How To Dispose Of Acetone Safely

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If you’re a nail enthusiast who loves acrylic, gel, dip powder, and even old-school nail polish manicures, then you’re no stranger to a bottle of acetone nail polish remover. In fact, you probably even have a bottle (or two) in your bathroom cabinet as you read this. 

However, are you aware that there’s a proper way to get rid of any acetone that you might want to get rid of? You shouldn’t just pour it down the sink!

If there’s an old bottle you have lying around, in this article, we’ll share with you how to dispose of acetone, so that you don’t do yourself any harm. It should go to a proper EPA-recommended recycling facility, as acetone can be hazardous.


How To Dispose Of Acetone Properly

Acetone nail polish remover

Although you may have done so in the past, the last thing you should do if you want to get rid of any unused acetone is to pour your acetone or nail polish remover down your sink. And there are a couple of big reasons why you shouldn’t do this. 

The first is that acetone is a chemical liquid solvent that easily evaporates when it is exposed to air, creating vapor. Acetone is also extremely flammable. And if spilled, it will cause damage to surfaces like wood, plastic, and metal pipes.

That’s why you have to put acetone in a glass bowl when you soak your nails.

Acetone is a chemical liquid solvent that easily evaporates when it is exposed to air, creating vapor. Acetone is also extremely flammable. And if spilled, it will cause damage to surfaces like wood, plastic, and metal pipes. That’s why you have to put acetone in a glass bowl when you soak your nails.

This makes acetone a hazardous waste chemical, and it needs to be treated as such! If you don’t, you could cause harm not only to yourself and your loved ones, but also damage your sink, toilet, pipes, and drains — yes, really.

After you’ve finished removing a manicure, especially if you used a bowl of acetone to soak it off of your natural nails, it’s super easy to just pour the extra liquid down the sink and not give it a second thought.

And just because you may have done so before without any seemingly bad effect, that doesn’t mean the same thing will happen if you do it again.

So, just don’t do it!  


Wow, I Didn’t Know That! So, What Should I Do?

In order to dispose of liquid acetone properly, the best thing you can do is take it to a hazardous waste treatment, storage, disposal, or recycling facility, which is also known as a TSDR.

Search your city’s local disposal regulations for information related to your area. But you can find your local TSDR facility by visiting the Environmental Protection Agency’s website, where you can find your nearest drop-off location, as well as arrange a pickup if you have a nail salon business.

Before you take your unused acetone to a TSDR, you’ll need to make sure that the bottle or bottles that you’re going to get rid of are sealed, in order to prevent any leakage, and that they’re kept away from any sources of heat, or exposed to other waste materials.

If you don’t do this, then the acetone can seemingly ignite like magic because of its flammable properties. And this is something that you definitely don’t want to experience!

Also, if you have any unused bottles of nail polish that you want to get rid of, you can take these to the TSDR facility as well.

Acetone can seemingly ignite like magic because of its flammable properties. And this is something that you definitely don’t want to experience!

What About acetone-soaked cotton balls, pads, etc.?

If you have small amounts of acetone to get rid of, such as soaked cotton balls and paper towels that you’ve used to clean up after applying or removing a manicure, then these are ok to throw into your normal garbage. 

However, if there’s a chance that a lot of vapor will be emanating from them, then you’ll want to dispose of it into an outside trash receptacle, because too much exposure to acetone vapor can wreak havoc on your nervous system, and can cause symptoms like brain fog, confusion, and even trouble breathing. 

It would even be better if you put any used paper towels or cotton balls into a small separate garbage bag, and then put it into your outside trash bin immediately, which would completely take away the potential of acetone vapor building up inside of your home.


Final Thoughts

Although you may never have thought of it before, you now know how to dispose of acetone safely and properly. The next time you need to get rid of that old bottle, you can do so without having to worry about causing damage to yourself or your home.

Written by Cecilia Torres