How to Get Nail Polish Out of Phones Without Nail Polish Remover

Many people accidentally spill nail polish on a phone or use it to paint decorative designs on phone surfaces. Although nail polish remover quickly removes nail polish from surfaces, chemical ingredients in commercial nail polish removers can dissolve paint and eat through certain plastics. As a result, to remove nail polish from your phone’s housing or screen, you must use gentler tools and cleaning methods to return your phone to its pre-nail-polish state.

Bottle of nail polish on a wooden table
An open bottle of red nail polish
credit: 5second/iStock/Getty Images

Step

Blot and wipe the nail polish from your phone as soon as a spill occurs with lint-free microfiber cloths or cotton swabs. Wipe from the stain edge to the stain center to prevent smearing the polish to other areas of the phone. If you’re not dealing with wet polish, skip this step.

Step

Wear away a hardened nail polish stain gently from the surface. If you’re dealing with the phone’s housing, rub the stain with a lightly damp, almost dry to the touch melamine resin foam eraser until the stain is gone from the surface. If you’re dealing with glass or another non-painted hard surface, scrape the stain away carefully with your fingernail or a razor blade.

Step

Remove any remaining polish and residues with 70 percent solution rubbing alcohol. Dip a cotton swab in the rubbing alcohol when you’re finished removing the bulk of the stain. Squeeze excess rubbing alcohol from the tip and then wipe the stained area.

Step

Dip another swab in water, squeeze out the excess liquid from the tip and wipe the area again. Dry your phone with a lint-free microfiber cloth.