Introduction: 10 Unusual Uses for Nail Polish

Picture of 10 Unusual Uses for Nail Polish

If you're anything like me you have bottles of nail polish building up in your desk drawer from years ago.  What you might not know is there are plenty of ways to put that nail polish to use besides just decorating your fingers.  Here are 10 new uses for nail polish that will help you with day to day tasks around the house!

Step 1: Smudge Proof Lables

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Prevent ink from running on your labels.  Coat the labels that identify your garden plants, or the labels that distinguish your shampoo bottles with clear nail polish.

Step 2: Seal an Envelope

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Ever see that episode of Seinfeld where George's fiance dies from licking too many wedding invitations?

Avoid licking that gross glue on the back of an envelope.  Just seal it with a little bit of clear nail polish

Step 3: Threading a Needle

Picture of Threading a Needle

It can be a pain in the butt trying to thread a needle!  I know I have had my moments where I've had to walk away from projects because it gets too frustrating.

A quick fix for this is dipping the end of your thread in a small amount of nail polish for easy thread-ability.

Step 4: Prevent Costume Jewelry From Tarnishing

Picture of Prevent Costume Jewelry From Tarnishing

Ever get those green rings on your fingers from wearing a costume ring?  Paint a thin coat of clear nail polish on your costume jewelry to prevent tarnishing.

Step 5: Keep Laces and Rope From Unraveling

Picture of Keep Laces and Rope From Unraveling

You may have heard that burning the ends of cut rope prevent it from fraying.  Nail polish works just as well!  Just coat the ends of your shoe laces or rope with clear nail polish (or colored nail polish for some fun) to prevent any fraying.

Step 6: Tighten Loose Screws

Picture of Tighten Loose Screws

For an extra hold, coat your screws in nail polish.  After setting the screws let the polish dry.  This should give you added durability.

Step 7: Color-Code Objects

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Color code objects to easily distinguish them.  I color coded my keys with nail polish so I can quickly figure out which key is for my front door!

Step 8: Mark Levels in a Bucket

Picture of Mark Levels in a Bucket

Mark levels on measuring cups or buckets.  For your cleaning bucket you can mark how much soap you need and another level for how much water you need.

Step 9: Rustproof Metal

Picture of Rustproof Metal
Apply clear nail polish to metals that are vulnerable to rusting, i.e. in the bathroom or outdoors.

Some Ideas:
  • Shaving Cream - If you shaving cream can creates rust rings on your bath tub, apply a thin layer of nail polish to the bottom.
  • Screws - in patio furniture, or the toilet
  • Car Paint - keep chipped car paint from rusting by coating the damaged areas with nail polish.

Step 10: Liquid Bandaid

Picture of Liquid Bandaid

I heard this one from Scoochmaroo!  She uses clear nail polish as a liquid bandaid.  Apparently its the same thing...who knew!


jantinew (author)2017-01-13

Nailpolish is also handy if you are allergic to nickle; coat the nickle with transparant nail polish where it touches your skin to avoid skin irritation. for me this works well on the back of nickel buttons (jeans etc) and on earrings or necklaces.

MontyF1 (author)2015-12-24

mabe a stupid question can you use superglue to fix a loose tooth crown or what can i use

kathynv (author)MontyF12016-11-16

I know that this is not a prompt reply, but I just saw your question. Be sure that the glue you are using does not generate too much heat while curing before using it in your mouth. You could do great damage to the roots of your teeth because of too much heat. I would check while gluing a couple of pennies together while I held them. If the pennies get too hot to hold, then I'd avoid using the glue in my mouth. Good Luck!

Flying Ace (author)MontyF12015-12-24

I have BUT only for cosmetic purposes. You cannot eat with it because the glue cannot hold up to the pressure. Stores sell adhesive for temporarliy holding the crown untill you can see a Dentist.

QazW2 (author)Flying Ace2015-12-24

acetone is the solvent, it evaporates as the superglue hardens and likewise acetone (nail polish remover) can be used to unstuck things stuck but wasn't suppose to be stuck.

with these corrections i still agree doesn't sound like a good idea
as to toxicity, I heard that surgeons at times use superglue in place of stitches (TOTALLY RUMOR --- PLEASE RESEARCH BEFORE USING OR QUOTING AS A FACT)
although there have been numerous incidents of accidental super-gluing of body parts which only ill effects were the ripped skin when they didn't wait for nail polish remover to be applied. no one ever died due to this (although not sure if anyone died of embarrassment from where their hand got stuck) :=\

Una (author)QazW22016-05-28

Superglue was actually invented for field surgery. Which is why it bonds skin the way it does. And there is a such thing as surgeons adhesive, but I don't know the ins and outs of that product.

Dawsie (author)QazW22016-03-07

I used superglue once to glue a cut along my hand and thumb was over a 3 hour drive to hospital had no problems with it it even healed without a scar and the Dr was pleased with my quick thinking as it had needed stitches but by the time I was able to get to him it had healed enough that he left it alone and just wrapped it up :-)

yes superglue is used in surgery, but it's a special hospital grade glue and used when doing bone work with adding metal to bone, my back surgen used a special type of superglue bond when I had my back surgery 13 years ago.

Sgmeng (author)QazW22016-01-03

You need to check your facts! Yes, super glue is used to close skin incisions after surgery. It heals well with less scarring than stitches or staples. It is also used some times to repair wounds of childbirth. It is a medical grade superglue superglue nonetheless.

MommyJackson2005 (author)QazW22015-12-29

Side note: Men in the construction industry have a habit of using whatever is close to fix a wound to avoid loosing hours. ex. my husband used plumbers glue instead of going to get his finger stitched. He wound up in er later that week with our son and the doc told him that it was the best thing he could have done other than stitches because the glue has alcohol or something in it that killed the germs. Who knew?

mmiles12 (author)QazW22015-12-24

Superglue is methacrylate polymer dissolved in acetone. Acetone is the same thing as nail polish remover, and as a metabolic product, is not toxic to the body. Methacrylate does have slightly neurotoxic effects, so liquid sutures used in a medical environment now contain a slightly different polymer, mostly to belay any consumer freakouts. Before that was developed, superglue was what was used. The only people in danger of methacrylate toxicity are those who see constant occpuational exposure (methacrylate manufacturing or those running gel electrophoresis on a daily basis). Toxicology is a measure of dose, not identity.

Flying Ace (author)QazW22015-12-24

We have used it for sealing cuticle cuts at the fingernail. Been doing so for years. Keep in mind, just recently, a woman at work did this but did not let it dry enough then forgot and rubbed her eye thus getting it in her eye. One must be careful if using this and it is not for large or deep cuts. If your not comfortable, find a bandage instead.

Una (author)MontyF12016-05-28

There is a tooth cement sold at the pharmacy or pharmacy department of your local store designed for this. However I believe it is only designed to be temporary until you can get to a doctor.

Una (author)MontyF12016-05-28

No. Please don't.

evie28 (author)MontyF12016-02-14

NO! Super glue is not to be used in your mouth! They sell kits in the drug store (tooth care aisle) that will have a compound to temporarily fix a crown until you can get to your dentist. CALL YOUR DENTIST!

Nick Brits (author)MontyF12016-01-04

Hi there , if you use superglue for the loose crown , use a good quality one .

MommyJackson2005 (author)MontyF12015-12-29

They make a temporary dental kits to fix that stuff. If you are short on cash, the dollar store even carries a cheaper version.

kathynv (author)2016-11-16

Love this Instructable, and can confirm that they work as written. Thank you for compiling this list and publishing it. I'm sure that most people will find it very helpful.

SherylinRM (author)2016-11-15

Ok honesty time here.

I was not expecting much.

However I have to admit I was wrong.

These are good ideas.

Very good job here.

Thanks for this :)

Edgar Po (author)2016-10-15

Hi there , if you use superglue for the loose crown , use a good quality one.

grannyjones (author)2016-04-14

Some surgeons use Dermabond surgical grade to minimise scarring.

maxman (author)2015-12-22

I wonder if nail polish would work on bicycle cable ends to keep them from fraying?

Dawsie (author)maxman2016-03-07

bicycle cables are made of fine wire :-/ try superglue or grilerglue :-)

Chipper Bert (author)maxman2015-12-22

Not for me it didn't. Not strong enough... What did work well was a bit of heat shrink insulation over the end

LesB (author)Chipper Bert2015-12-22

Shrink didn't work for me -- eventually slipped off. My piece of shrink is now lying on the side of the road somewhere along Mulholland Highway.

I guess.

QazW2 (author)LesB2015-12-27

while going a bit off topic here, I'm wondering if tightening the unbound ends of cable in their various points and then fraying slightly the soldering the splayed frayed ends wouldn't be better?
only problem i can see is one would need to assure that non-metallic parts do not melt while trying to add the solder (cable sheaths come to mind, they look like plastic)

Lee Wilkerson (author)QazW22016-02-19

Solder will not stick to stainless steel cables.

Phil_S (author)QazW22015-12-27

Bootlace ferrules QazW2. No heat, job done.

"Bowden cables" are high tensile steel, sometimes with a thin plate of tin for protection. Sods to cut, sods to solder. You need to get a lot of heat in to solder and an active flux like phosphoric acid or the old "killed spirits" (zinc and hyrochloric acid) - even if you do succeed, you will end up with a mess - rusty and inflexible cable - you need to tame cables, not give them a manicure.

Chipper Bert (author)LesB2015-12-22

Mine is still on after more than five years. I degreased the end with acetone first. Maybe put a dab of polish on the end before slipping the heat shrink on. Let it dry and then apply the heat?

QazW2 (author)Chipper Bert2015-12-27

Bert? did you let it dry first?

Chipper Bert (author)QazW22015-12-27

I haven't had to try the nail polish option yet but I think letting it dry first would be the way to go. This needs an instructable all of its own but in short...
1. Choose the right diameter heat shrink!
2. Wash the end of the cable in acetone or similar degreaser. (Note that some type of thinners leave an oily residue so avoid such)
3. Twist the ends of the cable up neatly so all the strands are in their natural smooth positions.
4. Slip about 15mm heat shrink over the end and push it up the cable so that 15mm cable sticks out
5. Unravel the piece sticking out and frazzle the loose strands a bit.
6. Push the heat shrink down over the frazzled ends,
7. Apply heat

That's what I did and it seems to have worked. Perhaps painting the frazzled ends between 5 & 6 and pushing the heat shrink down while the varnish is wet and letting it dry before applying the heat will add value?

Phil_S (author)maxman2015-12-22

Steering clear of the nail polish is a health hazard argument - living is a health hazard - my solution to fraying bike cables are bootlace ferrules. These are used by electricians to stop stranded cable conductors from fraying and causing shorts or whatever. Being a cyclist and unpaid electrician, the two are a perfect match. Ferrules come in all sizes, colour coded in French and German codes. Done correctly, they are crimped onto a bare cable with a crimping tool, but pliers work as well. I like the yellow ones so you can see which ones have been done. From an electrical point of view, putting a ferrule on any stranded or solid cable conductor means that you aren't screwing down onto the copper conductor.
Bike cables are sods to work with and need a firm hand - heat-shrink ain't man enough - you can solder using a phosphoric acid flux, but ferrules are easier. As for nail polish, no chance.

Chipper Bert (author)Phil_S2015-12-27

OMG - if 'twere a snake it would've bit me. Not knowing that things like boot lace ferrules were available, I've been using copper ferrules from the bait shop on the ends of stranded electrical wires for ages and didn't think of using them on my bike's cables. Showstagoya what being male for 62 years will do to one's brain.

Phil_S (author)Chipper Bert2015-12-27

Hello Bert

62? Male? You're a youngster, mate. But older and wiser.

I cut my teeth in industrial control panels where using something like Tri-rated stranded cable in any sort of screwdown terminal block without a bootlace ferrule would have been a disiplinary, because of bad practice and the risk of shorts. For some odd reason, the French and Germans have cornered the bootlace ferrule coding lark, so nothing corresponds - a German yellow code ferrule does not equal a French yellow one. Unsurprisingly, one of my unofficial leaving gifts was a nice crimper, and a kit of the preferred German ferrules (they have all the best military marches). This why all my house wiring has ferrules fitted and my bike gets them as well. The beauty of a pukka crimper is that it squeezes all round. You can get them as insulated or uninsulated types as well. The insulated ones have the colour-coded sleeve - both types are tin-plated brass. There's the satisfaction of a completed crimper click and no sticky-out loose strands.

Just don't get me going on metric screw threads, Philips, Pozidrive, Supadrive heads, full nuts, half nuts etc., etc., cage clamp terminal blocks, T35 DIN rail - it was all part of the job and lives depended on it.

Lee Wilkerson (author)2016-02-19

I have found nail polish to be an awesome speaker repair tool. It's somewhat flexible so it works great for patching the occasional screwdriver blade puncture and it can be a life-prolonger for foam cone surround if it gets a little tear.

Renate1 (author)2016-02-14

When I had a car with chrome bumpers, after washing the car I would find scratches and dings in the chrome and I would cover them with clear nail polish. I would re-apply after every wash. Worked like a charm, never had rust. Now I wish I had used glitter nail polish to add some sparkle LOL I like the screw coating technique.

QazW2 (author)2015-12-24

the color coding suggestion was rather sparse given that it is very useful....

have you ever seen color stripe on hand microphones? while the professionals use colored tape (think very thin Duct tape) semi pros (as in any sound system with more than two microphones) often use colored nail polish to distinguish between the mikes and the sound boards of pro and semi pros alike do well to use drops of nail polish instead of the color dots that often rub away at inopportune times

MommyJackson2005 (author)QazW22015-12-29

good point! I love that and will be using it to distinguish the different kids clothes at my House. I dont use mics but the idea will make laundry MUCH easier!!!

MommyJackson2005 made it! (author)2015-12-29

I use nail polish for EVERYTHING! They also are easy to use for little hands to paint salt dough ornaments for Christmas or anything else and you can always use the cheap kind from the dollar store to expand you kids color palate! We used glitter glue, green frost nail polish with crackle polish over it. Add magnets to the back and its a year round gift!!!

londobali (author)2015-12-22

I've heard of nut/screw fixer, color code, and "rustproofing", but never actually done them before.. this reminds me to get me some nail polish.. :)
The end-of-rope fixing is new idea to me.. Do they get super stiff and hard like the end of shoelace?
Thanks for sharing.. :)

QazW2 (author)londobali2015-12-27

sort of, you use the nail polish immediately after cutting directly on the cut edge. if full coverage is achieved you do not need the "aglet" coating to retain the fibers although for a shoe string coating or dipping a half inch to look and feel like an aglet so the threading process is familiar

londobali (author)QazW22015-12-27

I'll have a try soon, after a visit to my sister-in-law's place, she'll have some old nail polish i can "borrow".. :p

IADORAK (author)2015-12-27

This comments section has been GREAT FUN & INTERESTING to read! What a bunch of nice informative folks! Lots 'o knowledge there! THANK U! THANK U!! THANK U!!!

WayneT1 (author)2015-12-27

For cable ends use adhesive type heat shrink

Xldh44 (author)2015-12-23

I love hearing about all the different uses for this stuff and I discovered another one... you can use it on your fingernails! Not only that but it's available in many different colors allowing you to paint your nails in festive colors complimentary to whatever holiday season. How cool is that?!!

QazW2 (author)Xldh442015-12-26

LOL, using nail polish to display color on your finger and toe nails.... Imagine that LOL

I doubt any sane person would have thought you were making fun of them, as to the paranoid ones, I'm sure they don't need to accuse you yet again, they already thought you were out to get them :P

ggadget (author)Xldh442015-12-23

Oh my, how edgy.

Xldh44 (author)ggadget2015-12-24

To any who may have thought my remarks were poking fun of contributors postings or found them outright rude, I meant no ill will, please accept my apology. I truly appreciate having this site available and without those who do contribute, this site could not exist. So thank you for that and if anyone was offended, again, I apologize. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Creaturiste (author)2011-09-04

Nail polish contains acetone, which is toxic as fumes, and on skin and in your bloodstream. It may contain whatever Gods know what else!

Why risk it?

aaronjehall (author)Creaturiste2011-09-05

just use super glue instead

bubbaclaw (author)aaronjehall2011-09-05

Actually there is medical grade superglue.

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