10 new ways to use nail polish remover

The toxic, foul-smelling chemicals in nail polish remover are so strong they can dissolve plastic. So it's no wonder that this cleaner is useful for tackling some difficult jobs around the house.

I've personally wielded the brightly-colored formulas to banish stubborn scorch marks from overcooking bagged popcorn in my microwave. (Full disclosure: While it did remove the black stains, it left a sickly yellowish tint behind.)

Others who experimented with nail polish remover's noxious properties found that it is also handy for getting rid of ink stains on your skin -- or walls -- as well as paint on windows, stickers on glass, and plastic wrapping from baked goods that is plastered on your toaster oven door.

A disclaimer often accompanies advice on alternative uses for nail polish remover: Make sure you apply a small amount of the chemical using a clean cloth, cotton swab, or Q-tip, in an area with plenty of ventilation.

Nail polish remover is also adept at removing scuff marks from patent leather shoes and tile floors, unhinging super glue from your fingers and, when dipped in a toothbrush, scrubbing debris off your computer keyboard.

The chemicals that make nail polish remover a major stain fighter are also found in paint thinner. The main player is acetone, a clear solvent that is highly flammable.

Because these properties are so harsh, stain experts recommend not using them on some fabrics. To remove nail polish stains from clothes, fashionistas suggest using an oil-free remover and testing it first on a hidden spot to make sure it won't further stain, or dissolve, the fabric.

Others chime in that non-acetone nail polish remover, which is usually made up of ethyl acetate, works to rid carpets of nasty stains, including, not surprisingly, nail polish.

There are a plethora of nail polish removers on the market in every price point. For a useful roundup and ranking of these choices, check out this table.

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