A reader wants to remove this blue nail polish from wall-to-wall carpeting. (Reader photo)

Q: My teenager spilled dark-blue nail polish on our beige wall-to-wall carpeting. I managed to get some of it off with nail polish remover and hair spray, but not all. A few months have passed. Is it too late?


A: You should still be able to lift the stain, or at least most of it, says Chris Howell, owner of Colorful Carpets in Clarksville, Md. (301-776-2393; colorfulcarpets.com). Howell travels the country to train carpet professionals in how to restore color to carpets and rugs after pet stains, bleach spills and other damage, and his company offers in-home color-restoration and stain-removal services throughout the Washington area as well as in California, Nevada and Texas.

The only solvent that works on nail polish spills, he said, is acetone, which you can buy as a solvent at the paint store as well as in bottles of nail polish remover.

Howell looked at the pictures you sent and suggested this procedure to remove what remains of your blue stain: Saturate a small area of carpet with acetone. Rub it into the fibers with a butter knife or spoon, then blot up the solvent with a clean white cloth, using an up-and-down motion. People sometimes make a mistake by saturating too large an area at once or by scrubbing the stain with a cloth, Howell said. “That can cause pile distortion and delamination of the backing,” he said.

A reader wants to replace this lamp’s ceramic shade. (Reader photo)

Because you have already removed quite a bit of the nail polish, you will probably see only a faint blue stain on the cloth at first. Keep working the stain with the same procedure, and little by little, more of the color will come out, Howell said.

If some blue remains, he suggested calling a company such as his. “We can redye those areas so the color matches,” he said. For a small area, the cost typically runs around $200.

Several years ago, we bought two beautiful lamps in downtown Bethesda. Each was made by the same company and featured a copper-hued stem and a colorful ceramic shade. Our maid knocked over the table lamp, and the shade broke. We glued the pieces together, but the shade looks so bad that this once-gorgeous lamp is now relegated to the basement. Is there a way to track down the manufacturer so that we can replace the shade?


The shade was made by Ugone & Thomas in Easthampton, Mass. (413-527-5530; ugoneandthomas.com). The company is still in business and would be happy to replace it.

Justin Thomas, who owns the company with founder Janna Ugone, said it would cost $384 plus shipping and take six to eight weeks.

Ugone began making ceramic lampshades in 1997, and Thomas began working there while he was a college student. In 2009, he and Ugone became business partners. He said that as far as he knows, theirs is the only company in the country that makes shades of this type. They are white earthenware, cast in plaster molds and fired several times. As part of the hand-decorating process, holes are added to mimic constellations that light up when the lamps are switched on.

There is no need to ship the glued-together shade to the company to ensure a good match. From the beginning, the company has kept detailed records of which molds and which glazes it has used for all of its designs, Thomas said.

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