16 Practical Uses For Nail Polish Remover (Discover Why Acetone Is AMAZING!)

16 Practical Uses For Nail Polish Remover (Discover Why Acetone Is AMAZING!)

Nail polish remover is not just for nails. Oh no, this multi-tasking product can do a multitude of tasks around the home.

Nail polish removers come in two forms: acetone and non-acetone. Acetone is the best solvent for breaking down the hard coating of nail polish. There are many acetone uses which is what makes nail polish remover so useful for much more than beauty alone.

Grab your acetone-based nail polish remover and see what you can do.

Editor's Note: This post was originally posted in August 2015 and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness in May 2018.

1. Keep your patent shoes shiny

shoes brogues russell and bromle
Keep them nice and shiny!

You may be afraid to use acetone on your shoes, but there's no need!

Wipe down patent shoes with a kitchen towel dipped in nail polish remover, gently buff to remove any scuff marks and wipe any residue away with a clean cloth. They'll be so shiny you'll be able to see your reflection!

Don't forget to check out our other clothing hacks too!

2. Clean your china teacups

The acetone in nail polish remover is excellent at removing any tea stains. Just scrub at those spots with nail polish remover on some cotton wool or a cloth then wash as normal. They’ll be good as new.

3. Remover permanent marker marks

There are many effective ways to use acetone for stain removal.

To remove permanent marker stains, saturate a cotton wool ball or pad with nail polish remover then rub the marks gently in circular motions until the ink spots have been completely dissolved. Wipe away any residue with a cloth.

4. Uses for acetone in the bathroom

Want to know some great uses for nail polish remover you can try out in the bathroom?

Dip your expensive razor blades into nail polish remover to help sanitise them, which in turn will help them last longer. Wipe with a tissue or cloth before keeping them in a dry cupboard or area.

5. Clean paint from windows

clean windows
So clean!

Another one of our handy acetone uses is removing paint - perfect for you DIYers!

If you've been painting your windows and some paint has flicked onto the glass, simply dab some nail polish remover onto it with a cloth and let it sit for a few minutes. Then rub away with a damp cloth.

6. Use nail polish remover to dissolve superglue

If you’ve got superglue on your hands or the cap has been clogged up with dried glue, just rub some nail polish remover around the affected area and the acetone will break it down. Phew.

7. Smooth minor scratches on your watch

Don't let a few scratches ruin your favourite watch. Drop a tiny amount of nail polish onto a cloth - you may need to use a pipette to do this - then gently buff the surface of your plastic watch face.  You should start to see the small scratches disappear.

8. Sanitise your beauty tools with acetone nail polish remover

makeup brushes
Keep the germ free.

Keep your tweezers, nails clippers and other metal beauty tools clean and germ-free by giving them a quick dab with a cotton swab dunked in nail polish remover. Clean with soapy water then dry with a hand towel.

9. Get rid of ink stains

Another stain-removal use for acetone is ink. If you need to get ink stains out of your child’s school uniform or your own shirts, just dilute some nail polish remover (1 part remover to 2 parts water) and dab at the stain with a tissue or soft cloth to clean it right off.

10. Remove stubborn stickers from glass and metal

Finally - an easy answer to remove the gunk left behind from stickers and labels. Make this task effortless by rubbing the area with nail polish remover until the stick surface is no more!

11. Nail varnish can help you remove a leech painlessly

There are some really unusual acetone uses, and here's one of the weirdest.

Yuck! If you’re unlucky enough to experience a blood sucking leech on your skin, make sure you grab the nail polish remover quick. Simply pour directly onto the leech and it will soon peel off your skin.

12. Deep clean your keyboard

mac keyboard

Keyboards are a hotbed for germs and dirt. Dip an old toothbrush or cotton swab into your acetone nail polish remover then gently rub over your keys to remove any stains. You can also clean in-between keys and on your mouse, too.

13. Acetone uses for cleaning

If you have tiled or laminate flooring, you can remove scuffs and stubborn dirt marks by applying some diluted nail polish remover (1 part to three parts water) to the area then mopping as usual.

14. Revive your correction fluid

If you or your child uses Tipp-Ex or something similar, add a drop of nail polish remover into the bottle every now and to prevent it from clogging up. You can also use this little trick on a clogged bottle. Just keep adding a drop at a time and shaking to break it up.

15. Uses for nail polish remover in your beauty routine

The same way you revive correction fluid, you can revive those gunky nail polishes by adding a few drops of your acetone nail polish into the bottle and leaving it to sit for a few house before giving them a vigorous shake. Be sure not to put too much acetone in as this might ruin the consistency.

16. Clean your bathtub

bathroom mat cream
Scrub-a-dub dub!

Got a dirty bath ring or soap and scum stains? Dilute nail polish remover with a little bit of water and clean the tub with a sponge or cloth. The acetone wil mean the dirt wipes off effortlessly - easy peasy!

Do you have any practical uses for acetone? We'd love to hear them!. Please feel free to leave a comment below!

Anushka F


A keen money-saver and fan of all things natural, Anushka enjoys making her own beauty products and is partial to a bit of crafting. Never short of a clever tip or two, she's always looking for new ways to make her money go even further.

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  1. Author Susan on August 21, 2015 at 10:41 pm

    using nail polish remover to get rid of sticky marks leaves a white residue. The best thing to remove sticky labels is actually lighter fluid.

    1. Author Anushka F on September 2, 2015 at 11:34 am

      Thanks for the tip Susan. I have never tried light fluid but I will try it next time.

    2. Author Tom Hark on November 30, 2016 at 11:16 am

      Nail polish remover will often damage the underlying surface, so test in an inconspicuous area first. There are proprietary products that will do the job better, such as citrus-flavoured sticky stuff remover,

    3. Author Avril on January 16, 2019 at 5:20 am

      Nail polish remover can damage the surface of some types of bath as it did mine so be very careful the remover said it was acetone free a Sally Hansen product.

  2. Author Glen Brockwell on January 4, 2016 at 2:05 pm

    Please tell me you are joking about the leeches. Can you instead use an excess of salt?

  3. Author Lazue on June 14, 2016 at 11:07 pm

    A word of caution, if you want your nail polishes to last, never add nail polish remover or acetone in them. it will break the nail polish chemicals. Use nail polish thinner, unless you're planning to throw them away. I also do not recommend using nail polish removers and acetone on plastic. They dissolve paint and will damage surfaces. Also, it will not remove scratches. If you put nail polish and buff a plastic surface, you'll just add more scratches. It does work great on real glass, and nails.

    1. Author Anushka F on August 25, 2016 at 10:07 am

      That's good to know Lazue, thanks for sharing your knowledge!

  4. Author Jasmine on July 14, 2016 at 8:38 am

    Thanks for the tips. I'll try that one on my dried nail polishes. :)

    1. Author Anushka F on July 26, 2016 at 11:17 am


  5. Author Liza on September 14, 2016 at 3:19 am

    Not remover but clear nail polish can be put over ladders in tights to stop them going any further

    1. Author Anushka F on March 8, 2017 at 10:57 am

      An oldie but a goodie! Thanks for sharing.

  6. Author Richard on November 28, 2016 at 4:36 pm

    can remove dried on gloss paint from hard floors

    1. Author Anushka F on March 9, 2017 at 10:16 am

      Oh really? Great tip, will try it. I recently painted and used white spirit - it left my floor with a white tinge and my head with a banging headache!

  7. Author Rashda on November 28, 2016 at 6:35 pm

    Remove chewing gum if it's get stuck on your hair or clothing.

    1. Author Anushka F on March 9, 2017 at 10:16 am

      Thanks for the tip!

  8. Author Caroline Mcguire on November 28, 2016 at 11:23 pm

    Nail polish remover get rid of cewing gum on clothes

    1. Author Anushka F on March 9, 2017 at 10:15 am

      Thanks for the tip!

  9. Author Tom Hark on November 30, 2016 at 11:21 am

    Nail polish remover will remove that really tough ink that you find on plastic packaging, such as margarine tubs. You have to give it some elbow-grease, but it will remove the ink eventually. Why do this? I hear you ask... Some packaging is made so well that it can be re-used as stylish storage. Even more stylish if it's not emblazoned with the manufacturer's bumf.

    1. Author Anushka F on March 8, 2017 at 11:00 am

      Interesting tip there Tom... I've never thought about that before! Thanks :)

  10. Author Jane on December 1, 2016 at 1:14 am

    I like the use to clean China cups of tea stains. I use toothpaste though,just put some on leave a while then give a good rub and marks come right off

    1. Author Anushka F on March 8, 2017 at 10:58 am

      I have tried the toothpaste trick before too, works well :)

    2. Author zapper17 on May 22, 2020 at 6:34 am

      Does toothpaste only work, for China, on /fresh/ stains?

    3. Author Joanne A on February 27, 2023 at 11:36 am

      It's effective for removing more than just fresh stains on china!

  11. Author Donna on January 14, 2017 at 7:09 pm

    Are you INSANE??? Use nail polish on a keyboard and you'll not only have a mess but no markings on the keys either!!!!

    1. Author Mike on August 5, 2018 at 1:48 am

      Hahaha! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! A thousand Thank you's to you Donna! The worst possible tip I may have ever heard PERIOD.

  12. Author Marie on March 7, 2017 at 2:27 pm

    Well done on a great article so much to take in and a load of great advice and ideas on what you can use your nail polish removal fluid on. Now just wondering does the quality of the remover have any bearing on how effective it is? Anyway, once again great write up thanks.

    1. Author Anushka F on March 9, 2017 at 11:01 am

      Hi Marie, thanks for the lovely comments. I'm not too sure whether the quality would change the effectiveness. In my mind I would buy a better quality nail polish for use on my hands as I have sensitive skin, but on cleaning and household uses I would buy a cheaper product as I'd be using it more? I hope that makes sense.

  13. Author Mumble on May 2, 2017 at 2:38 pm

    Acetone is good for removing "Silly Putty" and similar substances from fabrics and carpet. Pour it on and use a scraper to scrape off the substance. Be careful not to rub or you'll spread the stain. It's also good for getting acrylic paint out of fabrics (not tried it on carpet yet).

    1. Author Stephanie C on May 3, 2017 at 9:35 am

      Hi Claire. Thanks a lot for your insightful tips. The Acyclic paint remover is particularly useful! :)

    2. Author Anita on June 18, 2020 at 2:35 pm

      Acrylic paint is supposed to be water based so you should be able to remove stains with water and some soap. I would be very careful using acetone on your clothes as it will damage some fabrics.

  14. Author manuel harripaul on March 31, 2018 at 1:26 am

    thanks for your wonderful advice but i am now going to try it ,then i will be able to give comment on how effective it is.

  15. Author Michelle Hudson on May 17, 2018 at 9:51 am

    Cleaning white trainer soles! Cotton balls and npr and the dirt & stains wipe away.

    1. Author Stephanie C on May 17, 2018 at 12:58 pm

      Thanks for sharing your tip Michelle - it's a really good one! :)

  16. Author Malak on January 4, 2019 at 6:24 am

    Thnx for the article great write up! I found everything I need here. If only there were like buttons on websites I would have given this one 10 million, (if that is allowed?). Loved the article thnx again!🥰😜😍

    1. Author Joanne A on January 4, 2019 at 9:08 am

      That's very kind, Malak! We're glad you got all of the information you need.

  17. Author Kathleen Casey on September 13, 2019 at 12:44 pm

    Hard water stains in a toilet bowl. This gets me crazed. Will it work do you suppose?

    1. Author Joanne A on September 16, 2019 at 11:37 am

      Hi Kathleen! The very best thing for hard water stains in a toilet is the black bottle of Harpic toilet cleaner. It's fairly inexpensive and much more powerful than bleach.

  18. Author Ann Giles on April 18, 2020 at 9:46 am

    I cleaned my cupboards with nail varnish remover, the gunk unseen by the eye on them was unreal

    1. Author Joanne A on April 20, 2020 at 4:36 pm

      Thanks for sharing, Ann!

  19. Author mark on May 4, 2020 at 5:15 am

    Restore headlight lenses too.

    1. Author Joanne A on May 4, 2020 at 12:31 pm

      Thanks for sharing!

  20. Author Claire on June 18, 2020 at 12:37 pm

    Great for removing grease stains from granite worktops. Saturate a piece of kitchen towel with strong acetone, and place over the stain. Seal by taping a plastic bag over the top (otherwise it will evaporate in seconds) and leave overnight. In the morning the stain will be gone. Word of warning... acetone is highly flammable!

    1. Author Joanne A on June 22, 2020 at 2:37 pm

      Thanks for sharing!

  21. Author nightynite on July 22, 2020 at 1:51 pm

    i wanted to use a nail harder because my nail are always breaking off looked horrid. i tried super glue that did not work! tried a a nail harder but it left a shine, Not good for a man to have shiny girls nails. Then i found if i used the nail harder (Sally Hansen hard as nails) and after it dried i wiped it with nail varnish remover gently it removed just the shine. so i keep applying coats of harder and then remove shine so now i have nice nails that will not break off . Sssssssssssssssssh

    1. Author Joanne A on April 14, 2023 at 12:10 pm

      Using a nail hardener such as Sally Hansen Hard as Nails and removing the shine with nail varnish remover is an excellent technique to achieve stronger nails without the shine. Still, excessive use of nail hardeners can damage your nails, so use them in moderation and take care of your overall nail health.

  22. Author Flexxx on August 19, 2021 at 6:02 am

    You guys forgot to mention that nail polish remover remove hair dye if you just dyed your hair and you got it like around your ears on your neck for example or had a hole in your glove and didn't know in the whole time and then you take your hand out of the glove in your whole hand is purple or whatever color just another hack thank you

    1. Author Joanne A on January 30, 2023 at 10:32 am

      Yes, nail polish remover can remove hair dye from the skin, but it is also harsh and may dry out the skin. It's best to use a gentle, oil-based product such as coconut oil or baby oil to remove the dye.

  23. Author Linda Shorthouse on September 21, 2022 at 10:14 am

    In the same way as the watch face. I had a scratch across my glasses. After a rub with acetone on a cloth, the scratch disappeared, saving me having to buy a new pair of glasses

    1. Author Joanne A on October 28, 2022 at 11:21 am

      You have to be careful that it's compatible with your glasses, as they often have a protective coating.


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