Non-acetone Nail Polish Remover to the Rescue (Unconventional!)


Feb 14, 2002 (Updated Feb 21, 2002)


The Bottom Line Sometimes bad things happen to nice people. I didn't know what to do about the black permanent marker on our Jeep's door, but gave nail polish remover a try!

It's a bit of an unusual beauty tip, since it doesn't pertain to your eye lids, cheeks, or finger nails, but a new car. You can thank me for it later!!!
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I am going to address an unconventional use of nail polish remover. The following situation may not pertain to you right now, but if it EVER happens to you, you will be glad you once read this!

A few nights ago our brand new 2002 light gray Jeep Grand Cherokee was vandalized with black permanent marker. Two ugly words were smeared across the driver side door. I rubbed the pen marks with my finger nail and some spit (a natural first reaction,) but it was clearly permanent marker and wouldn't come off. I was very upset, and so was my husband!

It was suggested to take the vehicle to a body shop, but I feared it would be a lot of hassle and cost. If I could, I would rather try and see if I could get it off myself; the big question was "How?".

I searched the Internet for advise, doing a search for "removing black permanent marker," and "car vandalized with black permanent marker," but there were no suggestions.

I wasn't going to touch the Jeep's paint with turpentine, paint thinners, or anything abrasive. The only thing I could think of was Cutex Quick and Gentle, non-acetone nail polish remover (pink). So this is what I did:

I assembled everything needed ahead of time:

1. a very soft white cotton cloth
2. one small bottle of Cutex Quick and Gentle, non-acetone nail polish remover
3. a small bucket of warm water with one drop of dish washing liquid
4. a soft sponge (for the water)


I parked the Jeep in a well lit area. Next I wrapped an end of the soft cotton cloth around my index finger and dowsed it with the nail polish remover. I first tested it on a hidden spot on the underside of the door, by rubbing lightly, to see if the nail polish remover would damage the paint's finish.

The nail polish remover did not damage the paint's finish, so I went ahead and worked quickly across the vandalized area, using big sweeping moves without any hard pressure to remove the nasty words. To my amazement, the black permanent marker dissolved using only a few sweeps, almost like cleaning a teacher's board. I turned the cloth and repeated the same steps, but much lighter and quicker this time, just enough to remove remaining superficial smudges. Immediately afterward I turned the cotton cloth over and gently wiped the area I just worked on dry, then thoroughly rinsed it with warm water. No damage was done!

I can't tell you how relieved I was when I saw the nasty words dissolve into the cloth and off the vehicle's door and how proud I was, when my husband came home from work and our brand new Jeep looked like nothing ever happened.

Should I confess that I did it myself with nail-polish remover, or for peace's sake tell him I took it to the body shop?

PS: Those readers who rated anything less than Very Helpful, that's okay. You can thank me later!!!

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