Honey? I broke a bottle of nail polish…

Red nail polish.

One day AFTER we bought this house.

My favourite nail polish, a gorgeous bright red shade, OPI‘s Big Apple Red.

The story

The husband called out to me urgently last night after disappearing to have a shower. When I got there, I nearly fainted. I thought he’d cut himself shaving and bright red blood was spurting down the side of the vanity and shower. I quickly ran my eye down my husband, but no blood was spurting out. Then I looked down to see my favourite nail polish bottle broken into shards onto my nice white fluffy bathroom mat. The red had gotten into our sink, down the wall, down the vanity unit, down the glass shower, onto the tiles and onto the mat.

The husband himself was vigorously but very ineffectually trying to mop up the already-drying nail polish with toilet paper. He had apparently tried to get something out of the vanity mirror cupboard and knocked that bottle over into the vanity sink which then spurted all the paint in an arc and hit the walls, shower and floor. I was glad it wasn’t his blood. But I grieved over that bottle, which is something of a luxury for me these days!

I grabbed my nail polish remover but we both knew, even full (only half full) would definitely NOT do for the entire damage.

How to clean nail polish from walls, glass, tile and ceramic

We looked at each other in horror at the situation… he then said, do you have anything else that might work?

Suddenly, I remembered that methylated spirits might work, it’s the same stuff as nail polish, isn’t it? I shot off, quite relieved that I’d just gotten a new full bottle the other day and hadn’t needed to open it. (I cleaned our kitchen cabinets doors thoroughly with the remainder of the old bottle the other day.) Grabbing the new bottle and some rags, I ran back into the ensuite, hoping it would work.

The brand new bottle of methylated spirits from our supplies of cleaning fluids.

The brand new bottle of methylated spirits from our supplies of cleaning fluids.

We rubbed tentatively at first, what if the shower edging melted?? After 1 hour of elbow grease we got most of it out.

The trick, we found, was to hold the soaked rag to a general area for 2 seconds and then wipe. It allows the methylated spirits to break the down the lacquer and “melt” it so it’s easier to wipe.

We were able to clean the glass, tiles (floor and walls), vanity unit, sink, shower surrounds with methylated spirits really well.

Sorry, no photos of the damage, since we weren’t thinking, “Oh good opportunity to take photo for the blog”… we were thinking “Oh Sh*t!”.


We couldn’t really clean up the grout. Since it’s so porous, the nail polish just got soaked up into the grout and was not coming out with just methylated spirits. So the night ended with a couple of pink strips of grout in the ensuite.

The nail polish permanently colouring the grout.

The nail polish permanently colouring the grout.

My husband felt ill after all those fumes and wanted to get away from it. So he pulled me away from the scene of the crime as he didn’t want me affected too. The next morning, I tried to clean the little remainder left on the shower surrounds. Here, a valuable lesson learned: persevere with cleaning it off right after the accident. Otherwise, it’s allowed time to “bake” and cleaning then becomes very very very hard.

The only spot left uncleaned till the next morning.

The only spot left uncleaned till the next morning.

How to deal with nail-polished grout

We wondered if we could bleach the grout. So I gave it a go this evening:

Pouring bleach onto the grout.

Pouring bleach onto the grout.

You have to be so careful when you pour the bleach on to make sure you ONLY hit the grout. So gently, gently is the way to go. The last thing you want is a splotchy bleached tile (and it will bleach the tile).

First few minutes, no change. 30 minutes, no change.

However, four hours later, you can definitely see the difference.

The same grout, after four hours of bleach.

The same grout, after four hours of bleach.

So far, so good. I’m leaving it till the morning before I clean it up. It won’t be the nice white grout that we have in the rest of the area, but at least, it’s not a sordid pink reminder anymore!

(N.B. We are also working on the other bits, so hopefully, it will be a clean area in a few days. Just have to be careful of the fumes of the methylated spirits!)

So you’d think

Some might think I’d irresponsibly left the bottle out where clumsy fingers could cause damage, but it was behind a cabinet door!

Where I keep my nail polishes and other beauty/care items in our ensuite.

Where I keep my nail polishes and other beauty/care items in our ensuite.

My others will stay there, along with my other care products, but now, we know that extra care needs to be taken with nail polish. And if a spill occurs, use methylated spirits (test first!). Although, it’s safe to surmise that if it hits fabric/upholstery with that same force and amount, you can safely kiss your lounge or dress goodbye (and get a new one, courtesy of husband’s mistake!).

8 September 2014



The Woman behind the Blog

Welcome to my blog! It’s such a pleasure having you here.

What are you inspired by? I am inspired by beautiful and bright interiors, fabric, furniture, pinks, yellows, greens, chairs, china, trees, chocolate, peonies, hydrangeas, cherry blossoms, roses and rhubarb with cream.

Friends and family call me drey (pronounced 'dree'... short for Audrey) and I can often be found zipping through op-shops and vintage stores in the Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia.

Hearing from you

Write me at paperbean(AT)gmail(DOT)com