What is "Acetone" - Definition & Explanation
Last Updated on: 22-Apr-2024 ( ago)
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Acetone in Textiles: An Essential Solvent's Journey and Influence

Acetone: Unraveling Its Historical, Practical, and Industrial Significance in Textiles

The History and Origin of Acetone

Acetone's history stretches back to the Middle Ages, with its first documented production occurring in the late 14th century. Initially discovered in the form of distillate from wood, it was not until the late 19th century that Chaim Weizmann, a biochemist, developed an industrial fermentation method to produce acetone. From this breakthrough, acetone's role expanded to numerous industries, including textiles.

Types of Acetone

  • Industrial Grade Acetone: Characterized by a high level of purity and used in several applications including the textile industry.
  • Pharmaceutical Grade Acetone: It has an even higher level of purity and is used in medical and pharmaceutical industries.

Tips for Handling Acetone

  • Store in a cool, well-ventilated place away from heat sources and open flames as it is highly flammable.
  • Wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) when handling acetone to prevent skin and eye contact.
  • Dispose of acetone waste responsibly, as it is harmful to the environment.

Major International Manufacturers and Users

  • INEOS Phenol: A major producer of acetone, INEOS Phenol serves various industries, including the textile sector.
  • Mitsui Chemicals, Inc.: A Japanese chemical manufacturer, Mitsui produces a range of products, including acetone, which is used in their textile production.
  • Royal Dutch Shell: One of the world's largest oil companies, Shell produces acetone as a byproduct of its phenol manufacturing process.
  • Dow Chemical Company: This American multinational chemical corporation is another significant manufacturer of acetone, providing to textile industries among others.
  • LG Chem: South Korea's largest chemical company, LG Chem, is another substantial acetone producer, with the textile industry as one of its primary consumers.

Applications of Acetone in Textiles

  • Dye Solvent: Acetone is used as a solvent for dyes and inks in the textile industry, enabling even distribution and effective penetration of colors.
  • Textile Finishing: It serves as a solvent in textile finishing processes, facilitating the application of finishes that enhance the properties of the fabric.
  • Textile Cleaning: Acetone's effectiveness in dissolving oily and greasy substances makes it an essential component in textile cleaning processes.


While acetone's initial discovery predates the modern textile industry, its value as a solvent has remained a constant, integral component of textile processing. From facilitating dye penetration to enhancing textile finishes, acetone's applications within the industry are as diverse as they are crucial. Major manufacturers and users of acetone recognize its importance and invest heavily in its production, emphasizing the indispensable role acetone plays in textile manufacturing. Beyond its utility, however, the story of acetone is also a testament to the continuous evolution of science and technology. As the textile industry advances, it is certain that the demand and applications of acetone will continue to evolve, underscoring its enduring relevance and necessity in the field.

A ketone solvent. A highly volatile, aromatic, flammable and moderately toxic selective solvent. Ingredient in nail polish remover, some paint strippers, and most lacquer thinners. Miscible in water. Can be used to clean some fabrics but may melt others (Acetates) and most plastics. CAS Number: 67-64-1. Chemical formula = C3H6O.

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