How to Get Nail Polish Off Quartz Countertops

Removing nail polish from quartz countertops can seem daunting, but with the right techniques and products, it can be done effectively. Quartz is an engineered stone made from crushed quartz bound together with resin, making it very durable and stain-resistant. However, highly-pigmented nail polishes may slightly stain if left on the surface for too long. With some care and elbow grease, you can safely remove errant nail polish without damaging your beautiful quartz countertops.

Why Quartz Countertops Stain from Nail Polish

The resin coating on quartz makes it resistant to most stains. However, nail polish contains strong pigments designed to add color to nails that can also permeate the resin surface of quartz.

Certain types of polish are more problematic than others:

  • Darker shades like bold reds, blues, and purples contain more pigment and are more likely to stain.
  • Glitter polishes have color pigments as well as tiny flecks of plastic that can get lodged in the pores of the quartz.
  • Gel polish is more stubborn to remove because it is cured under UV light.

The good news is that nail polish stains are only surface-level and don’t permeate deep into the stone. With some cleaning elbow grease, you can lift color from nail polish off quartz.

How to Remove Regular Nail Polish from Quartz

If you catch a nail polish spill soon after it happens, removing it is fairly straightforward:

Step 1: Blot the Stain

  • Use a paper towel or cloth to soak up any wet polish sitting on the surface.
  • Take care not to spread the stain further.
  • Blot gently and do not rub aggressively.

Step 2: Use Nail Polish Remover

  • Apply a small amount of acetone-based nail polish remover directly on the stain.
  • Check that the remover is acetone-based, not acetate-based, for maximum effectiveness.
  • Let it sit for 1-2 minutes so it can break down the polish.

Step 3: Scrub the Area

  • Scrub the stained area in a circular motion using a soft cloth or a melamine foam cleaner like Magic Eraser. Apply moderate pressure.
  • The nail polish remover will loosen the pigment so you can scrub it away.
  • Reapply remover and scrub again if needed.

Step 4: Rinse Thoroughly

  • Once the stain is gone, rinse the area well with warm water to remove all residue.
  • Make sure no nail polish remover is left on the countertop.
  • Dry with a soft cloth.

How to Remove Dried Nail Polish from Quartz

If the spilled nail polish has dried on the quartz, removing it takes a bit more effort:

Step 1: Soak the Stain

  • Soak a paper towel or cloth with acetone nail polish remover.
  • Place it directly on top of the stain.
  • Let it sit for 5-10 minutes so the acetone can dissolve the dried polish.

Step 2: Scrape Away Polish

  • Use a plastic paint scraper, credit card, or razor blade to gently scrape away the softened polish.
  • Apply moderate pressure and scrape at an angle parallel to the countertop.
  • Reapply remover-soaked towel and continue scraping until polish is gone.

Step 3: Scrub the Area

  • Dip a melamine foam cleaner in remover and scrub stained area.
  • You can also use baking soda or Bar Keepers Friend to help lift stain.
  • Scrub in a circular motion applying moderate pressure.

Step 4: Rinse and Dry

  • Rinse the area thoroughly with warm water and dry with a soft cloth.
  • Check if any stain remains. Repeat process if needed.

How to Remove Gel Nail Polish from Quartz

Removing stubborn gel polish requires dissolving the cured polish before scrubbing:

Step 1: Soak Cotton Pads in Acetone

  • Soak cotton balls or pads in 100% acetone nail polish remover.
  • Place pads directly on gel polish and press down firmly.
  • Allow to sit for 10-15 minutes so acetone can break down cured gel.

Step 2: Gently Scrape

  • After time has passed, check if gel is softened by gently scraping with plastic scraper.
  • Reapply acetone-soaked pads and continue letting sit if needed.
  • Once soft, use scraper to gently lift softened gel off quartz.

Step 3: Scrub and Rinse

  • Use a melamine foam cleaner dipped in remover to scrub any remaining traces of gel polish.
  • Rinse area thoroughly with warm water and dry.
  • Repeat process if any gel residue remains. The key is patience!

How to Remove Glitter Nail Polish from Quartz

Glitter polish contains flecks of plastic that can get lodged in the pores of quartz. Use these steps to tackle glitter stain removal:

Step 1: Soak with Acetone-Soaked Cotton Pads

  • Soak cotton balls or pads in pure acetone nail polish remover.
  • Place pads on top of glitter stain and press down firmly.
  • Let acetone sit for 10-15 minutes to allow it to dissolve polish and glue.

Step 2: Use a Plastic Scraper

  • Use a plastic scraper to gently lift softened glitter polish off the quartz.
  • Take care not to drag glitter across the countertop and spread it further.
  • Reapply acetone pads as needed to fully dissolve polish.

Step 3: Remove Lodged Glitter Specks

  • For any remaining glitter specks stuck in quartz, use the sticky side of a piece of tape to pick them up.
  • Press tape firmly onto areas with lodged glitter and then lift up to remove.

Step 4: Scrub and Rinse

  • Once glitter is removed, use a melamine foam cleaner dipped in remover to scrub away any last traces.
  • Rinse thoroughly with warm water and dry the area.

Home Remedies to Remove Nail Polish from Quartz

If you don’t have commercial cleaning products on hand, you can use homemade solutions:

Baking Soda and Vinegar

Make a paste with baking soda and vinegar and apply to the stain. Allow to sit briefly before scrubbing with a soft cloth or sponge. The acidity in vinegar helps dissolve polish while baking soda scrubs.

Hydrogen Peroxide and Baking Soda

Mix hydrogen peroxide and baking soda into a spreadable paste. Apply to the stain for 2-3 minutes before scrubbing clean. The peroxide will help lift the polish stain.


Apply toothpaste to a soft cloth and rub onto the nail polish stain in a circular motion. The abrasiveness in toothpaste can help lift some color. Rinse thoroughly after scrubbing.

Lemon Juice

Soak a cotton ball in lemon juice and place onto the stain. Let sit for a few minutes to allow the acidity in the lemon to break down the polish. Wipe clean and scrub residue.

Tips for Preventing Nail Polish Stains on Quartz

The easiest way to deal with nail polish stains is to avoid them completely. Here are some tips to keep your quartz pristine:

  • Apply nail polish carefully without letting it drip onto the countertop. Use paper under your hands to catch drips.
  • Opt for lighter nail polish shades like pastels that have less staining pigment. Avoid dark reds, blues, purples.
  • Do nail polish application and removal over a sink or trash can, not directly over quartz.
  • Clean up spills immediately before polish has a chance to dry. Keep remover handy.
  • Use a nail polish remover with acetone, which dissolves polish better than weaker acetate removers.
  • Place a towel or paper under your hands when removing polish to catch drips.
  • Seal your quartz countertops every 6-12 months using a stone sealer. This adds a protective layer.

Can Nail Polish Permanently Stain Quartz?

In most cases, nail polish stains can be removed from quartz countertops with the proper cleaning techniques. However, if a spill is left for very prolonged periods, permanent discoloration may occur.

Factors that increase risk of permanent staining:

  • Darker colored and glitter polishes have more stubborn pigments.
  • Spills allowed to sit for over 24 hours allow stains to set.
  • Poor quality or worn quartz is more porous allowing deeper stain penetration.
  • Not using the right stain removal products and tools.
  • Excessive rubbing and abrasion during stain removal damages the surface.

With prompt stain removal using acetone nail polish remover and gentle scrubbing, you can typically get quartz looking like new again. But it is best to take precautions and avoid errant spills in the first place.

When to Call a Professional for Nail Polish Stain Removal

If you have attempted to remove a stubborn nail polish stain from your quartz countertops without success, it may be time to call in a professional:

  • If stains remain after multiple cleaning attempts, a pro may have better luck removing them.
  • For widespread stains or damage, a pro can refinish the whole countertop.
  • They have commercial grade cleaners and tools like power buffers for stain removal.
  • Professionals can assess if stains have penetrated below the surface and advise on replacement if needed.
  • Hiring a pro avoids risking further damage to your countertops during DIY efforts.

Look for technicians specifically experienced with quartz fabrication and repair. Be prepared to pay $200 or more depending on the size of the affected area.

How to Prevent Future Nail Polish Stains

Diligence and care when doing your nails can prevent stains on quartz countertops:

  • Place down paper towels or newspapers when polishing nails to protect the surface.
  • Opt for a clear glass or acrylic nail polish holder to make spillage less likely.
  • Use the trash or sink, not the counter, for remover-soaked cotton balls.
  • Clean up spills immediately with remover-soaked paper towels.
  • Avoid doing nails near light quartz colors which can stain easier.
  • Apply a penetrating sealant to quartz every 6-12 months for added protection.
  • Keep quartz looking new by prompt cleaning and avoiding abrasive scrubbers.

With some care taken during manicures, you can ensure your beautiful quartz countertops remain in pristine condition for years to come.

Frequently Asked Questions About Removing Nail Polish from Quartz Countertops

Can I use household cleaners to remove nail polish from quartz?

No, most household cleaners do not have the solvent strength needed to break down nail polish. You need a remover formulated specifically for taking off polish, containing 100% pure acetone.

What happens if nail polish is left to dry on quartz?

Allowing spilled nail polish to dry on quartz makes it harder to remove. The pigments in the polish have time to set and potentially stain the countertop. Use acetone remover to dissolve dried polish.

How can I get out deep nail polish stains from quartz pores?

For pigment that penetrates into tiny pores, scrub with baking soda or melamine foam cleaner dipped in acetone remover. The abrasion helps lift deeply set stains.

Is it okay to use a magic eraser on quartz countertops?

Yes, Magic Eraser cleaning pads made from melamine foam are safe for scrubbing quartz. But be gentle and use minimal pressure to avoid dulling the surface over time.

What natural remedies can I use to remove nail polish from quartz?

Home remedies like baking soda, vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, lemon juice and toothpaste can help lift some nail polish stains through scrubbing and chemical reaction. But acetone works best.

How can I prevent nail polish from staining my quartz countertops in the future?

  • Use paper or towels under hands when polishing to catch drips.
  • Opt for lighter polish colors.
  • Clean spills immediately with acetone remover.
  • Avoid doing nails directly over quartz surface.
  • Reseal quartz every 6-12 months.

Will nail polish permanently stain my quartz countertop?

Permanent stains are unlikely but can occur if spill is left for prolonged time allowing deep penetration. Using immediate proper stain removal prevents permanent damage in most cases.

Key Takeaways

  • Acetone-based nail polish remover is crucial for dissolving and lifting polish from quartz countertops.
  • For dried spills, soak the stain in remover before gently scraping up polish.
  • Use melamine foam or baking soda with remover to scrub off residual stains.
  • Prevent stains by doing nails carefully over sinks and cleaning spills promptly.
  • With some elbow grease and the right products, you can safely remove nail polish from quartz without damage.


Nail polish spills on quartz countertops can be vexing, but thankfully the stains can be removed with the proper techniques. The key is using 100% acetone nail polish remover to dissolve the polish, along with gentle scrubbing. Preventing stains in the first place is easiest, through careful nail care over the sink and quick spill cleanup. With some diligence, you can keep your beautiful quartz countertops looking pristine.