Difference Between Acetone and Non-Acetone

Acetone and non-acetone are two common solvents used for various applications, including cleaning, painting, and cosmetics. While they share some similarities, they also have several differences that make them suitable for different purposes. In this essay, we will explore the difference between acetone vs. non-acetone in terms of their properties, uses, and safety.

What is Acetone?

Acetone is a clear, colorless, and highly flammable liquid that has a strong odor. It is a type of organic solvent that can dissolve many substances, including plastic, rubber, and paint. Acetone is also highly volatile, meaning it evaporates quickly, leaving no residue behind. Due to its properties, acetone is widely used in industrial processes, including manufacturing, cleaning, and degreasing.

Formation − In industry, the acetone can be made by a process known as the cumene hydroperoxide method. Acetone is also made in the human body as a byproduct of the breakdown of fats and conversion to ketone bodies. It is formed in large amounts in people who have uncontrolled diabetes with ketoacidosis.

Uses of Acetone − Acetone is a substance that is often used in the cosmetics industry to remove nail polish and it is used to also strip paint. Acetone is used as a solvent to remove lacquers and inks, and it is often used to make artificial fibers. It has also been shown to inhibit the growth of bacteria such as Aerobacter aerogenes, and so can be used as a bacteriostatic agent.

Safety − Acetone is relatively safe to use provided that sufficient and adequate precautions are taken when using it and it is used in very small amounts. This is because the vapors that are given off can be very irritating to both the eyes and various mucus membranes. If spilled on the skin it can cause some irritation and dermatitis. It is also important to remember that it is a flammable substance so care should be taken not to use it near an ignition source.

What is Non-Acetone?

Non-acetone is the name most commonly used to refer to the chemical ethyl acetate which has the formula C4H8O2 and is used as an alternative instead of acetone in nail polish remover.

Properties − The molecular weight of ethyl-acetate is 88.106g/mol, and it is a clear liquid that has no color. It does also have a distinctive sweet smell to it that has been described as being like that of a pineapple and it is a flammable substance. Ethyl acetate is a type of molecule that is known as an ester, and it is also a flammable liquid.

Formation − Ethyl acetate can be manufactured commercially by a method that is called the Tischenko condensation reaction. It can also be made by the esterification of acetic acid and ethanol and is formed by several different microbes including the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae and the bacterium Staphylococcus.

Uses − There are many uses for ethyl acetate including use as nail polish remover. It is also used by entomologists to kill insects for pinning purposes since it keeps the insect body reasonably pliable and easy to manipulate. It is also used in the alcoholic beverage industry but can spoil wine if the concentrations of the ethyl acetate are too high. This substance is also used to remove the caffeine from tea and coffee. Non-acetone (ethyl acetate) is a useful solvent that is also found in many adhesive products.

Safety − Ethyl acetate can be dangerous if people are not careful and are exposed to large amounts. The substance can cause irritation to the eye and can result in actual eye damage. It can cause irritation to the breathing passages and can cause a headache. This is also a very flammable liquid that should not be exposed to any type of ignition source.

Differences: Acetone vs. Non-acetone

One of the main differences between acetone and non-acetone is their effectiveness in dissolving certain substances. Acetone is a more potent solvent than non-acetone and can dissolve a wider range of substances, including plastic and rubber. However, this property also makes acetone unsuitable for use on some materials, such as painted surfaces, as it can strip the paint. Non-acetone, on the other hand, is less aggressive and can be used on more delicate surfaces without causing damage.

Another difference between acetone and non-acetone is their evaporation rate. Acetone evaporates much faster than non-acetone, which means it dries more quickly. This property makes acetone ideal for use in applications where a quick-drying solvent is required, such as in manufacturing or cleaning. Non-acetone, on the other hand, evaporates more slowly, which means it stays wetter for longer. This property makes it more suitable for use in applications where a longer working time is required, such as in nail polish remover or cosmetic products.

In terms of safety, both acetone and non-acetone have some risks associated with their use. Acetone is highly flammable and can ignite easily, so it should be handled with care and kept away from heat sources. Acetone can also be harmful if ingested or inhaled, and prolonged exposure can cause skin irritation or dermatitis. Non-acetone is generally considered safer than acetone, as it is less flammable and less aggressive. However, it can still be harmful if ingested or inhaled, and prolonged exposure can cause skin irritation or dryness.





Acetone is the substance that is also known as dimethyl ketone that has the molecular formula of CH3COCH3 or C3H6O.

Non-acetone is the substance that is also known as ethyl acetate that has the molecular formula C4H8O.

Molecular weight

The molecular weight of acetone is 58.07 g/mol.

The molecular weight of non-acetone is 88.106g/mol.

Type of molecule

Acetone is a molecule known as a ketone.

Non-acetone is a molecule known as an ester.

Formation in industry

The cumene hydroperoxide process is used to form acetone in industry.

The Tischenko condensation process is used to form non-acetone (ethyl acetate) in industry.

Formation in nature

Acetone is formed in the human body during times when fats are broken down to produce ketone bodies.

Ethyl acetate (non-acetone) is produced by microbes such as yeasts and certain bacteria.


The odor of acetone is usually described as fruity.

The odor of non-acetone is described as sweet.


Acetone can be used as a nail polish remover, to remove inks, paints, and lacquers; to manufacture fibers and for use as a bacteriostatic agent.

Non-acetone can be used as a nail polish remover, in alcoholic beverages, adhesives, for the decaffeination of tea and coffee, and to kill insects for pinning.


In conclusion, acetone and non-acetone are two types of organic solvents that have different properties, uses, and safety considerations.

Updated on: 30-Mar-2023


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