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10 Great Uses for Nail Polish and Nail Polish Remover

From permanent marker accidents to car paint chips, nail polish and nail polish remover can come in super handy and not in a spa manicure sort of way.

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HH Handy Hint color coded key nail polishFamily Handyman

Identify Your Keys at a Glance

“It seems the older I get, the more keys I carry around. Between the car, house, shed and garage, I have a whole pocket full of keys. To make it easier to quickly find my most used keys, I paint both sides of the key head with brightly colored nail polish. I use a different color for each key. The nail polish is extremely durable and you’ll be surprised how much longer it lasts than spray paint.” —Joseph Grayson

Check out these other 14 Secret Tool Tips for DIYers from the Pros.

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nail polish thread locker glasses HH

Save Your Loose Pair of Glasses

Got screws that won’t stay put? Paint a thin coat of nail polish on screws to keep them from coming loose. Remove the screw, paint it with the nail polish and screw it back in. Nail polish will hold those pesky screws forever in place. The nail polish keeps it in place as it gets in all the cracks and spaces.

Note: This is perfect for tiny eyeglass screws!

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HH acetone nail polish remover super glue

Easy Super Glue Removal

Removing super glue is a hassle but if you act quickly you can reduce how long you’re stuck to yourself or the item you’re gluing. Soak the glue spot in warm soapy water as soon as possible to soften the glue, and then pat dry. Rub the glue with an acetone-based nail polish remover. And make sure the nail polish remover you use contains acetone. Acetone is the ingredient that will breakdown the adhesive agents of super glue. The glue will turn white and easily peel off.

See what else nail polish remover can get rid of around the house.

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nail polish touch up Family Handyman

Repurpose an Old Nail Polish Bottle

After painting my kitchen cabinets, I was constantly touching up the paint here and there. Having to open a can of paint and clean brushes each time was a pain, so I came up with a slick solution. I cleaned out a bottle of nail polish using nail polish remover, filled it with the cabinet paint and put it in a kitchen drawer. Now, these small, quick touch-ups are a breeze. — Mike Kennedy. Plus: 10 interior house painting tips you need to know.

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nail polish remover permanent marker on laminateFamily Handyman

Rub Off Stains with Nail Polish Remover

Gentle solvents like paint thinner, or harsher solvents like denatured alcohol, acetone and nail polish removers, often work on the toughest stains, including ink. Wet a rag with a solvent such as nail polish remover and rub away stains. Use white rags to avoid staining the countertop with fabric dye.

These solvents are flammable and give off nasty fumes, so the best way to use them is to apply a small amount to a soft rag or cotton ball. Most solvents won’t harm or discolor plastic laminate, but play it safe and test them on an inconspicuous spot first.

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pantyhoseOlaf Speier/Shutterstock

Stop Runs

If you’re out and get a run in your nylons or tights, you can try super glue to stop the run from getting larger. Clear nail polish also works in the same way. This same trick can be used to stop a snag in your favorite sweater.

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Swap Plugged Nozzles spray paintFamily Handyman

Swap Plugged Nozzles

Most nozzles have a universal fit. If you end up with a plugged nozzle and have other cans of spray paint with good nozzles, just swap the bad one for the new one. They lift right off and push on. If you don’t have any good nozzles, remove the plugged one and soak it in nail polish remover, acetone or even mineral spirits.

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FH16DJA_EXPAND_05Family Handyman

For Pre-Cure Cleanup

Acetone is a solvent that dissolves uncured polyurethane foam and can be used to clean up foam before it cures. Acetone-based nail polish remover will also work to remove uncured foam. Unfortunately, these products don’t have any effect on cured foam. Once it cures, you’ll have to scrape or sand off unwanted foam. Check out these 12 other uses for spray foam that will blow your mind!

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repair car paint chipsFamily Handyman

Repair Small Paint Chips

Remember that gravel truck traveling at 70 mph that suddenly switched lanes in front of you and bounced a few marble-size rocks off your hood? Now you’ve got several tiny chips in your paint finish that could grow to quarter-size rust spots in a few years. Take care of the problem right away for less than $10, and you’ll save yourself big money later on, not to mention the embarrassment of driving a premature clunker.

The fix we show here is for fresh chips that haven’t started to rust yet. If you see a rust spot or have a dent along with your chip, you’ll need to do a more challenging fix than we show here. Keep in mind that this repair will be visible under close scrutiny, but if you buy the right touch-up color, it’ll be unnoticeable from a few feet away.

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nail polish on carpetMaria Dryfhout/Shutterstock

How to Remove Nail Polish From Carpet

If you haven’t learned your lesson about painting your nails on or near carpet, we’ve got you covered with this carpet cleaning hack. Chip off as much of the dried polish as possible using a butter knife, then dab what’s left over with rubbing alcohol and a white cloth until the stain is absorbed. Don’t use nail polish remover because it could remove color from your carpet. Here’s how to remove stains from plastic laminate countertops.