What Will Happen If I Put Acetone on Plastic?

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  • Written By: Erin J. Hill
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 07 January 2020
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If you were to put acetone on plastic, it is possible that it would eat through the plastic material. This mainly depends on the type of plastic you put it on, since some are stronger than others. It's best that acetone not be put in plastic containers due to the risk that it will break down the container and leak.

Acetone is a naturally occurring organic compound that is created in the human body during metabolic processes where fat is broken down into energy. It is also manufactured and used as a solvent, commonly used in pain thinners, epoxy remover, and nail polish removers. Due to its corrosive nature, you should not put acetone on plastic or other substances that may be sensitive to its effects.

It is important to use acetone carefully since it is highly flammable and its vapors are heavy and travel easily from room to room. If these vapors come in contact with any open flame or spark, it may cause an explosion or fire. For this reason, acetone should not be used around fireplaces and other risky areas. It is also best not to use acetone on surfaces that are made of plastic, as this could lead to leaks and potential hazards if the substances travels to an area with an open flame.


Aside from its flammability, acetone also has a strong smell and may cause fumes to accumulate when used in an enclosed area. Use it only in a well ventilated room or outdoors when possible. Keeping a fan on during use may also be beneficial, but only when using a brushless fan since other varieties may create small sparks that could lead to a fire or explosion when running too close to acetone.

There are certain situations in which putting acetone on plastic or in plastic containers will do no harm. Certain grades of plastic, like polypropylene, are designed to withstand corrosive substances, so using acetone with these will not cause any reaction. You can find which plastics may be safe by checking the bottom of any plastic item or container for a symbol and the number five. This symbol is usually the circular arrows used on recycling containers and recyclable products.


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Discuss this Article

Post 11

Would it hurt to look up some basic elementary school science? Your body produces acetone naturally as a part of the metabolic process! It is not some "evil" chemical.

Post 8

It's not an easy thing to ignite acetone accidentally. I believe that concentrations need to be at least 12 percent per volume in the air to even be of danger of catching fire. Inhalation hazards are very low and far as I know, all symptoms of exposure are acute and pose no long term dangers.

Your body naturally produces acetone. It's found in many processed as well as unprocessed foods. In fact, high acetone production diets are recommended for some health conditions. Constant use of acetone based polish remover will eventually thin your nails, but it is not toxic and at worst will cause only cosmetic damage. Stop being so dramatic.

Post 6

What is you put it in a plastic baggie like ziplock ones?

Post 5

I had no idea that acetone was so highly flammable! Actually, come to think of it, this article makes acetone sound pretty dangerous. It can eat through some types of plastic, catch on fire, and cause respiratory problems!

Maybe they should stop selling this stuff for nail polish removal to regular people. I really don't think most people know the dangers of acetone removal, and the non-acetone nail polish remover works fine, in my opinion.

Post 4

@Monika - I guess if you must use acetone polish remover, it's better to use it outside. I personally just steer clear of it completely so I don't risk breathing any of it in, or spilling it on something!

That being said, I find it really interesting that acetone could eat through some kinds of plastic. I never knew that about acetone and plastic and I've never spilled any acetone on plastic to see if first hand either.

Obviously acetone doesn't eat through all kinds of plastic, as the article said. Because every bottle of nail polish remover I've ever seen has been plastic!

Post 3

I usually favor acetone removal for nail polish. I know acetone isn't that great for you, but it works so much better than non-acetone nail polish remover. I usually try to use it in on my balcony instead of in the house, though. Using it outside obviously provides better ventilation and reduces the risk of spilling acetone on anything!

Speaking of, I actually did once spill acetone on a plastic makeup case. It didn't eat right through the plastic, but it did kind of make a little dent. Obviously acetone is strong stuff!

Post 2

I have a friend who owns a beauty salon, and she uses acetone nail polish remover. I use non-acetone at home, so I was unfamiliar with just how strong this remover could be.

While waiting for my turn for a haircut, I wandered into her nail room and started removing my polish with the acetone remover. I knew I had made a mistake as soon as it cut through the polish to my bare nail beneath.

I thought my nail was dissolving. It completely dried out, and rough, white streaks appeared. She uses this stuff to dissolve the glue that holds acrylic nails in place, and had I known it was powerful enough to melt glue and plastic, I wouldn't have used it.

After my little nail polish remover mishap, I can definitely see how acetone could damage plastic. I stay away from the stuff entirely.

Post 1

What are the dangers, if any, of spilling acetone based nail polish remover over leather, fabrics, cashmere or textiles made out of cotton?

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