In this article, us compare and contrast two popular solvents; acetone, and also denatured alcohol. ~ revealing your properties, we’ll describe when to use acetone, and when denatured alcohol is a much better choice. In addition to revealing the major differentiating factor, we’ll tell you which is far better and why.

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What Is Acetone?What Is Denatured Alcohol?Acetone vs Denatured AlcoholSimilaritiesDifferences

What Is Acetone?

Acetone is a colorless, liquid solvent. It is generally used to produce petroleum products, including plastic. Top top its own, the is used as a cleaner, solvent, degreaser, and also thinner.


Acetone Uses

Acetone’s many popular family members use is in nail polish remover. Roughly the house, acetone have the right to be provided to eliminate scuff marks from floors or unstick super glue from wood, despite it demands to be wiped away with water ~ doing it’s project to prevent damaging the surface.

When porcelain tubs, sinks, or also coffee cups end up being stained, acetone mixed with water is very effective cleansing agent.

Acetone is highly effective as a degreaser. That is used to eliminate the oils present in wool, to make the fiber an ideal for usage in the textile industry. That is also commonly used to strip silk gum indigenous silk fibers, making lock shinier and also smoother.

Although that is non-toxic enough for restricted external usage (extended contact with acetone can reason dermatitis), acetone has an ext powerful applications because that woodworking as well.

Acetone is provided to change the viscosity that lacquer, specifically lacquer offered in the automotive industry. As result of its fast evaporation rate, acetone helps store automotive lacquer indigenous dripping or streaking while it dries.

For various other lacquer applications, pure acetone sometimes makes the finish dry also fast. In this case, it deserve to be combined with various other solvents to sluggish the dried time. Lacquer thinners room made from a mix of acetone and one or much more other solvents, such as amyl acetate, ethyl acetate, keotone, or toluene.

Acetone Characteristics

Acetone has actually low chronic and also acute toxicity. This method that short-lived or permanent exposure to acetone is unlikely to reason a harmful immune response. In fact, acetone is naturally created by the human being body as a byproduct that breaking under fat.

However, acetone is mildly irritating to the skin, nose, and throat, and also should no be ingested. Using acetone in a well-ventilated setting helps alleviate the risk of unpleasant side effects from inhaling acetone fumes.

Plastics developed with acetone or acetone-like substances can be damaged, smeared, or even dissolved by acetone. Polystyrene and also PVC space two such plastics. Where melted plastic has actually adhered to one more surface, rubbing the affected area through acetone deserve to be one effective technique of removal.

What Is Denatured Alcohol?

Denatured alcohol is a liquid solvent, degreaser, and sanitizer offered in woodworking, automotive and also manufacturing industries, and also in the home.

To do denatured alcohol, an additive is blended in through ethanol. The most usual additive is 5-10% methanol, a highly toxic liquid. Thus denatured alcohol is occasionally referred to together ‘methylated spirits’.


Whatever additive is preferred by the manufacturer, the result is the same: making the alcohol unfit for human consumption. All denatured alcohols are toxic if ingested. Most have actually a solid unpleasant aroma and a bad taste. Blue or purple coloring is commonly used (and periodically mandated) come advertise the undrinkability the this beneficial liquid.

Denatured alcohol can be supplied in its pure type or diluted through water.

Denatured Alcohol Uses

Pure denatured alcohol is frequently used in woodworking, specifically when working through shellac. Shellac is formulated from resin and also denatured alcohol. The quantity of denatured alcohol included to the resin determines the thickness that this renowned finish. Due to the fact that denatured alcohol dissolves shellac, it can be used to recreation or eliminate an currently shellac finish. 

In automotive and manufacturing circles, pure denatured alcohol is known for its an effective degreasing properties. Due to the fact that it evaporates quickly, that is often used come clean and degrease metal, leave behind a clean, dry surface ar without risking corrosion. The can additionally be used to break down glue.

When diluted with water, denatured alcohol effectively clears mold and also mildew growth, cleans windows without leaving streaks behind, and can also remove octopus stains indigenous clothing.

This functional chemical link can reason irritation top top exposure come the skin. Inhalation that denatured alcohol fumes can cause dizziness and also nausea. Sloop down of this toxicity substance is very dangerous and requires the fist of toxicity control.

Like every alcohols, denatured alcohol is highly flammable, and should never be provided or stored near sources the heat, ignition, or open flames. Take treatment to for sure a well-ventilated working area as soon as using denatured alcohol, and always protect yourself with security glasses and chemically resistant gloves.

Acetone vs Denatured Alcohol

These 2 chemical compounds have many similarities, and can be used for the same functions in part instances. However, lock are additionally distinctly different.


The primary similarities in between denatured alcohol and acetone room their appearance, purpose, and the impact they have actually on finished wood.


Acetone and denatured alcohol space both normally clear, watery liquids. Artificial coloring is often added to denatured alcohol because of regulations, and also to acetone once it is marketed as a cosmetics product because that removing pond polish.


Both acetone and also denatured alcohol are used as fuel additives. They room both degreasers, cleaners, and useful in the production of petroleum products. Both are taken into consideration solvents, due to their ability to dissolve miscellaneous substances.

Effect top top Clear timber Finish

Acetone and also denatured alcohol have the right to both be provided to piece the finish off wood. One of two people solvent will help remove lacquer, varnish, shellac, or polyurethane, although stronger commodities such as lacquer or varnish stripper could be necessary in some cases.


These two compounds are chemically distinct and also have various effects, despite their functions overlap.


Acetone is a non-toxic, naturally developing organic compound. Denatured alcohol is a highly toxic manufactured substance do from ethanol and also other additives. Acetone is safe enough to be used in pharmaceutical applications, while denatured alcohol is poisonous.

Effect top top Plastic

Because countless plastics room formulated utilizing acetone or acetone-like compounds, exposure to acetone can have a damaging effect on part plastics. Denatured alcohol is safe for cleaning plastic.

Major separating Factor

The best difference between these 2 solvents is the materials and also substances castle are qualified of dissolving.

Either problem will remove grease or adhesive.

Denatured alcohol will certainly strip clear, film-forming finishes. It will not dissolve paint.

Acetone not only eats with varnish, shellac, lacquer, and polyurethane, it will certainly dissolve many paints and many plastics.

When to use Acetone

Use acetone to remove melted polystyrene, PVC, or similar plastics.

Pure acetone have the right to be used to thin lacquer and significantly rate dry time, reducing the danger of streaks and also drips. When merged with various other solvents in lacquer thinner, acetone helps adjust the viscosity of the complete without speeding the dry time also much.

Acetone is the an initial substance you should turn to as soon as confronting stubborn stains ~ above porcelain. Rings around the bathtub or the bottom that a coffee cup will disappear after being soaked through acetone and also water.

When to use Denatured Alcohol

Use denatured alcohol to clean plastic, and also for DIY or woodworking jobs that include shellac.

Denatured alcohol is just one of the an essential ingredients in shellac (the other being lac resin). It can be provided to thin shellac come the ideal viscosity, to settle mistakes make in application, come refresh a tired shellac finish, or to remove shellac entirely.

Denatured alcohol should additionally be used when household plants have a mealybug or red spider mite infestation.

Which Is Better, Acetone or Denatured Alcohol?

Denatured alcohol is better when you want to dissolve a clear finish without disturbing the paint underneath, and also for clean plastic.

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Acetone is better for stripping paint, remove melted plastic, and cleaning porcelain.

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