In this article, us compare and contrast two popular solvents; acetone, and also denatured alcohol. After ~ revealing their properties, we’ll explain when to usage acetone, and when denatured alcohol is a better choice. Together with revealing the significant differentiating factor, we’ll tell you which is 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 develop petroleum products, including plastic. Top top its own, it is provided as a cleaner, solvent, degreaser, and also thinner.


Acetone Uses

Acetone’s many popular family use is in pond polish remover. Roughly the house, acetone can be provided to eliminate scuff marks native floors or unstick super glue from wood, despite it needs to be wiped away v water ~ doing it’s task to stop damaging the surface.

When porcelain tubs, sinks, or even coffee cups end up being stained, acetone combined with water is really effective cleansing agent.

Acetone is highly effective as a degreaser. The is supplied to remove the oils existing in wool, to do the fiber an ideal for use in the textile industry. That is additionally commonly supplied to piece silk gum from silk fibers, making castle shinier and smoother.

Although that is non-toxic enough for restricted external usage (extended contact with acetone can cause dermatitis), acetone has more powerful applications for woodworking together well.

Acetone is supplied to adjust the viscosity the lacquer, specifically lacquer offered in the automotive industry. Because of its rapid evaporation rate, acetone helps keep automotive lacquer from dripping or streaking while the dries.

For various other lacquer applications, pure acetone occasionally makes the end up dry as well fast. In this case, it can be combined with other solvents to slow-moving the dried time. Lacquer thinners are made native a combination of acetone and one or much more other solvents, such together amyl acetate, ethyl acetate, keotone, or toluene.

Acetone Characteristics

Acetone has actually low chronic and acute toxicity. This means that temporary or permanent exposure come acetone is unlikely to reason a harmful immune response. In fact, acetone is naturally developed by the human body together a byproduct that breaking under fat.

However, acetone is mildly irritating come the skin, nose, and also throat, and should not be ingested. Making use of acetone in a well-ventilated environment helps mitigate the risk of unpleasant side results from inhaling acetone fumes.

Plastics created with acetone or acetone-like substances can be damaged, smeared, or even dissolved by acetone. Polystyrene and also PVC space two together plastics. Whereby melted plastic has actually adhered to another surface, rubbing the influenced area through acetone have the right to be one effective technique of removal.

What Is Denatured Alcohol?

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

To do denatured alcohol, one additive is mixed in through ethanol. The most usual additive is 5-10% methanol, a very toxic liquid. For this reason denatured alcohol is periodically referred to as ‘methylated spirits’.


Whatever additive is favored by the manufacturer, the result is the same: making the alcohol unfit for person consumption. Every denatured alcohols space toxic if ingested. Most have a solid unpleasant aroma and a bad taste. Blue or violet coloring is commonly used (and sometimes mandated) to advertise the undrinkability of this useful liquid.

Denatured alcohol can be provided in its pure form or diluted with water.

Denatured Alcohol Uses

Pure denatured alcohol is often used in woodworking, particularly when working with shellac. Shellac is formulated from resin and also denatured alcohol. The lot of denatured alcohol added to the resin determines the thickness that this renowned finish. Because denatured alcohol dissolves shellac, it can be supplied to recreation or remove an existing shellac finish.

In automotive and manufacturing circles, pure denatured alcohol is known for its an effective degreasing properties. Since it evaporates quickly, that is regularly used come clean and also degrease metal, leave behind a clean, dry surface without risking corrosion. It can additionally be used to breakdown glue.

When diluted with water, denatured alcohol effectively removes mold and mildew growth, cleans windows without leaving streaks behind, and also can even remove ink stains from clothing.

This functional chemical link can reason irritation ~ above exposure to the skin. Inhalation of denatured alcohol fumes can reason dizziness and nausea. Gulp down of this toxicity substance is incredibly dangerous and requires the attention of poison control.

Like all alcohols, denatured alcohol is extremely flammable, and also should never ever be provided or stored close to sources of heat, ignition, or open up flames. Take care to ensure a well-ventilated working area as soon as using denatured alcohol, and always protect yourself with safety and security glasses and also chemically resistant gloves.

Acetone vs Denatured Alcohol

These two chemical compound have many similarities, and also can be used for the same functions in some instances. However, they are additionally distinctly different.


The major similarities between denatured alcohol and acetone room their appearance, purpose, and also the result they have actually on perfect wood.


Acetone and denatured alcohol room both normally clear, watery liquids. Fabricated coloring is often added to denatured alcohol as result of regulations, and also to acetone once it is marketed as a cosmetic product for removing nail polish.


Both acetone and denatured alcohol are used as fuel additives. They space both degreasers, cleaners, and useful in the production of petroleum products. Both are thought about solvents, because of their ability to dissolve miscellaneous substances.

Effect on Clear lumber Finish

Acetone and denatured alcohol have the right to both be supplied to strip the end up off wood. Either solvent will aid remove lacquer, varnish, shellac, or polyurethane, return stronger assets such as lacquer or varnish stripper might be crucial in part cases.


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


Acetone is a non-toxic, naturally occurring organic compound. Denatured alcohol is a very toxic produced substance made from ethanol and also other additives. Acetone is safe sufficient to be used in pharmaceutical applications, while denatured alcohol is poisonous.

Effect ~ above Plastic

Because plenty of plastics are formulated using acetone or acetone-like compounds, exposure to acetone have the right to have a damaging result on some plastics. Denatured alcohol is for sure for cleaning plastic.

Major separating Factor

The best difference in between these two solvents is the materials and also substances they are qualified of dissolving.

Either problem will remove grease or adhesive.

Denatured alcohol will strip clear, film-forming finishes. It will certainly not dissolve paint, yet can be supplied as a component of a repaint removal process. 

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 eliminate melted polystyrene, PVC, or comparable plastics.

Pure acetone can be used to thin lacquer and also significantly speed dry time, to reduce the hazard of streaks and drips. When merged with various other solvents in lacquer thinner, acetone helps adjust the viscosity that the end up without speeding the dried time as well much.

Acetone is the first substance you need to turn to as soon as confronting stubborn stains top top porcelain. Rings roughly the bathtub or the bottom of a coffee cup will disappear after gift soaked v acetone and also water.

When to usage Denatured Alcohol

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

Denatured alcohol is just one of the key ingredients in shellac (the other being lac resin). It deserve to be offered to slim shellac come the proper viscosity, to resolve mistakes make in application, to refresh a tired shellac finish, or to remove shellac entirely.

Denatured alcohol should additionally be offered when family members plants have actually a mealybug or red spider mite infestation.

Which Is Better, Acetone or Denatured Alcohol?

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

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

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