Wednesday, February 18, 2015

It's No Use Crying Over Spilled Nail Polish

I came home from work the other day and the tornado that is Jackson stopped his whirlwind of riding his motorcycle and running around with his hot wheels just long enough to ask what was spilled on the coffee table. I told him I didn't know and continued to made dinner thinking:

1. Why didn't Cory clean it up?!
2. It was probably just juice, milk or some other sticky mystery toddler mess that I could deal with later.

Then Cory started asking what it was and that really sparked my interest.

So I went in the living room to check it out and at first I was confused too. Definitely a mystery toddler mess. Upon further inspection and the clear, strong smell, I realized it was.....dried nail polish. 


Seriously? Now how were we going to get that off? I scraped a thin line off with my nail to see how "stuck" the polish really was. It came off easily but I was so disgusted (with myself basically, since it was my nail polish) that I didn't even try to clean it for a couple weeks.
That was probably not the best idea I've ever had because when I finally went to tackle the purple iridescent monster it was rock hard and wasn't scraping off at all. If only it was like that on my nails...

So a couple weeks after the horrible discovery I caught the cleaning bug (it doesn't happen often, so when it does I go with it!) I started cleaning the living room. Since Jackson had opened up Pandora's drawer of nail polish (that had been closed for years) I cleaned that out so my two year old wouldn't try to paint his nails, or our table, ever again.
Now that's a lot of nail polish I forgot I had!
Since Jackson was napping I decided it was a good time to try to get that ugly stain off. I used my trusted friend Google for advice on this one. I looked at a couple sites and settled on Real Simple's technique. It seemed the least evasive: use a plastic putty knife and a warm wet washcloth to loosen the paint. I thought: Yes! It will just slide right off!!

I sat down with my supplies and got to work. It was slow going to say the least. Only 1 tiny millimeter sized chip came off at a time. Ok, maybe not that small, but still I would have been there til next Christmas if I continued with this technique. 

Cory didn't like me using the putty knife because he thought it would scratch the table so I resorted to my nails. It looked like it was coming off but leaving residue and small marks. (See above picture of atrocious dried nail polish) After what seemed like forever I had a good sized chunk done. 

It looked bad. Not only had I broken a nail but had possibly ruined the coffee table. I guess it didn't really matter since the table is about 17 years old and has scratches and a burn mark (that I cover with coasters) but still we did not want to refinish the table. It would be another project among 1,000 other projects.

Then, of course, Jackson woke up.

Right before I went upstairs to get him I noticed Cory walk in the room with a giant can of acetone. Pretty much every single site I visited said in big bold letters, or in a disclaimer: DO NOT USE ACETONE NAIL POLISH REMOVER.
Honestly I didn't mind that Cory was going to try acetone. Nail polish remover or it's cousin, acetone, were my initial first thought in removing the stain from existence. Also this was originally Cory's coffee table so he could do whatever he wanted to it. I think a small part of me was relieved that I wasn't going to be the only one to ruin the coffee table. Jackson and I watched as Cory used a piece of paper towel soaked in acetone and made light circular motions on the stain. At first it was sticky and we tried to scrape it, but it just globbed up.

So Cory just kept at it, and it looked like the stain was getting lighter. After a minute it looked like it was almost gone! I couldn't believe it but...IT WORKED!!! The clear coat didn't come off AT ALL! It looked like the stain had never been there, all except for the part I scraped off with my fingernail, of course.
  You can barely see where the stain once was!
Maybe it worked because the acetone was old or because it was in the garage. Maybe it worked because the table is such high quality that the clear coat is as hard as diamonds (I REALLY doubt it). Whatever the reason, we'll never know.
I know you really want to see that burn mark under the cleverly placed coasters but I just couldn't bring myself to move them.

My thoughts on this post are this: Sometimes you just need to go with your gut. Especially after you've tried an experts advice and it didn't work out.
Then THIS happened a few days after the nail polish disaster. Jackson was supposed to be coloring a picture while I made dinner...Thank goodness they were washable markers! I swear this kid has never even seen me paint my nails! I haven't had a manicure in at least a year (so sad, I know). Where do little one's learn this stuff?!

Disclaimer: I am by no means a cleaning expert, anyone who's been to my house can attest to that, so if you are going to try using acetone on wood I would recommend doing a small test patch and being mentally prepared to have to refinish your wood product or having friends over for a bonfire.


  1. Wow!! I saw that nail polish!! I can't believe it came off so well!!! Great job!!! Little Monsterboy strikes again!! HaHa

  2. He sure can be a monster boy!! I keep learning new ways to clean things since he's been born though...


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