Difference Between Acetone and Xylene (With Table)

Acetone and Xylene are two chemical solvents that have different properties and characteristics. They are the solvents that are used in industries due to their distinct properties. It is important to compare both of them, as they may look similar but still they are quite different.

Acetone Vs Xylene

The main difference between Acetone and Xylene is that Acetone is an expensive and more toxic solvent whereas Xylene is a cheap and less toxic solvent.

Acetone Vs Xylene 1

Acetone is found naturally in the environment in plants, trees, forest fires, vehicle exhaust, and as a breakdown product of animal fat metabolism and it is a manufactured chemical with a specific smell and taste. It has no color and it evaporates quite easily. Acetone is flammable and can dissolve in water.

Xylene is also known as demethylbenzene or Xylol. It is of the three isomers of dimethyl benzene. It is consist of a central benzene ring attached with two methyl groups as substituents. Xylene is an organic chemical compound, which is a clear, colorless, and flammable liquid.

Comparison Table Between Acetone and Xylene

Parameters of Comparison AcetoneXylene
Chemical CompoundThe Chemical Compound of Acetone is (CH3)2COThe chemical compound of Xylene is (CH3)2C6H4
Molar MassThe Molar Mass of Acetone is 58.08 g/molThe Molar Mass of Xylene is 106.16 g/mol
IsomersAcetone has no isomeric formsXylene occurs in three isomer forms
CostAcetone is cheapXylene is expensive
Soluble SubstanceAcetone dissolves in both lipophilic and hydrophilic substancesXylene dissolves only in lipophilic substances

What is Acetone?

Acetone which is also known as 2-propanone or dimethyl ketone is the simplest ketone that is colorless, aromatic, and flammable. Acetone can dissolve many fats and resins as well as cellulose esters.

Acetone can easily mix with water and quickly evaporates in the air. It is used in nail polish removers, in textile industries, and in making lacquers.

In the human body, acetone is produced with the breakdown of fats. When a person is in being ketosis, they are safe and it is even beneficial for some. Also, too many ketones are also dangerous and could lead to an increase in the acidity of a person’s blood. So, there must be a balance in the number of ketones.

The Food and Drugs Administration has Generally Recognized ketone as Safe but it has some risks.

Acetone is flammable, thus it shouldn’t be used in the open flame. It can also cause irritation if inhaled. It is also poisonous if consumed in large amounts by children or even adults.

To prevent the risks of Acetone, it’s important to use it safely in a well-ventilated space, to keep it away from children, foods, and drinks, close the bottles tightly and use protective equipment while using it.

What is Xylene?

Xylene was first isolated by French chemist Auguste Cahors in the year 1850. Xylol has no color, it is clear and flammable. But it is greasy and has a sweet smell too.

Xylene doesn’t get dissolved with water but can get mixed with other organic liquids. It is produced by catalytic reforming as well as by coal carbonization. They are generally produced as a part of the BTX aromatics (benzene, toluene, and xylenes).

Xylene helps in manufacturing fibers, dyes, and films. It is also used as a clearing agent, in laboratories to cool reaction vessels. Xylene has been used as a tear gas agent too in World War 1.

Xylene can have several effects on our body if doesn’t use properly. Inhaling xylene vapors can cause depression. It can also lead to hearing disorder and if comes in contact with the skin can cause irritation. That’s why xylene has been considered highly toxic.

There are a few preventive measures that help in reducing the effect of xylene such as Substitution, local exhaust ventilation, and using proper protective equipment.

Substitution means finding an alternate substance with the same uses and which is less hazardous to use. For example, Carrot oil, Olive oil, Pine oil, Rose oil are eco-friendly and economical substitutes for xylene to use as a clearing agent instead of using Xylene. Installing local exhaust ventilation in the workplace with a proper hood. Washing hands properly, using face masks, safety goggles, impervious clothing are the methods that can come with other protective equipment. These will reduce the risks and protect you from getting affected.

Main Differences Between Acetone and Xylene

  1. Size- Acetone is smaller in size as compared to Xylene as it contains an oxygen atom in the molecular structure.
  2. Number of oxygen atoms- One oxygen atom is present in Acetone while No oxygen atom is present in Xylene.
  3. Formation in Animals- Acetone is formed in animals when lipids are metabolized while Xylene is not formed in animals.
  4. Odour- Acetone has a fruity smell while Xylene has a sweet smell.
  5. Solubility- Acetone is a more polar solvent while Xylene is a nonpolar solvent because the difference between the electronegativity of C and H is very low.
  6. Type of Molecule- Acetone has a ketone structure on the other hand Xylene has a Hydrocarbon structure.
  7. Occurrence- Acetone occurs directly or indirectly by the production from propylene, while, Xylene occurs via catalytic reforming during petroleum refining or via coal canonization in coke fuel manufacturing.


After looking at both Acetone and Xylene, we can conclude that both have their own properties and differences. Both are important solvents in chemical laboratories. Acetone and Xylene even have some similarities in their appearance and some other physical properties. If we look at the appearance, then both of them are colorless liquids and they have the ability to dissolve various colors and organic compounds. Both have their own pros and cons, and it must be noticed that they both affect your health differently so when it comes to using them, precautions and preventive measures should be kept in mind so as we can remain safe and without any hazards, otherwise both are immensely useful in various areas and they are produced widely.


  1. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/15298669191364343
  2. https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/je800628a