Does Acetone Stain Clothes? How Can You Get It Out?

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While you’re doing your nails, you tip over your bottle of acetone and it spills all over your clothes. Gah! Will the foul-smelling liquid ruin your blouse?

Does acetone stain clothes?

No, acetone doesn’t stain clothes, but yes, nail polish remover may well stain them. Here are the basics of the issue:

  • According to scientists, acetone can’t stain clothes when used alone. It evaporates very quickly. 
  • However, when mixed with other chemicals to make solvents like nail polish remover, not only will it stain clothes but can also dissolve fabrics. 
  • Acetone is a famous cleaning agent. It can be used to remove ink and paint stains on glass and metal — and even from clothing!

In this article, we are going to discuss: 

  • What acetone is
  • Is it possible for Acetone to stain clothes?
  • How to remove acetone from clothes.

What is Acetone?

Pure Acetone

Acetone, also known as propanone or dimethyl ketone, is a colorless compound that occurs naturally. Propanone is made up of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. It is characterized by a pungent odor, high volatility, and flammability.

Acetone is mixed with water to make a strong organic solvent like the one used in nail polish remover. Acetone and Nail Polish Remover are often used synonymously, but they are different things. 

Acetone, also known as propanone or dimethyl ketone, is a colorless compound that occurs naturally

Our bodies also produce propanone naturally, which can be found in urine and blood. Diabetic people produce it in higher amounts than other people. 

Acetone is usually used in nail polish removers, though there are now many acetone-free nail polish removers. Many people don’t like how acetone feels on their fingers, and many worry about health issues from soaking their nails in acetone regularly.

Though as mentioned above, acetone is a natural chemical found in the body.


Can Acetone Stain Clothes?

Due to its high volatility, acetone cannot stain clothes by itself. Although acetone is used as nail polish remover to get rid of any color of nail polish, it doesn’t mean that that makes it naturally capable of removing stains from clothes.

When used with some chemicals, acetone can cause stains in clothes.

When used with some chemicals, acetone can cause stains in clothes.

But in some other cases, acetone is used to remove stains in clothes, as it is a cleaner! So the issue really is complicated.


Does Acetone Stain Clothes? What Fabrics Does Acetone Ruin?

Acetone is known to cause serious damage to fabrics made of wool, satin, and silk. It is highly discouraged to use acetone in fabrics that contain acetate, triacetate, and modacrylic.

This is because it dissolves and can even cause holes in the material as they contain plastic.


What Fabrics are Safe to Use with Acetone?

1. Polyester

It is possible to use acetone to remove ink stains or any stains from polyester without worrying about ruining the material. Acetone removes even some of the toughest stains on polyester while leaving it undamaged.

2. Leather

Leather is a tough and durable material. As such, you can use acetone to remove grease and ink stains from it.

Acetone is a famous cleaning agent. It can be used to remove ink and paint stains on glass and metal. In addition, acetone perfectly removes stubborn contaminants like grease, wax, and oils. 

That said, it is key to test the fabric or surface to check its reaction with acetone before using acetone on it.  


How to Remove Acetone Stains from Clothes

Getting nail polish stains on your favorite clothes can be quite frustrating. However, it is possible to get them out using some stain removers. In the case where a stain remover is not available, you can use a dishwashing solution.

Avoid using detergents meant for laundry as they may contain bleaching agents that may cause the stain to worsen.

What You Will Need

  • A flat surface
  • Colorless dishwashing soap
  • White washcloth
  • Lukewarm water
  • Teaspoon
  • Dry towel

Steps to Follow

Following these steps will help you remove acetone stains from the fabric.

Step 1

  • Place the stained cloth on a flat surface
  • Use a teaspoon to scrape off any solid that might have formed.
  • Position a towel on the stain

Step 2

  • Pour a little dishwashing soap on the stained area

Use colorless dishwashing liquid as colored ones can cause staining. Lastly, avoid using laundry detergents as they may bleach your linen.

Use colorless dishwashing liquid as colored ones can cause staining. Lastly, avoid using laundry detergents as they may bleach your linen.

Step 3

  • Mix a cup of water with ¼ teaspoon of dishwashing liquid
  • Apply the mixture to the washcloth
  • Rub in the mixture to the stain
  • Gently dab the area in a circular motion
  • Avoid using pressure as it can worsen the stain
  • Continue dabbing gently until the stain disappears

Step 4

  • Place the dry towel on the now wet area
  • Let the towel absorb all the solution
  • Use more towels for larger areas

Step 5

  • Use cold water to wash off any remaining residue
  • Tap with a dry towel to remove the remaining moisture
  • Hand wash your clothes

Other Ways to Remove Acetone from Fabric

There are other ways to remove propanone stains from garments. Here are other methods you can try in case the method mentioned above doesn’t give you the desired results.

1. Hair Spray

Hair spray is a great alternative as it does not damage clothes or leave stains on fabrics.

What You Will Need

  • Hair spray
  • Tweezers
  • A flat surface
  • Cold water

Steps to Follow

  • Place the cloth on a flat surface
  • Allow the acetone to dry completely
  • Spray the hairspray on the stained part
  • Allow it to dry
  • Use the tweezers to remove any acetone residue
  • Rinse the fabric with cold water
  • Repeat the process if the stain is still there.

2. Rubbing Alcohol

Rubbing alcohol is mostly used on leather as leather is tougher to clean and therefore needs a stronger solvent to remove stain spills. For this method, you should not wait for the stain to dry. Act on it while the spill is still fresh.

What you Will Need

  • Hairspray
  • Dry towel
  • Cold water

Steps to Follow

  • Soak the cloth in rubbing alcohol
  • Place it on the stain
  • Let it absorb the acetone
  • Wash the fabric

3. Non-Acetone Nail Polish Remover

Removers not made using acetone (like this one from ella+mila ) are considered fabric-friendly since they don’t stain clothes.

Removers not made using acetone are considered fabric-friendly since they don’t stain clothes.

For this method, you will need the following items:

  • Acetone-free nail polish remover
  • Cotton wool
  • Cold water

Procedure:

  • Soak the cotton wool in the nail polish remover
  • Pat the stained area gently
  • Repeat the process until most of the stain comes off
  • Rinse off with cold water
  • Do this until you get rid of the stain

Conclusion

In summary, when acetone is used alone, it will not stain or ruin your clothes. However, when you blend it with other substances (as is the case with most nail polish removers), there’s a chance it could lead to hard-to-remove stains.

You should be extra careful to avoid acetone nail polish remover spills as acetone can ruin some clothes permanently.

If you are using acetone to remove stains on your clothes, make sure to check the type of fabric first. Satin, silk, or wool fabrics are susceptible to damage if they come into contact with acetone.

Written by Kayla Young

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