How to Dispose of Acetone?

Acetone is a clear volatile liquid and is a common solvent used across many industries. One of the best things about acetone is that it is also safe for domestic use.

Despite its many benefits, it is a hazardous chemical. Disposing of it in your trash poses health and environmental hazards.

When you dispose of acetone improperly, it can end up in landfills. This can cause contamination of water and serious health risks.

The method that you should choose for disposing of acetone depends on its quantity. If you have used it in small quantities, you can dispose of it with your regular house trash.

For a greater quantity of acetone, you will have to drop it off at a hazardous waste recycling facility.

What Is Acetone?

Acetone is a clear, colorless solvent with a fruity smell. It is also known as propanone and is highly flammable. This chemical is present in common household products.

Nail polish removers, varnishes, and wood stains have acetone as the main component. Degreasers also have acetone for thinning fiberglass resin and to remove adhesive resins.

Several industries use this chemical as a solvent. Even our body contains small amounts of acetone but it is hazardous and needs to be disposed of carefully.

Acetone causes many health problems like eye, skin, and lung irritation. Long-term exposure to this chemical can also cause dry, cracked skin, and damage to the nervous system.

Things You Need to Dispose of Acetone

Acetone poses serious threats to the environment and health. This makes it important to use, store, and dispose of acetone with great care.

Regardless of the quantity you of acetone that you’re dealing with, it is important to take safety measures for handling and disposal.

Following are some safety items that you will need while disposing of acetone:

  • Safety gloves
  • A mask (if you’re dealing with large amounts of acetone)
  • A plastic garbage bag
  • A sealable metal container

If you run a beauty care business, you are likely to use acetone in large amounts. You can contact your local fire department to get instructions about proper disposal.

Some fire departments ask businesses to dispose of acetone in fireproof containers.

It is also important to be aware of your state laws for hazardous waste disposal. In some states, the law requires you to take acetone waste to a recycling facility.

It is best to do some research about the safe disposal of acetone if you use large amounts.

Also read: How to Dispose of Stain Rags?

How to Dispose of Acetone

Disposing of acetone is easy when you follow all the essential steps carefully. Make sure you have your safety items before getting started.

We have broken down the process of disposing of acetone into three methods.

Here are some of the ways in which you can dispose of acetone in a safe way:

Disposing of Acetone Cleaning Products

Small amounts of acetone do not pose a risk to the environment. After using acetone with cotton balls or swabs, put them in a plastic garbage bag.

Tie the bag and put it with your regular house trash. You should wash your hands after getting rid of soaked cotton balls.

If the cotton balls have a lot of acetone, squeeze them to take out the excess in a separate container. Seal the container and dispose of this by dropping it to a recycling center.

Disposing of Acetone Paint Thinner

Before disposing of acetone paint thinner, wear safety gloves and mask. This is to protect you from the fumes of acetone in the paint thinner. Strain the used paint thinner through a coffee filter into a jar or sealable container.

The paint in the thinner will accumulate in the filter while the thinner will pour into the jar. Close the lid of the jar tightly or seal the container.

Now, allow the paint in the coffee filters to dry, wrap them in a newspaper, and throw them in house trash. You can use the collected acetone in the jar again as a paint thinner.

Label the jar with the type of thinner and the date you strained the thinner.

Find a hazardous waste recycling and disposal facility near your house. You can search for these facilities on EPA or Earth911 websites.

Find out about the guidelines by the facility for dropping off acetone. Different places have different regulations for disposing of acetone. Follow your local facility’s guidelines to know how you have to drop off the used acetone.

Disposing of Leftover Acetone

Proper disposal of leftover acetone, old nail polish, and remover is important as well. Keep the bottles of nail polish and remover that you no longer use in your salon or home in a separate container.

A drop of this container to a local hazardous waste recycling center. You should never drain the acetone nail polish remover down the drain.

Similarly, if you have leftover acetone, pour it in a sealable container. Store it away from any combustible item or from hot surfaces.

Once you have placed them in a secure container, find a recycling facility. You can visit EPA or Earth911 websites and search for a recycling center by entering your zip code.

These websites provide you with recycling facilities options in your specific geographic locations. Contact the facility and they will guide you on how to take the acetone containers to the center.

Some facilities also offer to pick up the hazardous material from your house.

Acetone Storage

You should take as much care when storing acetone as you do for its disposal. Pour acetone in a sealable container and close the lid tightly.

Then, store the container in a cool place away from any electrical outlets or stoves. Anything combustible should be away from the acetone container. Acetone is highly flammable and can ignite even from a distance.

If you have a salon or a business that uses a large amount of acetone, contact the fire department. They can guide you about how to store your acetone safely. Proper storage of acetone mitigates the risk of a fire breaking out.

Acetone Safety Tips

Short-term exposure to small amounts of acetone is usually not too dangerous. However, you should always take precautions when handling acetone regardless of the quantity. Below are some safety tips for using acetone:

  • Make sure the room where you are using acetone has proper ventilation
  • It is better to work on a flat and hard surface so that it is easier to clean if you spill some
  • Make sure to work with acetone on a surface that does not soak up the liquid
  • Wear rubber or plastic gloves, safety goggles, and mask
  • You should have a proper license and permits if you use acetone in a salon or any other business
  • Dispose of used acetone paper products in a separate plastic garbage bag

Acetone is a common household product, but it poses risks to the environment. There is a potential risk of fire breaking out if you place it near something combustible.

You can protect the environment from serious risks by taking these safety measures.

If you or your client spill, inhale or ingest a lot of acetone, you should get medical help immediately. Exposure to dangerous amounts of acetone can be very harmful to an adult, child, or pet.

If you are not sure of the amount, take caution, and get a checkup anyway.

Can I Pour Acetone Down a Drain or Plughole?

It is important to remember to never pour acetone down a drain. This might feel like an easy option to get rid of the waste, but it has a lot of risks.

Since acetone is a strong solvent, some people try to unclog a blocked drain with acetone. It might dissolve the waste that is clogging your drain, but it will also cause a lot of problems.

Following are some reasons why pouring acetone down a drain or plughole is a bad idea:

  • Acetone can melt the plastic pipes in plumbing systems. This will damage your plumbing system and will cost you time and money to fix it.
  • The sewage water goes through a water treatment process. This process does not treat or filter out chemicals in the water. Hence, the wasted water getting through this process poses a risk to plants and wildlife.
  • The biggest risk associated with acetone is that it is flammable. There is a risk that its vapors can ignite in drains and cause explosions.

All these reasons suggest that pouring acetone down the drain can be harmful. It is, therefore, important to always dispose of acetone in the right way.


Acetone is safe to use solvent for households, yet it is hazardous waste.

You should dispose of it according to the local laws of hazardous waste disposal. It is also important to store acetone in a sealable container to prevent spills.

Acetone can be detrimental to your health as well as the environment. If you have to dispose of leftover or used acetone, the first step is to pour it in a sealable container.

Then, find a recycling center near your location and drop off the container to the facility.

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