11 Unexpectedly Useful Things You Can Do With Clear Nail Polish

uses for nail polish

As much as I love nail polish in general, clear nail polish was never really my “thing.” (You may have already sussed this out on your own based on the number of photos on my blog that show me sporting brightly colored nails!)

But even though I don’t use it on my fingernails, I still keep a bottle of clear nail polish on hand at home. Why, you ask? Well as it turns out, clear nail polish makes a very handy household tool!

In today’s post, I’ll be sharing 11 of the most useful and practical things you can do with a bottle of clear polish. From sealing things up to securing them in place, that little bottle of polish can help you accomplish a whole lot around the house! :-)

Related: Your Cuticles Need Help, And This Is The Easiest Way To Fix Them

11 Practical Ways To Use Clear Nail Polish

Waterproof Your Labels

1. Waterproof Your Labels

If you have a paper label that you want to permanently protect from the elements, use clear nail polish! It’s a great way to make sure the labels on your homemade cleaners and other concoctions won’t rub off. (I’ve used it for exactly this purpose and I love it!)

Stop Rings From Turning Your Finger Green

2. Stop Rings From Turning Your Finger Green

Have you ever had to stop wearing a ring that you loved because it kept turning your finger green? You can save those rings with a little bit of clear nail polish!

Just coat the inside and outside of the ring with a thin layer of clear polish, then let it dry completely. Not only will this protect your finger, but it can also protect the ring itself from tarnish.

Bonus Tip: You can also coat troublesome earrings with clear nail polish to prevent them from irritating your earlobes.

repairing a snag in tights

3. Stop Runs In Pantyhose

Have a small run or hole in your tights, stockings, or pantyhose? Use clear nail polish to stop it in its tracks! The polish won’t necessarily repair the hole or run, but it will definitely help prevent it from getting any worse!

Seal Splinters

4. Seal Splinters

Even small splinters in your wooden furniture can snag fabric (and skin too—ouch!) Seal up splinters with a coat of clear nail polish. You can also use clear nail polish to seal small scuffs and dents in wood floors.

5. Waterproof Your Matches

Use clear nail polish to turn standard matches into waterproof matches! Just give the ends a quick dip into the polish bottle to coat and protect the ends. (You want to make sure the layer of polish on the matches is thin, otherwise it could take you a while to light the match later on.)

Seal Splinters

6. Secure Your Buttons

Sick of shirt buttons that won’t stay put? Coat the threads of each button with a layer of clear nail polish. The polish will reinforce the thread and help prevent breakage. (You can also do this to the ends of shoelaces and ropes to prevent them from fraying.)

Thread Needles Easily

7. Thread Needles Easily

If you’re having trouble threading a needle, dip the end of the thread into a bottle of clear nail polish. It will seal the thread and make it easier to slide into the eye of your needle.

Seal Envelopes

8. Seal Envelopes

Licking one envelope to seal it up is no big deal, but if you have more than one envelope to seal, it gets old fast! Use clear nail polish to seal up your envelopes instead. Just paint a layer of polish onto the adhesive strip and press the envelope closed.

Prevent Rust Rings

9. Prevent Rust Rings

Metal canisters like shaving cream cans can easily leave rust rings in your bath or shower. But with the help of some nail polish, you can prevent those rings from becoming a problem in the first place! Just coat the bottom of the metal canister with clear nail polish and let it dry before you take it into your bath or shower.

Related: 6 Unexpected Ways To Remove Rust With Things You Have At Home

Secure Tiny Screws

10. Secure Tiny Screws

One of my pet peeves is when those tiny screws in my reading glasses start coming loose. That’s why I was so delighted to discover that you can use clear nail polish to keep those screws in place!

Just spread a thin layer of polish over the head of the screw to keep it snug and secure. (My reading glasses last so much longer now that I do this.)

Make Your Hangers Snag-Free

11. Make Your Hangers Snag-Free

Even the tiniest imperfections on the surface of wooden and plastic hangers can snag delicate fabrics. If you plan to use a hanger to hang something delicate, grab your clear nail polish first.

Coat any areas of the hanger that could cause snags, like splinters, threads, etc. It only takes a minute to do, and it is a great way to protect your delicate clothing!

uses for nail polish

A Note About Clear Nail Polishes

If you don’t have a clear nail polish on hand and are looking to buy one, you might encounter a few different kinds. So in order to clarify things for you (pun intended), here’s a quick explanation of each:

  • Regular Clear Nail Polish – The standard stuff is just like a colored nail polish, except that it’s clear. It will work fine for most of the uses listed above, but depending on the quality, it could chip or peel over time.
  • Clear Base Coat – A base coat is designed to prevent yellowing and nourish your fingernails. They often contain ingredients like proteins and vitamin E to strengthen nails. It’s probably not the best choice for these uses, but may work fine in a pinch!
  • Clear Top Coat – The purpose of a top coat is to seal, protect, and add shine. A clear top coat is a great choice for any of the tips listed above, and will likely last the longest.

Do you use clear nail polish around the house?

Read This Next

Jill Nystul Photo

Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee


Bright Ideas

  • Jillie,
    I always enjoy your tips, and these tips with clear nail polish are thought provoking and entertaining. They are thought provoking because nail polish contains so many hazardous chemicals that are instantly absorbed through the skin, and are inhaled directly into the bloodstream. Many of these chemicals are carcinogens (cancer-causing), and include formaldehyde, and BPH is a possible carcinogen and suspected hormone disrupter. In living a healthy life-style, I have chosen to avoid as many chemicals as possible by not eating prepared foods laden with preservatives (chemicals) and avoiding fragrances and unnecessary chemicals and pesticides in any form as much as possible. I even have a small garden and grow some of my own vegetables organically.

    I would expect you to encourage your readers to live a healthy lifestyle too, avoiding unnecessary chemicals whenever possible.



    Please check out the Environmental Working Group, as just one of many working for clean water, eliminating pesticides in our food supply, and harmful chemicals in cosmetics and household products, at ewg.org.

  • My husband swears by dabbing clear nail polish on chips in the windshield – says it will prevent the chip from spreading into a more serious problem (crack, webbing etc). I’m not sure how to test his theory – but I do know chips that have been ‘polished’ haven’t spread.

  • Hi Jilee! Can you do a post on the many uses of hair ties? I use them for so many things that I used to use rubber bands for. Great for packages or gift wrap etc. so many uses and they do not break like rubber bands. Thanks!

  • The caulking around my bathroom sinks gets moldy from where water tends to puddle, like near the soap dispenser, and in my kitchen there is an annoying narrow gap between the sink and the backsplash where water collects and causes the caulking to turn black and is difficult if not impossible to clean. Last time I re-caulked, I went over the caulk line with clear nail polish and that has helped tremendously! The water still collects there, of course, but the nail polish keeps the mildew from getting imbedded in the caulk and is easier to wipe it clean. I would guess that clear poly would work just as well, but I had the clear polish on hand and the small brush worked great for applying it to the caulking.

  • Great ideas! I use clear nail polish on mason jar canning lids to protect them from rust. Specifically the lid & rings used for soap dispensers. I know there’s a spray paint sealer but this works in pinch. I’m going to try using the polish on thread and maybe on small frayed edges of burlap ribbon. Thanks for sharing!

  • I have a hard time with the ear pieces on my glasses turning my skin green – must be the nickel content on the metal ones; plastic ear pieces just deform and slip & slide on my face. I use nail polish to coat the stems of the ear pieces to prevent this from happening. Also use on my watch backs for the same reason if they’re not made of stainless steel. I look forward to reading your emails every day!

  • As nail strengthener/hardener isn’t reckoned to last more than about 6 months – although I usually use them for longer – I use old, clear hardener rather than up to date nail varnish

  • I use clear nail polish as a craft finish for small objects. It is super thick and shiny compared to most finishes and it waterproofs too.

    It’s also something that can repair a crack in china, something you want to keep to look at but don’t use for food, like a ‘dry vase’ your grandmother had, but you keep up on the shelf, or a salt or pepper shaker. It seals the edges once glued back together or if not completely broken apart, so that the edges stay clean.

  • I’ve used it before on my skin., My skin has a sensitivity to Nickel. I try to cover certain spots with bandages. But, with our hot , humid summers they don’t always stay put.This helps if they won’t stay put due to the weather. I’ve also used it on bug bites. It helps with itchy skin.

  • I use clear nail polish to seal the numbers on dials–things like kitchen and laundry timers–where the numbers usually wear away before the timer mechanism itself breaks. It’s also very handy on hair appliances like curling irons, flat irons and hair dryers where the alcohol in many hair products will strip words and numbers long before they need to be replaced. You can also lightly coat any appliance dial, although Id avoid doing so on an LP or Natural Gas appliance since some nail polishes are more flammable than others.

    Thanks for everything, Jillee, I love One Good Thing!

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