Do not put acetone in a plastic cup

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Forum topic by jsheaney posted 03-13-2011 03:37 AM 7021 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View jsheaney's profile


141 posts in 4494 days

03-13-2011 03:37 AM

I just learned that today. I bought some Minwax wood hardener, which I have never used before. The container is a bottle, so clearly you need to pour it into another container to use it. I poured a few ounces into a plastic cup. I put a piece of scrap in my Jawhorse and started applying it. I was sitting on a stool at the time and suddenly my leg was getting wet. Basically the bottom dissolved away and all of it just poured out the bottom. It took about three minutes to start leaking and about five seconds to open up entirely once it started.

Now I have a serious mess on my floor. I don’t know what else is in this stuff; it seems to be about 98% acetone. My shop floor is just the plywood subfloor painted with a couple coats of poly. This stuff is really sticky (at least, at first), so I tried to wipe it up with more acetone, but it started peeling up the paint off the floor.

I just left it be for now. I’ll see what happens when it cures. Pain in the butt.

Anyway, it looks like you should only put acetone in a glass or metal container.

-- Disappointment is an empty box full of expectation.

11 replies so far

View therookie's profile


887 posts in 3333 days

#1 posted 03-13-2011 03:39 AM

Good lesson learned there, I am thankful you told us all about this.


View Carl Webster's profile

Carl Webster

82 posts in 3304 days

#2 posted 03-13-2011 04:26 PM

Most solvents (acetone, lacquer thinner, gasoline, etc.) will desolve the plastic in a regular plastic cup.

-- Carl in SC

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 4154 days

#3 posted 03-13-2011 07:37 PM

I’ve got a glass jar full of lacquer thinner with a plastic lid that’s softened
and sagged and fused to the jar. The fumes haven’t made a hole in the
lid yet, but it got to the point where it is pretty quick. I’m keeping
an eye on it, partly out of curiosity to see how long it takes to make
a hole.

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

5227 posts in 4466 days

#4 posted 03-13-2011 08:04 PM

Uh, Loren? Ya got too much free time.

-- [email protected]

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 4154 days

#5 posted 03-13-2011 08:10 PM

I had a can of unidentified thinner that got crushed somehow,
so when I opened it and discovered it was lacquer thinner, I
scrambled to get whatever jars I could lay my hands on.
That’s how it happened.

View rance's profile


4271 posts in 3666 days

#6 posted 03-13-2011 08:23 PM

Yeah, it eats through a styrofoam coffe cup quicker than you can say abracadabra-alaczam! Not thinking, one day I poured some in a coffe cup to take across to the other side of the shop. Uh, I made it about 4” towards the other side of the shop. Luckilly only had a few oz in the cup. Spilled all over the workbench. I laughed about it. Hope you can get your mess cleaned up.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View jsheaney's profile


141 posts in 4494 days

#7 posted 03-14-2011 07:40 AM

So the two solvents I use most are mineral spirits and alcohol. I’ve kept oil based finishes and shellac in plastic cups for days at a time without any problem, but I’ve never done that with pure solvent before. Today I put a couple ounces of each in separate plastic cups. Neither one leaked or showed any ill effects after sitting out all day. Acetone is the first (and only, so far) solvent I’ve used that exhibited this problem.

-- Disappointment is an empty box full of expectation.

View Ollie's profile


146 posts in 3780 days

#8 posted 03-14-2011 07:05 PM

Ha ha. this happened to me before too. Now I save jam jars.

-- Ollie, UK.

View ChrisForthofer's profile


150 posts in 3573 days

#9 posted 03-14-2011 07:20 PM

Mason jars are your friend, (the Jam jars Ollie refers to) they are cheap, made of pretty tough glass and are impervious to most any solvent you can think of. Sorry for your mess.


-- -Director of slipshod craftsmanship and attention deficit woodworking

View Kent Shepherd's profile

Kent Shepherd

2718 posts in 3792 days

#10 posted 03-14-2011 08:26 PM

When I was a kid, I had tried to paint a model motorcycle I had assembled. I didn’t like the way it looked, and knowing lacquer thinner would strip paint, I left the model to soak for a while. I learned a valuable lesson.
I ended up with a nice glob of plastic. Some lessons we have to learn the hard way.


View PhineasWhipsnake's profile


77 posts in 3554 days

#11 posted 03-14-2011 11:32 PM

Here’s another tip I stole from another forum: “Never, under any circumstances, combine a sleeping pill, and a laxative on the same night”

-- Gene T

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