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How Do I Get Rid of the Smell of Acetone?

By Tara Barnett
Updated May 16, 2024
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Getting rid of the smell of acetone can be accomplished in a number of ways depending on what is causing the smell. If acetone has spilled somewhere, the initial spill must be cleaned up in order to stop the smell from continuing to permeate the space. On the other hand, if the smell is caused by frequent use of acetone, it may be sufficient to cover the smell or introduce objects that absorb odors easily. A major problem when attempting to remove an acetone smell is that frequent use will eventually cause the particles causing the odor to permeate all porous objects. Prevention is usually the best path when you do not wish for an area to smell of acetone permanently.

Acetone, which is commonly found in nail polish remover, has an extremely strong scent in part because the liquid evaporates easily. Whenever the bottle is opened, the smell of acetone will fill a poorly ventilated space. Odors, pleasant and unpleasant, are all caused by this process of introducing small, evaporated particles to the air. In order to get rid of the odor, it is necessary to simply remove these particles.

One way to accomplish this feat is to ventilate the area well. Once the particles are spread out sufficiently, they are no longer detectable to the human nose. If this is not an option, there are many objects that can be used to absorb the odor, thereby removing it from the air. Cat litter, for example, is very efficient at absorbing odors, as are coffee and baking soda. When possible, absorption should always be combined with a ventilation tactic, as ventilation provides immediate relief.

If the smell of acetone remains after these measures have been taken, the problem is likely more dire than the mere occasional use of an acetone-containing product. It is absolutely essential to address the source prior to cleaning the air. When acetone has accidentally spilled on carpet or another surface that is holding the liquid and allowing it to evaporate, particles will continue to be released and no efforts to absorb them will beat the efficiency of that process.

When all else fails, it is often possible to simply cover up the smell of acetone with scents that are stronger. Perfumes and air fresheners can accomplish this task, but these can be overwhelming at strengths necessary to cover up acetone. Many people find that potpourri and even simple citrus peels can freshen up a room in a way that does not overwhelm the senses.

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Discussion Comments
By watson42 — On Jul 21, 2011

@afterall- I have heard of similar methods using coffee grounds, which absorb smell really easily. I think it might work for something like acetone, you just might have to do it several times, by switching out for new grounds every couple of days or so.

By afterall — On Jul 20, 2011

My aunt used to use baking soda to remove scents related to cleaners or other household products. I do not know if it would work with acetone smell, but it couldn't hurt to try. She used to fill a small bowl with baking soda in whatever room had the scent problem and then let it sit for a few days; if you are worried about it being knocked over you can cover it partially.

I don't guarantee it will work forever, but she swears by it.

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