This Is How Long It Takes Nail Polish Remover to Evaporate




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You probably bought a nail polish remover but then noticed that it finished way too fast. You had expected it to last you at least a few weeks before you buy a new one, but it’s only three days, and it’s finished. What could have happened? Your nail polish remover evaporated. But, how long does it take to evaporate? 

Nail polish remover contains acetone, which has a low boiling point of 56 degrees. At this boiling point, the acetone evaporates even at room temperature. The time taken for the nail polish remover to evaporate is dependent on the percentage of acetone present in the remover. 

Different nail polish remover products have acetone in varying percentages. For example, one nail polish remover can have 80% acetone, while another has 20% acetone. There are even those with 100% acetone. This article discusses how acetone evaporates in a bid to explain how long it takes nail polish remover to evaporate. 

Onyx Professional 100% Acetone Nail Polish Remover Kit, Includes 1 Fancy Me Nail File, 16 Fl Oz

Does Acetone Evaporate if Left Open? 

You already know that your nail polish remover contains a certain percentage of acetone. You can check the exact percentage of the one you have from the list of ingredients. This percentage will determine how fast your nail polish remover will evaporate. 

Acetone will evaporate if you leave it open. It’ll only take a few seconds, and the bottle will be empty. This is because of acetone’s low boiling point. Like other liquids, acetone has a vapor pressure that determines how quickly it evaporates when the boiling point is reached. 

When the bottle containing the acetone is closed, equilibrium is reached between the vapor pressure of the acetone and the atmospheric pressure, so no evaporation takes place. In other words, the rate of evaporation of the acetone is equal to the rate of condensation, so there’s a balance.

However, if you open the bottle, trapped acetone molecules will disperse, and this equilibrium is broken. More molecules will rise in order to balance the equilibrium. At this point, evaporation is taking place and continues until the lid is placed back on or the remover is finished. 

If left open for a while, all the acetone molecules will evaporate, leaving an empty bottle. To experience even faster acetone evaporation, try pouring out some acetone on your palm and watch it. It will disappear within seconds. This is because of the body temperature (37 degrees), which quickens the evaporation compared to room temperature (25 degrees). 

As a member of the ketone family, acetone molecules have weak hydrogen bonds binding them. These bonds easily break at room temperature, and that’s why evaporation is possible at room temperature. With the higher body temperature, these hydrogen bonds break much faster, so evaporation appears faster. 

If your nail polish remover is not working, here you can read more about that.

How Long Will It Take Nail Polish Remover to Evaporate? 

This is a practical exercise that you can do as you observe and record the time for nail polish removers of different acetone concentrations. You can also test the evaporation rates against water and compare the time it will take for each. 

The expected result for the experiment is that for nail polish with higher acetone percentages, the evaporation rate will be increased, while for those with lower acetone percentages, the evaporation rate will be low, thus taking more time to evaporate. 

If you’re planning to test the acetone on your nails, it’s recommended that you use nail polish remover that has acetone percentages between 20%-50% so that you don’t harm your skin or damage your cuticles. 

You can as well leave a similar amount of acetone in open bottles and time them. Record the time and observe the difference in the time taken by the nail polish removers of different acetone concentrations. A bottle of 240ml with nail polish remover with 50% acetone concentration would take about seven days to evaporate completely. 

You can use a small amount of the nail polish remover in your experiment, maybe about 5ml. It will reduce your waiting time and give you results that you can work with an estimated time for more amounts.

When you compare the evaporation of acetone against that of water, you’ll realize that acetone evaporates faster than water at room temperature. Water boils at 100 degrees and has stronger O-H bonds which don’t easily break at room temperature. Even though water still evaporates at room temperate, the process is prolonged, and you can hardly notice it. 

On the other hand, acetone has weak hydrogen bonds, which break easily at low temperatures. At room temperatures, the bonds break, allowing the molecules to rise freely. The process of evaporation for acetone is fast such that you can notice it. After a few minutes, you can see a difference in the acetone level before and after exposure. 

What Should You Do To Stop Your Nail Polish Remover from Evaporating? 

There’s no way to stop the continuous evaporation process, and acetone will evaporate rapidly at any opportunity it gets to do so.  Therefore, it’s essential to employ some measures to ensure it lasts you long enough and you get value for your money. 

They include:

  1. Always keep the bottle lid on. 

One of the reasons your nail polish remover finished so fast is because you probably left the bottle open for some time, giving it a chance to evaporate. To ensure that your nail polish remover lasts, always keep the bottle closed. You are already familiar with the vapor pressure balance that will take place in the bottle to keep it from evaporating when not in use. 

  1. Keep the bottle closed between applications. 

You may not have paid attention to this, but some acetone evaporates in between applications if you leave the bottle open. When applying from one nail to another, ensure you keep the bottle closed. If left unattended, there will be a significant amount of acetone lost in the air. 

  1. Dispense the nail polish remover through a push-down dispenser. 

This is the most effective way to ensure that no acetone evaporates. You’ll only need to push down the button at the top of the dispenser. The dispenser will provide you with the amount you need and automatically close back before any evaporation takes place. 

Most of these dispensers are designed with strong material that remains intact even if the bottle falls. The hassle of opening and closing the lid is also taken away so you can use it conveniently. 


Nail polish removers play an important role in the nail beauty and technology industry. But its high evaporation rate leaves users looking for other alternatives to help get rid of stubborn nail polish on the nails. If this has been a concern for you, too, you can employ the different methods discussed in this article to ensure that you’re not losing too much of your nail polish remover. 


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