Difference Between Acetone and Xylene (With Table)

Acetone and Xylene are two chemical solvents that have different properties and characteristics. They are the solvents 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 colour, and it evaporates quite easily. Acetone is flammable and can dissolve in water.

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

Comparison Table Between Acetone and Xylene

Parameters of ComparisonAcetoneXylene
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, or 2-propanone or dimethyl ketone, is the simplest ketone, colourless, 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, textile industries, and lacquers.

In the human body, acetone is produced with the breakdown of fats. When people are in ketosis, they are safe, and it is beneficial for some. Also, too many ketones are dangerous and could increase 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 irritate if inhaled. It is also poisonous if consumed in large amounts by children or adults.

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

What is Xylene?

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

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

Xylene helps in manufacturing fibres, dyes, and films. It is also used as a laboratory clearing agent 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 used improperly. Inhaling xylene vapours can cause depression. It can also lead to hearing disorders and, if it comes in contact with the skin, can irritate. That’s why xylene has been considered highly toxic.

A few preventive measures help reduce 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, and Rose oil are eco-friendly and economical substitutes for xylene to use as a clearing agent instead of Xylene. Installing local exhaust ventilation in the workplace with a proper hood. Washing hands properly using face masks, safety goggles, and 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 than 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 is 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 producing propylene, while, Xylene occurs via catalytic reforming during petroleum refining or coal canonization in coke fuel manufacturing.


After looking at both Acetone and Xylene, we can conclude that both have their properties and differences. Both are important solvents in chemical laboratories. Acetone and Xylene even have some similarities in appearance and other physical properties. If we look at their appearance, both are colourless liquids that can dissolve various colours and organic compounds.

Both have 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 that we can remain safe and without any hazards. Otherwise, both are immensely useful in various areas and produced widely.


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

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Hi! I'm Nidhi.

Here at the EHL, it's all about delicious, easy recipes for casual entertaining. So come and join me at the beach, relax and enjoy the food.

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