Does anyone else live in constant fear that their at-home manicure will end in disaster? Maybe that’s just me.

It could happen so easily: you’re sitting there, awkwardly applying polish to your right hand (isn’t it funny how your left hand doesn’t even feel like it belongs to you when you’re putting on nail polish?), and that clumsy hand swipes the bottle right over. Now you have that trendy new color all over your bathroom floor (kitchen table/vanity countertop). What next?

Well, the other day I saw a tip on Facebook claiming that nail polish could be cleaned up easily with sugar. That seemed too good to be true, so of course I had to try it. With a camera handy. And you know what? For hard surfaces like counters or floors, it really does work.

how to clean up nail polish spills

Here are the simple steps to clean spilled nail polish. (This is specifically for a hard surface like a table or linoleum floor.) Check below for photos of each step so you can see that it truly does work!

1. Don’t wipe the wet polish! Before it dries, pour sugar on it.

2. And more sugar. Pour a lot of sugar on it. Cover it completely.

3. Once the sugar clumps up the polish (within a minute…this doesn’t take long), gently scrape away the clumps with a piece of cardboard or paper. Seriously, it really does clump up and can be swept away.

4. Any stains remaining on the surface can be cleaned up with a little rubbing alcohol. You could also use nail polish remover or magic erasers, but make sure to test cleaners on your surface in a hidden spot to make sure it is not damaged by any of these.

steps for cleaning up spilled nail polish

Of course nail polish doesn’t always conveniently splatter onto hard surfaces. Sometimes it maliciously attacks shower curtains, couches, rugs, and blouses. Here’s more advice about cleaning nail polish stains from different surfaces. And another about cleaning it from clothing and furniture.

Has your clumsy left hand ever spilled nail polish? How did you clean it up? (OR, have you ever been skeptical about a tip you saw online and had to try it for yourself? Did you find that it worked, or not?)