How to fix sticky nail polish

Do you have old bottles of nail polish lying around that have become chunky, sticky and hard to use? If you do, do not dispose of them. Using nail polish thinner, which is available at most beauty supply stores and online, you can restore your old nail polish so that it is smooth and usable. This is a great way to save money and get the best use out of your favourite nail polish colours.

Remove the cap from the bottle of sticky nail polish. If polish has hardened around the inside of the cap, making it hard to open the bottle, run some hot water over it and then try to open it again.

Add two or three drops of nail polish thinner to the bottle of nail polish.

Screw the cap back on the bottle of nail polish and roll the bottle back and forth between the palms of your hands to mix the thinner and the polish.

Wait at least 20 minutes before using the nail polish.


You can use a couple drops of an acetone and orange oil mixture in place of store-bought nail polish thinner.


Nail polish thinner only works with nail polish that is chunky and sticky. If your nail polish is completely dried up, the thinner will not restore it. Do not use nail polish remover in place of the thinner. Nail polish remover contains water, which will simply dilute and further ruin the polish.

Things You'll Need

  • Old, sticky nail polish
  • Nail polish thinner
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About the Author

Based in Gatineau, Canada, Kat Walcott has been writing entertainment and informative articles since 2008. Her work has appeared in major publications including Her Campus, Equals6 and Uppercase. She holds an honors diploma in social science from Heritage College and is currently majoring in communication studies and minoring in sexuality studies.