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Does Acetone or Nail Polish Remover Stain Clothes?

Acetone or propanone is considered a liquid solvent used to break down and dissolve other elements. Sometimes it might get on clothes and we are going to tell you do they stain or bleach them, how they react on different textiles and how to remove them if necessary!

Does acetone or nail polish remover stain clothes?

Acetone or nail polish remover can stain certain clothes. Acetone is colorless and does not directly stain if gets on clothes, but chemical residues in nail polish remover will leave a stain on the cloth when evaporated, especially on modacrylic, acetate, or triacetate. Acetone will dissolve them.

Acetone or propanone is an organic compound found in the form of a solvent in day-to-day use. It contains carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. Acetone is used to make nail polish remover, paint, and varnish remover. They are also used to manufacture plastics and textiles.

 Now, acetone used as a nail polish remover has some chemical elements that stains or damage clothes. These chemical elements leave stains on clothes, especially on modacrylic, acetate, or triacetate.  They eat on plastic, so they should be kept away from silk or wool.

 Not all acetones can be 100 percent pure. Most of them are 99.50 percent or 99.99 percent pure. Thus, because of this slight difference, they are classified into different groups. U.S.P. and N.F. are used for humans, in food or skin, while A.C.S. and Reagent are not used for humans.

Thus, pure acetone should not cause any kind of stains on fabrics or clothes. But acetone additives or acetone anecdotes mixed with glycerin, oil, and scents are often mixed with acetone for better nails.

But these additives might leave stains on clothes if used in the making of a nail polish remover. 

Does acetone (nail polish remover) stain or bleach on these fabrics?

Yes, acetone (nail polish remover) is likely to stain or bleach a fabric. The chemical residues in nail polish remover eat up plastics and retain stains or cause bleach if gets on fabric.

We are mentioning some of the fabrics below of our day to day lives use and describing the effects they have on them: 

Acetone on jeans or denim:

Jeans or denim are likely to not have any modacrylic, acetate, or triacetate in them or any kind of plastic. Do check the tag of ingredients to be sure. If they do it might damage or ruin the jeans.

Acetone on cotton:

 It is better to choose a non-acetone nail polish remover for a natural fabric like cotton. A high amount of acetone or nail polish remover might deteriorate the condition of the cloth.

It does take inks or greases out of cloth, but using too much might bleach out cotton. 

Acetone on polyester: 

Polyester is a man-made synthetic fiber. It is a sort of plastic made usually from petroleum. Thus, there is a high chance acetone will stain and damage polyester. It is better to use non-acetone products or nail polish remover.

But if used, it has to be blotted with a white cloth to remove most of the ink of a stain. It is better to place cloth beneath the polyester for safety purposes while using acetone. Try to wash it afterward with cold water for safety. 

Acetone on black clothes: 

Acetone may bleach the black fabric and cause a light stain on the black piece of fabric. If there are any designs on it might cause them to fade. Acetone evaporates quickly, so it is better to act fast and try to remove it.

 Use some dishwashing liquid with lukewarm water and blot to get the stain out before it gets too late and it completely evaporates. 

Acetone on white shirts & clothes:  

Acetone or nail polish remover is highly likely to leave a stain or bleach and damage or ruin a white piece of cloth. If it is made of satin, meaning acetate, it will completely dissolve it.

 But other natural materials of textiles like cotton will strip up the color. Get dishwashing liquid and blot the cloth as soon as the white cloth is stained by acetone and try not to spread it.

Acetone on leggings:

 Leggings are made of cotton-lycra or a cotton-polyester-lycra combination. If there is polyester in the leggings fabric, it is likely to eat off, but it would just be stained if it is off cotton-lycra.

But leggings will get stained if acetone is not used in a slight amount on cotton-lycra. Acetone can also dissolve nylon slowly, so it should also be kept in mind. 

Fabrics stain really depend on the material that it is made of. Look at the ingredient list on the tag of the clothing. There remains a small amount of clothing fabric attached with the inside of the product to be used for test experiments.

Use that fabric before using any product, including acetone or nail polish remover. Clothes like satin, plastic suits, or wool or silk will burn off from acetone as they might contain modacrylic, acetate, or triacetate. 

Above mentioned ones will help you to understand the fabric and its staining a bit better! 

Does acetone damage and ruin cotton or other fabrics?

Acetone can damage and ruin cotton or other fabrics. Chemical residues in acetone strip off or fade cotton and if they are made of plastic or modacrylic, acetate or triacetate, they will eat off and dissolve.

Pure cotton does not include these materials so, it will just stain a bit, and that could be washed off most if used dishwashing soap before evaporating. 

Does non-acetone nail polish remover stain clothes? 

Non-acetone nail polish remover is less harsh on the skin. They contain ethyl acetate or nethyl ethyl keytone. They still might contain conditioners and fragrances that could include some staining ingredients.

Your particular non-acetone remover ingredients should be checked if they might contain any staining chemical elements.  

Can you use acetone on clothes to remove nail polish?

Yes, you can use acetone on clothes to remove nail polish. You could stain your clothes with spilling nail polish or might get it scraped off from your hands if they weren’t dried out enough.

Acetone is still the most effective way to get out nail polish from almost everything. But, you have to be careful about the elements used in acetone and the type of textile you are using it on.

How to remove acetone stain from denim, cotton, and other fabrics?

Acetone stains can be hard to remove if not none the correct way to do it. Items of clothing might also be burnt or eaten off if you are not aware of the material it was made from.

We are mentioning some valuable steps to remove acetone stain from any kind of fabric such as denim or cotton: 

Check the fabric:

Most importantly, check what the fabric is made of. If they contain plastic, you will have to be extra careful while removing them. Check the back of the ingredient tag to find out.

Blot with a white cloth:

It is better to blot the liquid with a white cloth. Hold it gently below the ruined piece of cloth. Make sure the white cloth is well absorbent.

Scrape: Scrape off if any extra residue is still left on the piece of cloth.

Dishwashing soap and water:

Mix 1/4 teaspoon of dishwashing soap in lukewarm water. It is better to not use any stronger solvent, it might harm the cloth more. 

Don’t Rub:

Rubbing might strip off the cloth completely, it’s better to let it blot the liquid as it absorbs the acetone up. Continue this process. 


It might be needed to repeat the process to get the acetone out entirely from the start.


Rinse out the area with cold water to remove any detergent residue left of the cloth. Dry it through blotting to remove moisture.

These are some of the steps to remove acetone stains from any kind of steps. Make sure to not use any laundry detergent. That might contain bleach and discolor the surface.

Final Thoughts

Acetone or nail polish removers are most likely to stain or bleach clothes. The chemical residues of store-bought acetone will stain most natural and manmade fabrics except plastic. Modacrylic, acetate, or triacetate will dissolve as they contain plastic and silk or wool.