How to Clean Kids’ Nail Polish off Painted Walls

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How to Clean Kids’ Nail Polish off Painted Walls

Our household has been busy fighting a lot of illnesses this winter. Unfortunately, the frequent quarantines have left way too much time for “creative play.” My older two munchkins have been cooped up at home the last 2 weeks and are finally feeling better. Yay! With the vast amount of energy they seemed to possess post-illness, I’ve come upon lots of ornery and adventurous undertakings including this week’s discovery of kids’ nail polish wall paintings.

Really, the detail was quite impressive with smiley figures donning arms and legs. It seemed like something I would have hung on the refrigerator with pride had it not been plastered all over my son’s bedroom walls. After permanently disposing of the remainder of the painting material and doling out the culprits’ natural consequences, I went about doing a little Google research on how to remove it quickly with something I already had in my cupboards.

Attempt #1  Soap and Water

My first attempt was just plain old water. Nothing budged. So I added Dawn dish detergent to give it a little “kick.” It worked on the fresh, wet spots. Unfortunately, most of the paint had dried and the soapy water would not penetrate it. Paintings 1, Mommy 0.

Attempt #2  Hairspray

Next, I read about using  hairspray. I happened to have an opened can of hairspray my husband had purchased for his potato launcher.  A couple of websites said spray the area with hairspray and wipe to easily remove the nail polish. Ummm…not so much! I think they forgot the whole sealing the paint to the wall part in the disclaimer. It didn’t help at all. In fact, the “hairspray sample area” proved almost impossible to remove in the end. I’m not sure why this happened since hairspray is mostly alcohol???

Attempt #3 Isopropyl Alcohol

Ultimately, I decided to get out the Big Guns and pulled my bottle of 70%  Isopropyl Alcohol out of the locked cabinet. Eureka!!! It softened the nail polish… and left a swirl of softened, wet color on the wall that dried very quickly. Oops!

After another thin application of the alcohol, I learned that the area needed be immediately wiped with the soapy water cloth before the paint dried. *note: It did remove a small amount of the wall paint which was not noticeable once the wall dried.

In the end, this may not be the most efficient way to remove kids’ nail polish, but it certainly saved an expensive paint job. I hope my “technique” helps a few moms with budding artists! I’d love to hear your family’s “artistic adventures” and suggestions for disaster clean-up. Please comment below to share some laughs and practical wisdom.