Is Nail Polish Remover Flammable? Here’s What You Should Know

Some beauty routines, such as nail polish application, are quick and easy. And many times, when applying nail polish, it's common for the polish to get to the cuticles and other surrounding areas around the nail. A nail polish remover makes it easy to clean up polish blobs and remove old polish when ready for a fresh manicure.

Most women and even men have purchased and used a nail polish remover at some point. But have you ever thought of the many fire hazards surrounding this liquid?

Is Nail Polish Remover Flammable

Is Nail Polish Remover Flammable? 

Yes, nail polish remover is flammable. It will catch fire when exposed to any ignition source, such as an open flame. A volatile acetone base is a common ingredient in nail polish remover. After opening the remover, you can smell toxic fumes.

When the remover is drying out, acetone vapor is emitted, which is highly combustible. But nail polish remover is not viewed as explosive, despite its volatile and flammability traits. As long as vigilance is maintained, purchasing and applying the chemical shouldn't be scary.

What Is Nail Polish Remover?

Nail polish remover is an effective liquid for removing acrylics and nail polish. The liquid is widely used in beauty salons and even for personal care. The liquid is an organic solvent comprising scents, oils, coloring, and solvents.

Acetone or ethyl acetate is the main ingredient as they are excellent substance dissolvers that aid in removing nail polish effortlessly. All you need is to soak a few cotton balls in the substance, then rub off the polish from the nails! 

The substance is sometimes harsh to the cuticles and surrounding skin and can dry up the nails. In addition, some people with allergies experience sneezing and stuffed-up noses when they inhale the smell of opened nail polish remover.

What's In Nail Polish Remover?

Nail polish remover contains several ingredients, but the main one is acetone-based liquid as it quickly dissolves other substances. Acetone is an excellent liquid solvent and a powerful stain and polish remover.

But different types of nail remover contain ethyl acetate compounds, making the remover more gentle to the skin and nails than acetone-based types.

Below are other ingredients common in a nail polish remover:

  • Xylene acts as a solvent liquid in nail polish remover. 
  • Isopropyl Alcohol is a powerful and colorless ingredient common in nail polish remover and nail polish.
  • Ethyl Acetate is an acetone substitute.
  • Butyl Acetate is a colorless ester and helps to give some fruity scent to nail polish remover.
  • Methane ingredients are usually present in non-acetone removers.
  • Finally, toluene is a liquid solvent substance to help keep the pigment intact.
Does Nail Polish Remover Catch Fire

Does Nail Polish Remover Catch Fire?

A simple point to remember is that nail polish remover won't catch fire unless exposed to a spark or an open flame. The chemicals used, such as acetone or isopropyl alcohol, are flammable, and when put near ignition sources, the liquid will catch fire.

Acetone vapor evaporates quickly and combines with air creating an explosive mixture. If there is any heat or spark, the nail polish catches fire. When inhaled, acetone-based removers emit toxins that can cause eye, nose, throat, and lung irritation. Additionally, you may feel like your cuticles and nails are dehydrated, dried up, or irritated.

Is Non-Acetone Nail Remover Flammable?

The liquid remains flammable even when you purchase a non-acetone nail polish remover. The alternative acetone ingredients, which may include methane or ethyl acetate, are still toxic and flammable. If one is not cautious with open flames, such as a living room fire, both acetone and non-acetone based removers will quickly burn.

The alternative acetone chemicals are highly concentrated, have a harsh smell, and emit toxic fumes that are both flammable and a health hazard. In addition, inhaling these fumes may cause headaches, skin irritation, dizziness, and nausea.

Is It Safe To Heat Nail Polish Remover?

You should avoid heating the nail polish remover at all costs. Some DIY beauty routines may claim that you need to heat the polish remover for a quick and effective process.

But whether it's through a stove, microwave, or any other source of heat, nail polish remover must not be heated. The ingredients are highly flammable and catch fire when exposed to heat. The best and safest thing is to use warm water to heat the acetone remover for a minute and then soak the nails for the gel to soak off gradually.

Is Nail Polish Remover Flammable After It Dries

Is Dry Nail Polish Remover Flammable?

As stated, nail polish remover is flammable with open heat or spark. Acetone self-ignites in its liquid form with a flash point of 869°F and in its vapor state once it evaporates and is exposed to open flames.

But is nail polish remover flammable after it dries?

Well, dried nail polish remover will not self-ignite as it's no longer in liquid form, and therefore it's safe and harder to burn, meaning it's less flammable. But if I put my perfectly manicured nails in front of an open flame, I will undoubtedly burn, which is probably not something anyone would want to do.

How To Prevent Nail Polish Remover Flammability

I love checking out the label to know the ingredients in beauty products such as nail polish remover. But as discussed, both acetone-free and acetone-based removers are flammable. So it's always best to be careful.

You can follow the steps below for safety regarding nail polish remover.

  • Store the polish removers in a safe place away from children. Make-up drawers and cabinets are perfect places.
  • Keep the removers from open flames and sparks to minimize fire hazards.
  • Avoid smoking near the nail polish remover or using a hair straightener/blow dryer beside an opened remover bottle. Direct heat may cause the remover to self-ignite.
  • Ensure the area is well-ventilated when using a nail polish remover to prevent inhalation of the toxic fumes.
  • The polish remover caps must be tightly closed after use to prevent the evaporation of acetone and chemical vapor.

Final Thoughts

Nail polish remover is an effective liquid substance that helps remove nail polish. The substance evaporates quickly, which is why your fingers often feel cold after applying it to your nails. But is nail polish remover flammable?

Yes. As discussed above, the liquid contains ingredients such as acetone and ethyl acetate, which are highly flammable and quickly catch fire when exposed to open flames and extreme heat. Therefore, you should be cautious when using the remover and store it in a cool and safe spot to minimize fire hazards from potential igniters.