Acetone is a dangerous solvent that can cause health and environmental problems if not properly recycled. If you work in a nail salon or use it to clean coins, you will need to wash your hands and dispose of the acetone cleaner in the correct containers. Store soaked rags in bins and take them to the hazardous waste dump. Paint thinner must be sifted into a sealable jar and placed in a metal garbage can that is hammered to.
Method 1 of 3: Dispose of acetone cleaning products
Step 1. Put small amounts of acetone in a trash bag
Put the cotton balls or swabs in a small trash bag, tie the bag tightly, and throw it in the trash. Wash off any remaining acetone from your hands after handling the cotton balls.
- If the cotton balls are soaked in nail polish remover, don't forget to wring them out into a separate container with a sturdy lid. Throw the container away as hazardous waste.
- Use trash cans with self-opening and closing lids to avoid contact with acetone and other hazardous waste that you throw away.
Step 2. Take old nail polish and nail polish remover to the hazardous waste landfill
If you have bottles of nail polish and remover that your studio no longer wants to keep, put them in separate bins from the rest of your recycling. Take these containers to a hazardous waste site.
- You can find hazardous waste landfills in Germany here:
- Don't pour your acetone polish remover down the drain or toilet.
- Avoid throwing large amounts of acetone in the regular trash.
Step 3. Take any leftover acetone to the hazardous waste landfill
Put it in a leak-proof container away from anything that could swallow it. Acetone is flammable, so keep it away from hot surfaces and open flames.
If you use acetone to purify coins, you can sieve out solids and reuse it. You can also dispose of it in the correct containers at a hazardous waste landfill
Step 4. Wash your hands after using an acetone product
This is a very important part of the acetone disposal. Even after you've thrown all of your products away and stowed them away, it's vital to your health that you wash your hands. You shouldn't have harmful chemicals on your hands when you eat something on your lunch break! After handling nail polish remover, scrub your hands with soap and water.
If possible, go outside for some fresh air. You need to take a break from the studio chemicals or you may experience symptoms such as drowsiness and headaches
Step 5. Close containers and wear masks to protect yourself from vapors
When you're not using an acetone product, seal it tightly. If it's a bottle of nail polish remover, make sure the cap is screwed on tight enough that it doesn't leak.
- Reduce your exposure to acetone by wearing a special mask with an air filter in it. The mask must be MSHA approved. One type of mask is the N95, which filters out some acrylic powder, dust, germs and some chemical odors. However, it doesn't filter out every chemical.
- Another type of mask is a half-mask respirator. This filters out acetone vapors, as well as all other harmful, toxic smells.
Method 2 of 3: Get rid of rags soaked in acetone
Step 1. Collect soaked rags in hazardous waste bins
If you work in a university lab or art department, regulations require you to put acetone-covered rags in hazardous waste drums, bins, and safety cans. Acetone is flammable, so if you have rags soaked in acetone paint thinner, put it in a tightly closed container of water. Hammer down the edges of the lid firmly.
If possible, dry the rags in a well-ventilated area where the wind won't blow them away. After they dry, put them in a fireproof bag to take to the hazardous waste landfill
Step 2. Contact your university to have these tons picked up
If you need to have your acetone waste collected, contact the university you work for to collect hazardous waste materials.
Step 3. Take your soaked rags to the hazardous waste landfill
If you have any unused acetone products, take them to a hazardous waste disposal site. Make sure they are locked in hazardous waste bins to prevent leakage.
Your community may have regular rubbish collections, so check with the local government when they happen
Method 3 of 3: Throw away acetone paint thinner
Step 1. Find your local hazardous waste site
A simple online search for your local landfill should also find their guidelines for disposing of acetone. Different cities and towns have different policies, so be sure to read what your local landfill requires you to do.
The Federal Environment Agency provides information on how to look for local hazardous waste landfills
Step 2. Sieve acetone paint thinner through a coffee filter into a screw top jar
Pour used paint thinner over a screw-top jar through a coffee filter. Color collects in the filter and the dilution drains cleanly into the glass. Close the lid tightly and take it to your local hazardous waste landfill.
- Let the coffee filters and paint dry. Then wrap them in newspaper before throwing them in the trash,
- You can also reuse the paint thinner. Be sure to label the jar with what type of paint thinner it is and on what date it was sieved.
Step 3. Dry and wrap the remaining paint
After it settles in the coffee filter, let the paint harden before throwing it away. Wrap it in newspaper or plastic bags and throw it in the trash when it is completely dry.
Always wear gloves and a mask to protect yourself from the fumes in the paint thinner
- If you work in a nail salon, don't wear a regular pulp-stuffed dust mask as it won't protect you from harmful acetone fumes.
- Do not leave acetone on a hot surface or near an open flame as it is highly flammable in liquid and vaporized form.