How to get rid of cold sores with nail polish remover

Updated April 17, 2017

It is possible to get rid of a cold sore by applying nail polish remover to the infected area. Nail polish remover contains chemicals that act as a poison to the cold sire, causing it to heal in less time overall. By applying it to the sore with either a cotton swab or a tissue for ten seconds at first sign of an outbreak, the chemicals in the nail polish remover will start to dry out the area of the living infection.

Wash your face and hands thoroughly with soap and water. Cold sores are extremely contagious, and touching the infected area with your hands can cause it to spread to other areas of your face and body. Cleaning the affected area before applying treatment helps prevent the infection from spreading as well.

Dip the cotton swab or tissue into the bottle of nail polish remover. Some bottle types may require you to tab the tissue with the nail polish remover, instead of being able to dip it inside of it. Make sure that a generous amount is applied to the cotton swab or tissue, in order for it to cover as much of the infected area as possible.

Hold the tissue or cotton swab on the infected area of skin for ten seconds. The cold sore will start to dry and heal without leaving a blister in a couple of days.


Once the cold sore has began to scab, apply Neosporin to the affected area to help speed up the recovery time.


Be careful not to allow nail polish remover to enter your mouth when applying it to your lips, for it consists of poisonous chemicals that can cause harm when consumed. Different peoples' skin types may react differently when put into contact with nail polish remover. If irritation occurs, discontinue applying the nail polish remover.

Things You'll Need

  • Cotton swabs or tissues
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About the Author

Based in Florida, Robert Ceville has been writing electronics-based articles since 2009. He has experience as a professional electronic instrument technician and writes primarily online, focusing on topics in electronics, sound design and herbal alternatives to modern medicine. He is pursuing an Associate of Science in information technology from Florida State College of Jacksonville.