Pure acetone is an organic solvent that is miscible with water and has important applications in chemistry laboratories. One of its principle uses is as a cleanser for lab equipment between uses. It is also an effective nail polish remover and can be combined with other molecules to build complex organic compounds.
Acetone is a volatile, flammable compound that is a colorless liquid at room temperature. Though acetone is intrinsically odorless, commercial products that incorporate acetone often add a powerful aromatic ingredient as a safety measure. This is what gives acetone nail polish remover its characteristic scent.
As a solvent, acetone is extremely useful in dissolving paint and varnish, as well as non-polar solutes, such as oil, lipids and hydrocarbon-based compounds, such as plastic and petroleum-based resins. Acetone, as a solvent, is used in the manufacture of nylon, celluloid and many synthetic polymers. While pure acetone is volatile, it can be used to safely clean sensitive equipment and is often employed as a scrubbing agent in dry cleaning.
Acetone is potentially harmful if it comes into contact with mucous membranes or is swallowed. Acetone is often a component of particle board, furniture polish and some detergents, so care should be exercised in handling or disposing of these products.