2 over the cracks/s, let it dry thoroughly of course. Works like an absolute charm👌🏼👌🏼

    1. Author Joanne A on April 5, 2023 at 3:28 pm

      Clear nail polish on a cracked phone screen may provide a temporary solution, but it is not a permanent fix and may cause further damage. If unable to afford the professional repair, consider purchasing a phone screen repair kit or replacing the screen yourself using online tutorials.

  17. Author Lee Opalski on April 14, 2023 at 9:12 pm

    With the problem of check washing now would adding clear coat over amount hinder the thieves or cause a problem with the cashing of check?

    1. Author Joanne A on April 17, 2023 at 12:09 pm

      Adding a clear coat of nail polish over a check can make it harder for thieves to alter the information. However, it's best to check with your bank first, as they may have policies on accepting altered checks.

  18. Author Sue J on April 8, 2024 at 12:25 pm

    Over the years I've hoarded a great many thousands of items in my home, including several hundred bottles of nail polish, I am now decluttering everything, and as I don't regularly wear nail polish anymore, was about to donate all my bottles to a lady just starting a nail salon business, then I saw this article, which has reminded me of the many uses of these tiny little bottles of magic. Reading and remembering all these uses (until very recently), would have made me hang onto all my nail polish, but thankfully, I'm in the right frame of mind to see the value in the space that giving things away provides, and this is more satisfying than keeping everything, so I'll keep a few bottles (purely for their DIY uses) and let the remainder go. Clearly, the majority of the tips apply to AIR-DRY nail polish, NOT the ones that need to sit under a UV lamp. My son discovered his error when trying to paint the back of a watch case to prevent it irritating his wrist, it took over a week to dry because I'd lent my UV lamp to a friend. Similar to Susan's mother (above), marking her baking trays, I mark all my plastic food storage boxes and corresponding lids (obviously on the outside) with colours, letters, shapes, etc, thus making matching them up a whole lot easier. When my kids were young, we'd collect interesting pebbles on beaches, and they'd paint them when we got home. I would put a layer of clear nail polish over the top to protect their artistry. You can get a special liquid sealer to seal completed jigsaws if you want to mount them, as well as 5D diamond painting pictures, but if I run out of this, I use clear nail polish instead. I've always got a bottle of nail polish (not necessarily clear) in my handbag, just in case I catch my tights on something, then I can stop the ladder running further. A tip for when applying the nail polish whilst wearing the tights, paint both ends of the ladder, then hold the fabric away from the skin for a minute or two to allow it to dry, otherwise you'll be (painfully) peeling it off your skin later when you're getting undressed and you've forgotten all about 'glueing' your tights to your leg!

    1. Author Joanne A on April 15, 2024 at 9:56 am

      Great insights! Thanks for sharing.


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