November 18, 2020

14 Acetone uses and hacks

Acetone-based nail polish remover is, of course, best known for removing nail polish. But did you know that it's also great for some DIY uses around the home? This handy little solution can actually be used for a whole host of jobs and is surprisingly versatile in its cleaning abilities.

Any old nail polish remover won’t do the trick, though. The ingredient you’re looking for is acetone, a powerful solvent that's not just used in nail polish remover – it’s also found in household and industrial products like paint remover, cleaners, and rubber cement. Stay tuned while we take a closer look at how exactly acetone works, and how we can use it around the house.

Most of us are familiar with acetone-based nail polish remover, even if we know nothing about the ingredient. Acetone has a distinctively strong smell, which some people describe as "fruity."

Nail polish is designed to harden within minutes, as well as resist water. Unsurprisingly, then, to remove it, you'll need something strong. This is where nail polish removers come into play. They’re designed to break down the polish so it can be rubbed clean, and contain a solvent for doing so.

For acetone-based nail polish removers, that solvent is acetone. It’s the most effective ingredient for removing fingernail polish, but it can be used for other purposes aside from those that are beauty-related. 

Because of the acetone, you can use the formula for stain removal, cleaning, and clearing away. Here’s how to use acetone-based nail polish remover for all number of household chores:

1. Clean Stains on Your China

Acetone can be used to remove stains from china

For china cups and plates, scrub at the difficult-to-remove spots with acetone-based nail polish remover and then wash as normal. Just pour a little of the formula onto a folded kitchen towel or clean rag and use it to clean away any marks. 

In fact, acetone is so good at cleaning cups, beakers, and glasses that it’s often used in laboratories to clean away grease and other residues, including soap.

2. Remove Scuff Marks from Your Kitchen Floor

Remove scuff marks on your kitchen floor using acetone

After a few years of use, it’s likely that your kitchen floor won’t be looking its best. With so much daily footfall, don’t be surprised if your flooring accumulates a fair few scratches and scuff marks over the years. 

Luckily, it’s easy enough to clear these away with the right formula and equipment to hand. Just rub at the marks firmly with a cotton ball soaked in acetone-based nail polish remover. Follow this up with a good helping of soapy warm water, then leave it to sit for 10 minutes before wiping clean with a dry cloth.

3. Remove Permanent Marker Marks

Acetone can be used to remove permanent marker marks

Whether you have messy children or you’re a bit of a slap-dash artist yourself, you’ll probably end up dealing with permanent marker stains from time to time. Permanent marker can find its way onto your walls, tables, skin, car… in fact, even in places that make you ask, “How on earth?” 

For solid surfaces, it’s nearly always possible to remove marker stains with a bit of acetone. Simply soak a cotton ball in acetone-based nail polish remover and blot the mark to absorb the colour. Keep at it until the stain has faded into nothing, then wipe clean with a dry cloth or paper towel.

4. Sanitize Razor Blades

Acetone can be used to sanitize razor blades

If you or your partner is the sort to use expensive razor blades, the key to getting your money’s worth is to extend their life for as long as possible. As well as following the product’s user guide for upkeep, you can implement your own effective practices to keep your razor blades looking their best. 

Just dip them in a small glass of acetone-based nail polish remover to sanitize them and renew their shine. Submerge them for several seconds, then remove and rub dry with a tissue.

5. Get Paint Off Windows

Kudos to you if you’re the type of person who likes to dedicate your spare time to your home improvement efforts. But sometimes, DIY can get a bit messier than you were expecting, and you end up with paint splatters where you don’t want them. 

When dealing with paint spots and splatters on window glass, you can quickly resolve the issue by thinning the paint with acetone. Just dab at the spots with a cloth dipped in acetone-based nail polish remover and let it sit for a few minutes. Next, take a dry cloth and get rubbing. The paint should wipe away easily.

6. Clean Up Your Patent Leather Shoes

Acetone can be used to clean patent leather shoes

Patent leather shoes are a big investment, so of course, you want them to look their best for as long as possible. If your patent leather footwear is slightly shabbier than you remember it being when you bought it, try dipping the shoes straight into a bowl of nail polish remover, then wiping them clean with a wet cloth. 

Don’t be afraid of the acetone damaging the material – all it’ll do is restore its shine. This handy hack can also work with other patent leather products, like handbags. For items that are part-leather, part-another material, use a soaked cotton ball or cotton swab to target the dirt and dull spots directly.

Acetone uses for around the home

7. Get Rid of Ink Stains

If you can remove permanent marker with acetone, you can certainly remove pen ink stains. When the ink has made its way onto your clothes, don’t stress! Before you throw your shirt, trousers, or jumper away, try dabbing the spot with diluted acetone-based nail polish remover, using a cotton ball or soft cloth. 

This should lift the stain. Just make sure to mix the acetone with water to stop it from being too harsh on your clothes. Then rinse the whole area with just water, and follow it up with a machine-wash as normal.

8. Clean Minor Scratches on Your Watch Face

Acetone can level off surface of watches made using unbreakable plastic

You knew that acetone could remove stains, but did you know that it can also remove small scratches? This is because of acetone’s dissolving ability. 

It can help with scratches on every watch surface, even a smartwatch. If your watch face is made from unbreakable plastic, you can rub acetone-based nail polish remover on it until it levels off the surface, which it does by dissolving the plastic around the scratches. 

If the scratch is too deep, though, you’re better off taking your watch to an expert.

9. Dissolve Super Glue

Super glue is something of a monster. It’s so easy to accidentally get it onto places it doesn’t belong – and how many times have you super glued your fingers together and lost skin pulling them apart? 

Providing you have acetone-based nail polish remover handy, you'll be able to dissolve glue from any surface in no time at all. Use a cotton swab to apply the acetone solution to the surface in question, and the adhesive should dissolve away. This can also work well on a stuck-shut super glue cap that won't budge.

10. Remove Melted Plastic

Use acetone to remove melted plastic in toasters

What would life be without a kitchen disaster or two? Most of us have experienced the struggle of accidentally melting a plastic tub or carrier bag onto hot surfaces in the kitchen, like electric hobs and toasters. 

It might look a sticky mess, but you can usually quite easily remove the melted plastic using an acetone-based nail polish remover. Just unplug the appliance or switch it off at the wall and wait for it to cool down, then wipe the affected area with a soft cloth dipped in the solvent. Wipe the surface with a damp cloth afterward and let it dry before using the appliance again.

11. Dilute Correction Fluid

Acetone can be used to dilute correction fluid

If you still use Tippex or another correction fluid today, you’ll know the struggle of when the liquid takes on an odd, gloopy consistency. Before you throw it out, though, you might still be able to save it with acetone. 

Just pour a few drops of acetone-based nail polish remover directly into the bottle, then shake it, and check the consistency. You should notice that it’s started to thin out, just like paint. Continue to add the nail polish remover bit by bit until the correction fluid is back to its proper consistency.

12. Remove Sticker Glue from Glass or Metal

Stickers look great while they’re in their best form, but when the time comes to take them down, they often stubbornly leave behind a layer of sticky glue. For the most stubborn sticker residue on glass or metal, you can use a bit of acetone to lift the glue and get rid of the mark. 

Just rub at the mark with a cotton ball or soft cloth dipped in acetone. Leave it to sit for a couple of minutes, then rub the area again with hot, not boiling, water. The sticker mark should come right off.

13. Remove Leeches

Here’s one of the more unpleasant uses of acetone! If you ever find yourself in the unfortunate situation of discovering a leech attached to your skin, don’t panic. 

The solution is simpler than you think: just apply a bit of acetone-based nail polish remover to the are. The leeches won't be able to hold onto your skin, and you'll be able to quickly and painlessly peel the segmented worms away.

14. Clean Your Computer Keyboard

Make keyboards look new again using acetone

Take a second to look at your computer keyboard. Dust, crumbs, stains, and stickiness can all build up quickly over time, especially if you’re a fan of a computer-side snack. 

To get your keyboard device looking like new again, use an acetone-based nail polish remover for the job. Dip a toothbrush or a cotton swab into the solvent and use it to carefully clean all of your keys, as well as the spaces between. 

Then wipe dry with a cloth. Be careful not to use too much acetone in this case, as the damp may affect the electrics in your keyboard.

Bestseller No. 1
Pronto 100% Pure Acetone - Quick, Professional Nail Polish Remover - For Natural, Gel, Acrylic, Sculptured Nails (8 FL. OZ.)
  • PROFESSIONAL NAIL POLISH REMOVER - Formulated to gently remove nail polish, glitter or nail glue from your nails. Our formula acts quickly and effectively, removing even the toughest polish, leaving your nails ready for your next manicure!
  • FOR NATURAL, GEL OR ACRYLIC NAILS - Pronto Pure Acetone easily removes nail polish, gel or shellac polish, sculptured nail forms and nail art, artificial nails, glitter polish or nail glue. You can use our professional nail polish remover straight from our bottle or from an acetone dispenser. With Pronto, you will not need to visit the salon to get your mani removed!
  • EASY TO USE – Moisten a little cotton ball, then, massage nail bed pressing firmly from cuticle to nail tip and wipe clean. Use cotton swabs to remove polish from difficult areas. You will have clean nails in no time! Acetone has many other practical uses as a cleaner or gentle solvent.
  • WARNING - Flammable. Harmful if swallowed. Keep this and all products out of the reach of chidren. Close container tightly (Color of the cap may vary).
Bestseller No. 2
Onyx Professional 100% Acetone Nail Polish Remover Kit 16 Fl Oz Bottle With 7 Inch Nail File
  • Removes all nail polish quickly & efficiently
  • Professional strength
  • 1 bottle = 16 ounce
  • Made in the United States
Bestseller No. 3
Super Nail Pure Acetone, AS SHOWN 16 Fl Oz
  • Eliminates fill and repair lines
  • Blends tips on natural nails
  • Professional grade
  • Great value
Bestseller No. 4
Super Nail Pure Acetone Polish Remover, 8 Fl Oz
  • Item Package Length: 5.715cm
  • Item Package Width: 5.715cm
  • Item Package Height: 13.335cm
  • Item Package Weight: 0.227 kg


You’ve hopefully gathered by now that acetone-based nail polish removers are great for removing the most unwanted household stains. So before you resort to purchasing an expensive cleaning product for one-time stain removal, head to your beauty cupboard and get out the acetone. 

It’s guaranteed to work a treat on even the toughest, most stubborn of stains. Just keep in mind that acetone can cause irritation, so don’t directly inhale the solvent, and thoroughly wash any part of your skin that comes into contact with it.

About the author

Tim Russell

I am passionate about health and wellbeing and have writing for over 10 years on the subject. I have a BSc Hons Degree and undertake vigorous research to help people improve their lives and live more a healthy and happy life.

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