Acetone / Nail Polish Remover Smell in House – How to Get Rid of It!

Updated: | Author: Elissa Huebert | Affiliate links may be present.

As a parent of a nail-obsessed tween, I can tell you that our home often smells like nail polish remover! This strong odor hangs around for hours. It can even cause headaches or other issues.

If you are like me and don’t want to discourage your child’s nail creativity, but want freedom from the scent of nail polish remover, keep reading!

The strong, chemical smell in nail polish is due to its active ingredient – acetone. The scent of acetone can be very bothersome for some people. In order to get rid of the smell quickly, ventilate the area. If that doesn’t work, try an odor-absorbing material or something with a strong, pleasant scent to mask the scent of the acetone.

8 Ways to Get Rid of the Smell of Nail Polish Remover

Have your home smell fresh again with these solutions! If one of the solutions doesn’t work by itself, try a combination of methods. Combining an odor absorber, like charcoal, with an air freshener, like citrus may be a great odor-fighting recipe!


Sometimes, the easiest solution is the best solution! Remove nail polish near an open window. Add a fan to direct the smelly air out of the window. Or, if at all possible, relegate nail polish removal to an outdoor space.

Baking Soda

Sodium bicarbonate, also known as baking soda, is known for its odor-absorbing qualities! Place an open bowl of baking soda in the room with the smell. Baking soda will absorb odors for up to a few days and you don’t need to change it.

Cat Litter

The same material that absorbs the odor from cat waste also will absorb the odor of nail polish remover. Clay or crystal cat litter both work to absorb odors from the air and can help deodorize odors, such as nail polish remover, from your home.

It’s simple to use! Just place the kitty litter in an open bowl or container and leave it in the area with the offensive odor. It will work to absorb odors for up to a week.


Charcoal is another odor-absorbing powerhouse! It is available in mess-eliminating bags or loose granules. Charcoal is a natural, non-toxic way to eliminate odors. You will get 2-3 months of odor control from a bag of charcoal.


The scent of coffee will not only make your house smell great, but it will also absorb the scent of acetone! Put loose, freshly ground coffee into a bowl. Give it a stir once a day. Exchange the coffee for fresh grounds every week or so.

Essential Oil

Your favorite essential oil may mask the scent of nail polish remover. Pick a pleasant scent, such as lavender, jasmine, or sweet orange. Stir a few drops into a bowl of warm water. Place the open bowl near the source of the smell. For a more concentrated scent, soak a cotton ball with the oil, then place the cotton in a dish.

An essential odor diffuser is another option! Follow the directions on the diffuser. Keep your hands and face away from steam to prevent burns.

Odor Neutralizer

A room spray with deodorizing properties is a great tool to fight stench! Not only do these sprays cover the odor with a pleasant scent, but they can actually neutralize offensive odors.

There are unscented varieties of odor-neutralizing sprays if artificial scents are an issue. A scented spray can help your home smell fresh and clean, no matter what odors are in the air. Odor eliminating candles are also available.


Citrus is another natural odor fighter. The fresh scent of citrus may overpower the unpleasant scent of nail polish remover.

Place the peels of lemons, oranges, limes, or another citrus fruit in an open bowl. The peels will smell great and you get to eat the fruit! Replace the peels every few days. Throw them away if they become moldy.

Alternatively, a citrus oil, like orange oil, can combat the smell of nail polish remover. Place a few drops in some water in an open bowl, soak a cotton pad and place it near the nail polish, or diffuse the oil.

Use an Acetone Free Nail Polish Remover

If you find the scent of nail polish remover to be unbearable, try an acetone-free nail polish remover. This all-natural nail polish remover is soy-based, so it lacks the strong fumes of an acetone-based remover.

Acetone-free removers may take longer to work on polish, do not remove gel polish, and cost more than regular nail polish remover. All that may be worth it, though if you cannot tolerate acetone or its scent!

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About Elissa Huebert

Elissa has been a homeowner for two decades. As a home school mom, she has to spend the majority of her days at home, so it was quite natural for her to become enthusiastic about things like home improvement, DIY and space management. In her free time, she loves reading and writing. She's also an avid runner and recently ran her first ultramarathon.

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