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Can you pour acetone down the drain?

You may be surprised to learn that acetone is commonly used as a solvent for other products. It can be found in nail polish remover, adhesives, and paint strippers. It means it’s widely available at hardware stores and is commonly found in most households either from these products or cleaning solutions. For all of these reasons, there’s a chance you could run across acetone before too long. But what should you do if that happens? How to store or dispose of this chemical properly?

Pouring acetone down the drain seems like it would be okay for such a commonly used chemical, but it is not true! 

Never pour acetone down a drain. This is because Acetone is a potent solvent that can cause severe problems with your home plumbing and environment. Water treatment facilities cannot clean chemicals in the water, so pouring acetone into the drain can raise environmental concerns.

A bottle of acetone

Acetone can be very dangerous if it accidentally enters the water supply, so proper disposal of acetone (or any other chemical) is essential. This article covers how to dispose of acetone properly and store it properly. I am also sharing some valuable tips on safely using acetone for different purposes, so keep reading!

What is acetone?

Acetone is a solvent found in some everyday household products, including nail polish remover, lacquer thinner, paint solvents, etc. It is used in several industrial manufacturing processes as well. This chemical is colorless and has a very distinctive sweet odor. Exposure to large amounts of acetone can cause nausea, dizziness, headaches, and drowsiness. 

What is acetone used for?

Its primary purpose is to dissolve other substances and remove them from surfaces. It is widely used in nail salons and many DIY projects. It has many uses in laboratories, medicine, and cosmetics. Some other uses of acetone are in:

  • Paint stripping as a solvent
  • Manufacturing of carpet adhesives
  • Polystyrene production
  • Varnishes and wood stains as varnish solvent
  • Machinery repair and manufacturing as cleaning solvent
  • SBR latex production
  • Electroplating as cold-cleaner and vapor degreaser
  • Printing industries

How dangerous is acetone?

Handle acetone while taking all necessary precautions to prevent any unfavorable situation or accidents. Even though acetone is considered nontoxic, its inhalation can cause mild effects on your health, including nausea, drowsiness, and headaches. 

Moreover, constant contact with acetone can lead to dermatitis, a skin disease resulting from exposure to irritants. And if you swallow it or allow it to come in contact with your eyes, then there’s a risk of irritation or even temporary blindness. You should take immediate action if you think you may have swallowed acetone.

Why You Shouldn’t pour acetone down the drain?

There are many reasons for not pouring acetone into the drain. If you care about the environment and your house, avoid taking this chemical anywhere near your sink. Pouring acetone down the drain is the worst way of getting rid of this substance.

Researching how other people went about disposing of acetone will ensure that you don’t make any costly mistakes and also allow you to save a lot of time!

Let’s see why we should never pour it down the drain.

It can destroy plumbing

Is acetone damaging for house plumbing? The answer depends on how much acetone you’re pouring down your drain and what kind of plumbing you have. On its own, acetone should pose no problems for copper and iron pipes, but over time acetone can cause galvanized steel and PVC pipes to decompose when mixed with tap water.

It damages environment

According to experts, pouring acetone down your drain is bad for local ecosystems. In high concentrations, acetone can cause illness and contaminate soil, water, and air. For example, improperly discarded acetone reaches the groundwater and can cause adverse health effects in anyone who drinks from affected water sources. To avoid damaging your local ecosystem with discarded acetone products, take steps to ensure that they’re disposed of properly.

It is highly flammable

Acetone can ignite very quickly because it is a highly flammable chemical. If poured down the sinkhole, there’s a chance its vapors can catch fire in drains and result in an explosion in the drain pipes that can have dangerous consequences. 

What if I accidentally spill nail polish remover in my drain?

A small quantity of remover will not cause substantial damage to your PVC plumbing. However, it can still cause some weak spots if accumulated there for a while. So, open the tap and let lots of water run through the pipes for your peace of mind.

Next time you use your remover, do it on a hard surface, so such accidents don’t happen again.

Safety precautions for handling and disposing of acetone

Acetone is a dangerous chemical, so you need to take great care while using, disposing of, or storing it. You will need the following items to ensure your safety when handling acetone:

  • Face mask (if handling large amounts of acetone)
  • Safety gloves
  • Garbage bag
  • Sealable metal bin

If you run a beauty salon or nail business, it is better to contact your local fire department for instructions on disposing of acetone properly. In most cases, you will need fireproof containers to dispose of acetone. Also, you must get information regarding hazardous waste disposal in your state.

How to properly dispose of acetone?

Acetone isn’t exactly something you need every day. Still, it can be hazardous to dispose of the acetone leftover from homemade products, especially if you don’t know what you’re doing.

However, with these DIY acetone disposal tips, you can make sure that your acetone goes where it needs to go without harming yourself or the environment in the process. Make sure you follow these steps before throwing away any acetone bottles in regular trash!

Industrial disposal of acetone

If you are an industry looking to dispose of acetone on an industrial scale, you need to contact a company offering acetone disposal services to manufacturing facilities. You will have to fulfill all the requirements to eliminate industrial size acetone waste. Just make sure that you are not pouring this amount of acetone down your drain!

Disposing of small quantities of acetone

Small quantities of acetone can be disposed of in a usual way as they don’t pose any danger to the environment.

You can put cotton balls or swabs in a plastic bag and throw them in your regular trash. However, suppose you have a considerable amount of these acetone-drenched cotton balls, swabs, or rags. In that case, it is better to take them to a hazardous waste disposal and recycling facility in a sealed container.

Disposing of large quantities of acetone

Never dispose of large quantities of acetone in outdoor drains. It is a dangerous practice because it can contaminate local groundwater supplies. If you have to dispose of large amounts of acetone, consider contacting your county office or regional EPA offices for information on how to dispose of hazardous chemicals properly. Depending on where you live, free or low-cost options may be available to help manage your chemical waste disposal.

Disposing of acetone paint thinner

Wear safety gear to protect yourself from acetone fumes before you start disposing. Use a coffee filter to strain the used paint thinner in a glass container with a secure lid. The paint will begin gathering in the filter while the thinner will be collected in the container.

When the paint in the coffee filter dries up, wrap it in newspaper and throw it away in the trash. You can use the collected thinner again or take it to a hazardous waste disposal facility.

Disposing of empty bottles and leftover acetone

While empty acetone bottles cannot be put in the regular trash, they can be safely disposed of in other ways. Keep collecting empty nail polish bottles, remover bottles, and acetone bottles in a container and store them in a safe place until you are ready to take them to a hazardous waste facility.

Moreover, put leftover acetone in a sealed container and put it away from hot surfaces or fire.

Find a nearby hazardous waste collection facility by visiting the EPA website and putting your zip code into it. Drop the containers off at your local facility. These facilities will dispose of items for free.

When to call a professional waste disposal company

Though acetone is a common ingredient in nail polish remover, it’s also used as a solvent and can be found in many cleaning products. Suppose you use these products often or have large quantities of acetone on hand. In that case, you may want to consider hiring a professional waste disposal company to dispose of your unwanted acetone regularly.

So, these are more responsible ways to get rid of unwanted chemicals like acetone. Give your local hazardous waste facility a call if you need help to dispose of any harmful chemicals or have any other questions regarding disposal procedures.

How to store acetone properly?

Storing acetone needs as much attention and care as disposing of it. Pour acetone in an airtight container. Then, keep this container safely in a cool, dry place. Use caution when transferring it from one container to another to ensure you don’t spill any on yourself or ignite it accidentally—care and proper storage decrease the chances of a fire hazard.

If you’re planning on storing large quantities of acetone for an extended period, talk with your local hazardous waste disposal company about how best to store it correctly and safely.

Can you reuse acetone?

You cannot reuse acetone if you have used it to remove your nail polish!

But many situations allow you to reuse acetone. For example, you can reuse acetone collected while disposing of acetone thinner. Also, you can reuse acetone after cleaning coins in it. Just filter out any impurities, and you are good to go.

Safety tips for handling acetone

Acetone itself is relatively harmless—it’s its chemical reaction with other things that makes it dangerous. Coming in contact with small amounts of acetone does not pose any threat. However, it’s better to take safety measures even if you are handling a small quantity of acetone.

Here are some helpful safety tips for handling acetone:

  • Work with acetone in a room that has good ventilation
  • Use a smooth and hard surface for work so cleaning up any spills is easier 
  • Avoid working on an absorbent surface as it can soak up acetone
  • Always wear gloves, mask, and goggles if you are using acetone in your DIY project
  • Don’t forget to wash your hands after handling acetone
  • Get a license or permit if working with large quantities of acetone
  • Properly dispose of acetone soaked cotton or rags in a designated garbage bag

Acetone can be very dangerous if it comes into contact with your skin or eyes. While there are precautions you can take when working with acetone, it’s a good idea to have an escape plan in place and keep your emergency phone numbers on hand just in case something goes wrong.

Wrap up

If you want to use acetone in a small quantity around your home, it’s generally safe if it’s disposed of correctly. While you should always be careful not to pour chemicals or cleaning solutions down your drains, be extra cautious while disposing of acetone. Running acetone down your sinkhole can have devastating implications for the house’s plumbing. If you are doing a massive cleaning project and need to use up large quantities of acetone, use proper disposal methods as mentioned in this article.

When dealing with chemicals like acetone, it’s best to handle it correctly from beginning to end. Take care not to spill or waste too much of your solvent. Get rid of a full bottle through proper recycling channels, and make sure that you aren’t disposing of any chemicals improperly in your trash can. We should all do our part to help ensure that chemical substances don’t find their way into our waterways.

My name is Thomas Anderson, and I have worked briefly as a plumber. Even though I am currently working on a different career path I still help out my friends and family with their plumbing issues. This is a hobby blog where I share my knowledge with the audience through random articles. Through this blog, I hope to address some common questions about garbage disposals.