I Heart Earth.

We’re all about celebrating Earth Day in my classroom this week. It’s only 4 days away! We have been evaluating how “green” our school, classroom, and homes are. I made 3 report cards for each of those locations. If you are interested, they are at my TPT store! (It’s a 20 page unit with math and literacy activities too.)

Earth Day Unit Preview

How else are we celebrating Earth Day? We are repurposing our trash! I discovered an easy way to remove the printing on food containers, so we have been collecting yogurt, butter, and cottage cheese tubs in order to turn into attractive storage containers (well, as attractive as it gets when a 2nd grader is doing the decorating!).

Remove the Label from Yogurt Containers!

Do you want to know how to remove the printing on food containers? It’s easy! You need pure acetone (located in the beauty section near the finger nail polish removers), a rag, and a container.

Supplies to Repurpose Yogurt Containers

In a dish pan, pour enough acetone on the rag to saturate it. (Make sure you are in a well ventilated area and are wearing gloves.)

Using Acetone to Remove Labels on Containers

Then wrap the rag around the container and let it sit for 3-5 minutes. It may take longer depending on what brand container you are working on. I found that Dannon, Great Value, and Kroger brand come off the easiest.

Wrap a container in an acetone saturated rag to remove the label!

Check the container by rubbing the paint. If it wipes off, you are good to go! Just keep wiping! It’ll come right off. If it doesn’t come of easily, keep soaking. You may need to re-saturate your rag.

Wrap a container in an acetone saturated rag to remove the label!

That’s it! You’ve got yourself a blank slate container ready for sprucing up. Check back later this week to see what we did with our containers.

Remove the label on containers easily with this trick!

Happy Earth Day!





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  1. Hey, thank you for telling us how to remove the printing on these containers.. I have been saving them for a while and now I can label them and use them without all of the distracting writing :)

  2. Hello Julia,
    I am getting into the enviroment bigtime! I love this idea… how do you get rid of those nasty acetone rags after? The container looks great! :)

    • Thanks! I just washed them in the washer! Some of the ink came out, but most of it did not.

      • Except for the acetone laden water from your wash that now has to be dealt with…

        • True, guess you just have to weigh your conscience. Using a tablespoon of acetone (that I use all the time to take nail polish off!) to reuse and cute-sify a container, or recycling the container (hopefully not throwing it away!). =) The acetone actually evaporates from your cloth before you have an opportunity to figure out how to dispose of it… not to say that it’s safe for the environment or anything!

      • since i was a kid we used old dishrags or shower rags as duster rags. like with pledge (or whatever earth friendly dust solution you have). it’s not like you have to throw the rag away. always reuse =) and while im talking about dusting lol, if you use dryer sheets, keep your used ones as swiffer sheets for dusting surfaces!

      • Acetone evaporates quickly,like rubbing alcohol, its the main ingredeint in fingernail polish remover.

      • I just looked it up and acetone dissipates quickly in water and air. In fact, it occurs naturally in both, as well.

  3. We make Dirt Cake to celebrate my son’s EarthDay Birthday! Used to send individual servings in clear cups to school every year – hope the teachers enjoyed!!

    • Seriously? says:

      I don’t think “individual plastic cups” and “Earth Day” should at all be used in the same sentence.

      • how do you know they were plastic? she never said that. maybe they were reusable cups that she used every year. so i guess they were never in the same sentence in the first place.

      • Wow, harsh.

      • Oh do shut up!

      • Seriously, Seriously? says:

        Seriously, seriously??? um, how about reusing things that you would usually throw away!!! DUH!!! (that is still one of the three Rs, right? reduce, reuse, recycle!!) wow, I usually don’t feed the trolls, but you were itchin for a feedin!

  4. Thanks Julia. I think I’ll pot some plants or even herbs in mine!

  5. Yaayyy!! Great for organizing a desk or craft area!! Thanks!

  6. The acetone ate right throught the rubber gloves!!!!

    • For real!? I used the yellow kitchen kind and they worked just fine. I’m sorry! (Don’t worry guys, I use these just for craft projects like this. I won’t use them to wash my dishes.)

    • Charmayne says:

      You can also use blue nitrile gloves. They won’t disolve in Acetone.

  7. I’d be concerned about the acetone sitting on the plastic and absorbing into it. I just used the magic eraser to remove some type off my plastic yogurt container. Probably took a little more energy, but it came off clean and I wouldn’t want to use the acetone saturated plastic for anything edible or for plants.

  8. Jennifer says:


  9. This is so cool. I have heard of this once before but I didn’t know what kind of acetone to get. Thanks for the post. Come visit us.

  10. scott simka says:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acetone – according to this article, acetone is present in your body right now, was removed from the “Toxic Chemicals” list by the EPA and so long as you don’t flush the liquid down the toilet or pour it into the ground, poses no threat to health or safety if used in well ventilated area.

    • thanks Scott

    • Rob Martin says:

      wikipedia is not a valid scientific resource as it is open to editing from the public. No academic institution in this country will accept it as a valid source of information.

      • Here it is on the EPA website if you prefer that: http://www.epa.gov/iris/toxreviews/0128tr.pdf
        Wikipedia does contain a collection of infomation gathered from various sources, although not citable in a thesis, probably quite acceptable in an internet forum. Obviously, some people do just write rubbish on there but often with chemicals you can easily follow the citations for the data. I didn’t actually go on wikipedia to find this though, he had already said the data was from the EPA so I just googled that quickly.

      • Source snobbery at its best (worst). You do realize that there are links at the bottom that you could dispute, rather than concern trolling about the fact that the poster linked to a collective location, no?

      • Nancy Ann Foster. says:

        I am always making homemade soups and sauces and using the yogurt containers I have to alsways open them up.Half the time I end up with a small amount on me.Naow I can right on each container and see it clearly.Thank you so much.Nancy Foster

    • Nice.

      • Jane Q Citizen says:

        Yeah…because we should trust the EPA and their friends over at the FDA. They (and Monsanto) will tell us what is good for our bodies & our planet.


  11. Thanks for this tutorial! I have been trying to figure out how to do this for months! So glad I came upon your tutorial.

    • Lucy Nunn says:

      I actually wrote to Folgers to ask them to make unprinted reusable containers. Their plastic cans are great but the ugly red and print make them almost unusable.

  12. I have to try this on the printed metal caps that come with glass containers. I tend not to keep plastic, but I have loads of glass jars and bottles that make great gift packages or storage for food without worrying about plastic breakdown into your food.

    • Lucy Nunn says:

      Good idea! Me too!

    • I don’t think you should use acetone on metal. Please research before you do so that you don’t injure yourself by creating a toxic reaction and inhaling it. (not that inhaling it at all is a very good idea)

  13. Here’s an article on acetone and how it affects people and environment: http://wonder.cdc.gov/wonder/prevguid/p0000467/p0000467.asp

  14. Celia Webb says:

    Please make sure to use only containers labeled plastic “2” or “5”. Acetone will not melt these any other plastic is doomed!

  15. you said you saturate the cloth and wrap it around container but it only takes a tablespoon in the comments….I missed something. IS it diluted? Do you then keep the container of acetone? How many containers can you “treat” with 1 acetone? Also, when you washed in washing machine, did you wash it alone or with other stuff, I was curious if it would get ink on all the other items in the laundry? I dont think I would want to waste a cycle on 1 washcloth but dont want to ruin clothes with ink. I am trying to weigh if this actually is “green” or by the by products.

    • No, it’s not diluted. It is very possible to use a tablespoon on one container depending on the size of your container. (It will probably only do that one container though). I’m not sure I understand your question, “Do you then keep the container of acetone?” Are you talking about the dish pan I used? If so, there really is no acetone in the pan. It doesn’t collect at the bottom like water would. It evaporates from the rag. Also, I did wash it with other items in the washer… I’m thinking it was towels or other rags. But ink did not bleed on the other items in the laundry. (You could always hand wash the rag, if you were concerned about that. Just use gloves.) Hope this helps! I realize this project isn’t for everyone, but hopefully someone has been able save a container from a landfill and enjoy it’s new look by reading this post. =)

  16. fraserkr, that article is from 1995. Probably not the most accurate resource.
    I love this idea! thanks for the tutorial! :)

  17. Ashley, can you offer a more accurate resource on potential harm of using acetone?

  18. Charlotte says:

    Great tutorial. Can’t wait to try it. A little tidbit on acetone…. If you use a glass container and a strong paper towel such as “Viva” you don’t have to worry about washing. I am a hairstylist and when I was in cosmetology school we were told to never pour acetone down the drain. Throw it in the trash. At least that’s what OSHA recommended 15 years ago. :-/

  19. Great idea, thanks for sharing! I have a ton of old yogurt containers I’ve been saving in case I find something useful to do with them so this is perfect; I pinned it so I can come back later :-)

  20. Hillary V says:

    As a nail tech I use acetone everyday. I just wanted to say that you should NEVER pour acetone down a drain or wash the acetone saturated rag until the majority of the acetone has evaporated. When pure acetone comes in contact with water it solidifies and leaves a film that is near impossible to remove. It can clog drains and holes in washing machines very quickly. However it is a great product to use for removing paint, ink, varnish, and the like from containers strong enough to withstand the acetone.

    • Karen F says:

      thanks for the great info Hillary V

    • Thanks Hillary

    • Acetone and water are miscible (they mix to form a homogeneous solution). The film you are speaking of is probably something you use for nails that ends up in the acetone. However, it still should not be poured down the drain. Evaporation is the way to go, unless you can dispose of it as organic waste. (trust me I am an organic chemist)

  21. This is just my opinion of course, but it’s hard for me to swallow this “green” idea that uses acetone, a serious groundwater contaminant. Seems counter-intuitive to me and not very earth-friendly at all.

    • Just read over all these replies and was just shocked that so many people were against this being “green” because of using acetone. I think there are many ways to be “green” and this is one of them! It is a great idea especially for someone like me who would NOT keep the containers because they are covered in print. Now that it is blank, I’ll be keeping all of mine and sharing this idea with my friends…look at it this way, it is up-cycling, which is a part of being “green”— keep up the good work ladies! And for the rest of you “Debbie Downers”, I think you should really look at the big picture…

      • Amen! It’s nice to hear from someone who feels the same way I do! Thanks for your comment! =)

      • Acetone is a naturally occuring chemical in our bodies. If you do a little research, Jenni, you’ll discover that Acetone has a very short lifespan when exposed to air. Therefore, it actually IS green :)

        Hope this calms your worries!

      • Hey, I’m not a downer! Debbie

      • Stephanie says:

        Naturally occuring doesn’t mean safe. Acetone is a chemical found on our bodies, just like carbon dioxide is in our respitory system but it can kill us too. Poison Ivy is natural, arsenic is natural. Just a few thoughts to consider about “naturally occuring” doesn’t mean safe.

      • I second that amen.

      • I agree as well! thank you for helping all of us green and thrifty ladies up-cycle those little containers so they can be put to better use somewhere else (instead of buying new containers).

      • lol I have to laugh at some of the so-called “Debbie Downers”. Normally I throw these things into the recycle although I would love to find a use for them in my class and at home. I think it’s a great idea. And for all of those greenies who get their weekly mani-pedi, where do you think all their cotton balls go? I have weighed the options and I love this idea girls!

      • Cherie Nicholson says:

        Oh I so agree with you Jenn!!! You almost find yourself wishing you had never posted something useful due to the negagtive feedback!! You people need to come up with solutions rather than criticisms of good green ideas!

    • If you don’t like the acetone try “Pure Citrus” Spray Home Depot or Walmart…..Acetone’s cheaper.

      FYI Pure Citrus will also remove permanent marker off of your whiteboards, too!!!

  22. great!!! the larger yougurt~yoplait~perferctly hold 1 pound med. shrimp.. heads removed for freezing… gret for storing in freezer and for receipes…

  23. You have no idea how long I just spent looking for this post. I knew I had read how to do this somewhere! :-) I’m on the last little bit of my store-bought laundry detergent (in this awesome push-button spout plastic bottle) and getting ready for my first batch of homemade laundry detergent. I can’t wait to use this trick to clean the print from the detergent bottle (and the gallon-sized orange juice bottle I plan to use for storing an extra batch)! Thanks for sharing!

    • Not pretty, but…can also label each container; we keep masking tape and a black Sharpie right there in a top kitchen drawer. Useful for labelling contents and *date* on leftover containers in the refrigerator, too.

  24. Don Reynolds says:

    Use care when working with acetone. It will ruin many surfaces that you spill it on and will dissolve most plastic items.

  25. Holy cow people! If you don’t want to do it, don’t! I think people can make up their own minds on what is safe and what isn’t. I think it’s a great idea. And yes, I was a beautician and yes, I still use acetone to do my own nails. And yes, I will be doing this!

  26. Lindsey says:

    Have you tried this on clear plastic like Peak Tea bottles. I have been saving them for a while but they all have the date stamped. They are beautiful bottles though.

  27. Love the idea. You have no idea how many times I have opened four containers before finding what I was looking for. This way I can label each one. Thanks

  28. Yaaaaaaay! :D

  29. @Trudy My thoughts exactly!!!

  30. I think reusing a container is being “green” and I do it myself. However, yes, the however from my end too!! Not being a “Debbie downer” and no “good grief” comments need apply. I have a SERIOUS concern that soaking this plastic in acetone, it WILL seep into the container itself. And that is NOT something I’d want to use for food for my family. My moms friend washes and reuses her milk jugs. Yeah, I’m, she washes them in bleach…..I nearly died from the first drizzle of milk that made its way down my throat! The bleach flavor was more overwhelming then a person not wearing deodorant on a hot day! So though your “idea” is genius in the fact you don’t have to reach for a container full of rainbowed M&M’s while still labeled yogurt….I think it’s still lacking in the safety department for humans. Thus making ME turn “green” after eating food from it. :(

  31. Rubbing alcohol works great for removing permanent marker also! I used it to clean my walls and washer and things of that nature when my son decided to use a black sharpie on everything!! It works for removing the ink on the plastic containers as well. P.S. it will remove the paint off your wall if you rub too hard! But it works great and I don’t think it will eat your gloves, don’t know for sure about that one (I don’t use gloves….although I probably should). Either way, it is a good thing to keep plastic and such out of landfills……

  32. Savannah says:

    I have been looking for this info my whole life! I knew it was possible but just couldnt find it. (One site actually recommended using a fine grit sandpaper to remove the labels on yogurt containers! lol) Thanks!

  33. Holy crap. I’m just wondering where she said to SOAK the container in acetone? I’m pretty sure she did not. Seriously people if you don’t like the idea DON’T DO IT. But don’t screw up a woman’s blog post with the negativity. If you’re using so many plastic container’s that using a small amount of acetone to take the writing off makes you sweat you should probably think about reducing your plastic use. She’s not talking about using this trick for a warehouse full of plastic tubs. I don’t think they’re handing out “Who’s the greenest” awards so chill out, you can’t do it all.

    • I heart your comment! =)

    • Rob Martin says:

      I’m thinking you’re being pretty short sighted about the issue these posters are presenting here. Acetone is a chemical that does not breakdown in a natural process. Evaporation just means it goes into the atmosphere, washing means it goes into the local water supply. These concerns are not trivial in any way when the article is being read by a large grp of ppl that will in turn share this idea with others and that IS ‘a warehouse full of plastic tubs’. No proper research or sourceing seems to have been done for this article and it’s possible effects not only to the environment but also to whether or not absorbtion into the platic actually occurs and there-by contaminating your food. Yes, it is a niffty idea for removing print and it helps save the containers to be re-purposed/used but that doesn’t mean the poster is above reproach for the method & materials. Especially in an article labeled “I Heart Earth” when the act of saveing containers from the land fill you in turn polute the environment there-by making the effort null and void of being “earth friendly”. It may be small amounts but when many ppl think thats ok, it turns into a large amount and THAT is the issue here.

      • Very very true.. making the acetone idea (although extremely tempting, just for the sake of my visual estetic of free food containers). Feels like a great idea, even awesome, but in truth more of a lateral move on the earth-green front.
        I like the fine sand paper idea. And I had been using the masking tape and sharpy pen method for a long time and has worked perfect, and I never have to open containers to check what they are. The only real way to really ‘green’ is to buy the glass jar contained (yogurt or other) food item instead; and it’s actually better quality product. Avoiding buying plastic contained items is how I’ve tried to be greener. (Yes I know it’s hard.) But a new item just came out that is biodegradable plastic food containers. (It’s a “B” label.) But very few products are using it. Apparently contaminating the earth is a lot more cost effective. LOL.
        FYI: thanks for this post, I love the eccentric and widely opposing view points. I love it.

    • This made me giggle. I have been reading these comments thinking there are way to many uptight idiots in this world. Maybe the people who have issue with this could just move on and NOT POST their opinions because WE DON’T CARE . We came here because we want to know how to remove the ink from plastic containers . If you don’t have another way to remove it then STFU .

    • @Katrina Chessari: “I don’t think they’re handing out “Who’s the greenest” awards so chill out, you can’t do it all.” Seems to me there’s some chilling to do all around: you can’t *think* of it all, either. Let’s assume we’re all here to live ‘smarter’…and ‘greener’…and act like we know we’re all in this together. (Me-and-you, not me-vs-you) Whew!

  34. Rob Martin says:

    For an alternative that IS evironmentally safe use Isoprophyl Alcohol as it is an organic compound. Though I can’t personally say how thorough ink will be removed from the containers, a little more effort MAY be required. Decomposing plant and animals release Isoprophyl vapor so the Chemical compound is already found in nature. The caution to be mindful of is it is highly flamible and can be harmful from absorbtion through skin contact and inhilation. The body metablolizes it into acetone when ingested, which is harmful to your liver over extended useage i.e. factorys that make it or people that are fanatical about useing it to clean everything in the house. So use gloves that won’t disentigrate and do it outside. and yes washing by hand or machine is acceptable as the compound will break down withing 10days in the environment returning to a more natural vaporous state. The source? http://www.monumentchemical.com/en/products/isopropyl_alcohol.asp
    Click Technical Information on the right side of the page under downloads which will pull up the PDF. To those that had something to say against the method of this article, cheers to you, to the rest (includeing “the brunettes”) that blindly support a method without looking into it properly shame on you.

  35. Tootsiekay says:

    Keep up the good work. No matter what people say, you can’t please everyone and be the angel of earth…however you can have fun and do what you think is best. Thanks for the post! We are all smart enough to figure out the rest if we just stop and think.

  36. The ole’ saying ” if it’s not nice don’t say anything at all” is something most people should use more often. where are your cool tips to doing things and what’s your website/blog so we can leave rude comments. In everyday life we don’t care about the scientific debate if acetone is good/bad..NEWSFLASH: its still available for sale in the store and thats all I care about.
    THANKS for such a really cool idea!! can put my crafting items in and label them

  37. It would solve it all if more containers offered removable/compostable labels and everyone could be happy…especially me, I love to try my hardest to leave the least footprint possible in many aspects of my life. Although I do use acetone to remove my nail polish, which is every couple weeks or so on a good schedule so I will just have any containers on ready for my polish cloth to rest while between nails, doubling my use before drying so as not to pollute the earth (just the atmosphere, huh). We are a planet of dangifyoudodangifyoudont’s. DIFYD’s, divided by if. Thanks for trying to care, I’ll use the information cautiously…

    • There ya go girl! Use the acetone that you normally use when you normally already use it, to save a container you wouldn’t normally save. I think it’s a good plan. No, not perfect, but it’s good. And I agree, removable labels are the way to go! Thanks for your comment.

  38. Spark*Amy says:

    Ok, I read the whole debate, why? I don’t know…sucker for virtual drama I guess LOL! I tested a Country Crock container. A “magic eraser” took it off in under a minute. Also, Barkeeper’s Friend and a toothbrush did the lid in seconds.

  39. Savannah says:

    Does fingernail polish remover work if it has acetone in it?

  40. the ‘greenest’ thing is to just re-use the containers and not fret over the original advertising on them. You can add re-usable labels to the containers to add the contents and date. Why do the containers have to be white?

  41. Thanks for the information! Keep up the good work, teachers never get enough praise!

  42. I guess it comes down to which you think is worse: using enough acetone to clean a warehouse full of containers so you can re-use them, or a warehouse full of containers going into a landfill? Personally, I think this is a GREAT and very helpful idea. Thanks for sharing it! (Sally Beauty Supply sells pure acetone, and it’s pretty cheap)

  43. Wow! a teacher gives advice for a kid’s craft project and now its a lethal chemically toxic disaster… really??? you’re worried about acetone exposure and most of you probably smoke, drink and flush old meds down the toilet contaminating the water supply… Get a grip and keep pinterest fun!

  44. I just wanted to say be careful with acetone I am a cosmetologist and we found out the hard way that it can eat through plastic so dont leave it on too long and make sure you wash it before you use it!

  45. as a person is likely to run across on numerous occasions plastic containers with print – i just pour all the acetone into a mason jar and keep my rag in the jar for the next use over time chemicals may eat through rag but as its a rag i’m not going to be concerned. Food for thought chemicals in magic eraser aren’t perfectly safe either, both products should be used with care and caution.

  46. Patti White says:

    I stumbled upon a trick to make this even easier(after using an entire bottle of acetone to clean one container…lol). I happened to spy a magic eraser and thought I’d give it a try. It worked awesomely! It will even clean some containers without using acetone. Just wet the eraser, squeeze out the excess and go for it. You can just wet the eraser with a bit of acetone also for the tougher ones. I’ve found that the clear containers like pimento cheese come in, are just not worth the effort. I don’t know what they use for those! Thanks for the idea and I hope this helps even more.

    • I can’t believe it took you an entire bottle! Either your container had some serious printing, was huge, or you had a small bottle of acetone! Sorry to hear that, it slipped right off for me. But I’m glad you found and alternative that works for you!

  47. TOTALLY WORKS! Thanks so much for sharing this! Even used non acetone and worked like a charm! Shan from Family Brings Joy

  48. will this work on glass?

  49. It always makes me so sad to see how so many people are willing to argue over something so trival. Brunettes, I think that what you offer on your blog is great. It gets people thinking. That in itself is VERY important. The melodrama isn’t necessary. Kudos for being the ladies you are and handling these issues with grace. Society is certainly declining. All of those women who have used and still use acetone to remove finger nail polish? I wonder if they lost their fingers yet??

  50. What did you end up doing with the containers? Love this idea, and am curious to see what you used them for! Thanks!

  51. ALWAYS wear gloves. Acetone is absorbed by the body, then it goes straight to the liver. After that, it will not exit the body. Know your chemicals before you handle them!

  52. Re: all the harsh words flying about –
    I think we can appreciate BOTH these potentially useful ideas AND the equally useful considerations posted by other equally thoughtful responders. None of us can think of everything; together we can be very smart indeed! Please let us all remember: those who share ideas with “green” potential and those who share their “green” concerns are all working towards the same end – living life to the fullest without compromising the life of this planet. No one deserves to be treated like a “Reckless Rosie” or be labelled a “Debbie Downer.” We are all in this together, and together we are finding our way through the confusion of our times!

    Post Script –
    To those who just don’t care what impact they’re having…I simply have no response.
    I guess we’ll just have to carry you, too, as well as our own weight, and hope we – and the Earth – don’t collapse under the added load.

  53. sleepy dormouse says:

    If anyone is really interested in the FACTS about acetone, google ‘MSDS acetone’. You’ll get a material safety data sheet, which will tell you more than you could ever wish to know about it. I work in a science lab and this is the official way to get info about chemicals. And for the person who asked about glass- if soaking a glass bottle to remove a paper label doesn’t work, allow the label to dry completely and drip suficient eucalyptus oil on to soak the label. It dissolves the glue and the label will come right off. Eucalyptus oil has millions of similar uses but beware – it dissolves hard clear plastics on contact, and many other plastics slowly. You can use it to get the annoying sticky residue of plasters off your skin too. :o)

  54. I find so often when one person puts their environment saving ideas out there, other people are overly critical. Why not refocus your all-knowing attitude and encyclopedia links on people who still litter, work for gas companies and politicians! Give this blogger credit for what she is doing, we need to encourage every persons attempt at saving the environment or we would all just throw in the towel! So I say, thank you for this idea, I believe I will wear gloves, go outside, reuse the same cloth for all of these projects and use it for coin banks, office supplies or toys.

  55. Wow I am shocked at how many negative comments there are on here. I think this idea is brilliant. And for those saying people who are green shouldn’t be using disposable plastic containers, well honestly get real how many products are there that are only packaged in plastic, when was the last time you bought yogurt in a paper bag? What if she went to a recycling center and picked up other wasteful people’s yogurt containers and instead of them having to go through a melting/reshaping process she cleaned them and reused them? But more importantly I would greatly desire to know when you “real green” people are going to introduce sour cream, yogurt, ricotta, cottage cheese and the like in an “acceptable” container?

  56. I have discovered Krylon spray paint for plastic. It will cover anything plastic. I purchase the cans for less than $1 each when Ace Hardware has their sale. Heck, I even painted my huge plastic mailbox that my husband was going to dig up and throw away because it was so faded from the sun that it no longer had street appeal. $2 of blue paint, no longer an issue. But then of course, I had to properly dispose of the paint cans.

  57. Natalie Yong says:

    You are super awesome !!!

  58. @2BUSYBRUNETTES, your post was originally POSTED ON APRIL 18, 2012 and you now have at least 116 comments. Is this a record for one post? I am intrigued.

  59. This is a fantastic idea! I found it on Pinterest! Thank you for posting it! I have a few containers that will get repurposed for the holidays!!! :)

  60. Critical thinking = negativity?

    Not all responses that challenged the bloggers were rude, many had a very neutral tone. People aren’t commenting their concerns for the sole purpose of harming the bloggers. Writers know not to take such things personally. It’s good to consider alternatives and weigh pros and cons. Consider the cost of aesthetics. Being informed is not “drama”.
    One basic tenet of being green is investigating what was once accepted without question. Whether I choose to use this method or not, I’m happy to be more informed by some of the commentors here who care about scientific questioning as much as aesthetics. Presenting options in the extremes of “use acetone else wasting dozens of plastic containers” is a petty argument. There is a lot more gray area than that.
    Accept that some people have a stronger commitment for being green and don’t like the word being used lightly. I am definitely not “there”, but at least I can respect that.

  61. Hi! I found this through Pinterest. I knew about using acetone for removing factory finishes from dolls for re-painting, so I’m a little embarrassed that I didn’t make the connection to plastic contains. I’d like to thank you for letting me know where the acetone is found. I’d always assumed it was kept behind the pharmaceuticals counter and that if I asked for some, I’d be marked down as a potential meth-cooker.

    It was entertaining reading the comments! It’s not the usual thing I see. I suppose this is an issue that people will get a little heated about, and there’s a certain amount of ‘greener than thou’ being posted. I have to confess, if I clean a plastic pot, I’m probably going to print out a new label for it.

  62. acetone is one of the worst chemicals known to man. i have the pleasure of working for a screen printing company and i refuse to use it even though it’s required for my job… yes it is the same thing you use for removing nail polish. it’s a harsh carcinogen that in no way should be used in a house hold. check OSHA for it’s regulations. seriously. this is a terrible recommendation.

    • Acetone won’t even show up on a list of “the worst chemicals known to man”….for the record I don’t think that list is real, but if it did acetone making an appearance on it would be laughable. I could be wrong, but I feel my knowledge about organic compounds (I am a chemist) trumps a screen printers.

  63. Why not just use Mod Podge to wrap the container with pretty paper or fabric? Voila, the print on the container is “gone” and no acetone needed!

    • I like your idea Emily but wouldn’t that work only for non-food use? I’ve crafted with Mod Podge only a couple of times and think non of those crafts would withstand a thorough washing.

  64. Some people seem concerned about putting the acetone rags in the washer, but you only need to wash the washer out with some vinegar & water recipe that you can find online. And I’m sure your washer needed it anyways. :) Don’t freak, people.

    • Vinegar! Surely you jest! If anything is worse for the environment than acetone it’s vinegar! (just kidding…)

  65. This is a great idea, I love re using containers, however I don’t love acetone.. will anything else work? something more eco friendly?

  66. Really guys, this is a tutorial on how to do something… Not a debate. Acetone is not harmful to the environment, being that it evaporates incredibly quickly. The only time it can be bad is if an excess finds it’s way into closed water system- this would require a VERY MASSIVE amount of acetone poured into the water. Furthermore, any damage that the small amount of acetone that will be used (even if it did) would be minimal compared to the toxicity of the plastic being in the landfill.

    I would be more worried about other common toxins that are everywhere: Phthalates, VOC’s, Methyl parathion, and chlorine.

    ~~~~ Im an Environmental Toxicologist and Ecotoxicologist.

    • Thank you for your comment. It is nice to hear from someone who is knowledgeable in this area instead of relying on other means of information.

      • the problem with the internet is that you can never really believe anything you read. You assume that that guy is an Environmental toxicologist, but you have no proof. His word is no better than Wikipedia. I could say that there is no adverse health effects from exposure to small amounts of acetone, and I know because I’m a doctor. I’m not a doctor though, but you don’t know that. Having said all that, there should be a lesson in all of this – if you’re going to promote being green, make sure what you’re promoting is actually green. I’m not going to say that acetone is or isn’t bad for the environment, but you should know before you tell people that it is…although, since you’re not an expert, people shouldn’t blindly do what you tell them to anyway.

        • You are right that you cannot trust everything you see/hear/read on the internet. This is actually not a matter isolated to the internet. You cannot trust everything you see/hear/read anywhere. This, however, has not limited me to not trust at all.

      • If needed, I will be more than happy to show you credentials.

  67. This is truly a stupid “earth friendly” tip. (more of a toxic disaster) Acetone dissolves plastic & enamel. Just use plain old rubbing alcohol (higher percent the better) like everybody has for decades. A little more elbow grease but gets the job done. Nothing toxic, no hazard, no fumes & it cleans / sanitizes the item. And U folks for trying this & then discovering that it ate through your rubber gloves etc… really? really? always look up a 2nd source or too before us do stuff like this. I know U have the internet, just Google it. Because so many armatures put out info about things they have NO true understanding of.

  68. Angelique says:

    I love this idea! I read every comment and something occurred to me that I haven’t seen addressed. What if you used a paper towel to soak/wipe off the ink, allowed the towel to thoroughly dry and then took it outside and burned it? That way the acetone wouldn’t get into the water system from washing the rag or into the landfill. I don’t know how environmentally friendly this option would be…if the paper towel was completely dry before burning it, wouldn’t most of the acetone evaporate off anyway? Just throwing out the idea for those who might know if this would be a viable option. Thanks for the instructions!

  69. I am loving the discussions on this website. I felt so engaged in all your comments. Thanks for all your fun ideas. I hate wasting something that I can reuse. That whole take the printing off of conatiners idea was genuis and I can’t wait to try it myself! I price match my groceries all the time and when the yogurt tubs go on sale I buy a tone of them and save the containers.
    pricematchwithrachel.com always tells me the best deals on my yogurt without a coupon. HOORAY!

  70. I love this idea. I’m not worried about the acetone, I do worry about the environment though. Re-using something that would normally go into recycle, or worse yet get thrown into the landfills, is a grand idea. I appreciate the idea and can’t wait to use it. Thanks.

  71. So how come the government hasn’t banned the thousands of nail salons all across the country for systematically poisoning the environment???? Are we being stupid or what??? HOW does it compare to use a rag OCCASIONALLY to clean a container and save it from the landfill to the thousands of tons of cotton balls used by the thousands of nail salons across the country every single day??? How come nobody bats an eye at that, but here they are crucifying a blogger over an idea that they are perfectly able to NOT use if they so choose to???? That’s why common sense should be classified as a super power, since it appears almost impossible to find, nowadays!!!!!! Just sayin’….. Brunettes, CARRY ON!!!!!

    • Katheryn Duncan says:

      AMEN GG…but before the govt closes all the nail salons..it needs to shut down the acetone factories…..lol………I really like the “common sense” statement….I very rarely see it nowadays either…….and after reading this I wonder how I got to be so old with all this horrible danger……..but food did taste better when it came in glass…..remember drinking soda out of a glass bottle ice cold from the front of a store in a large chest……..and we reused everything aser and

    • WELL SAID GG!!!

  72. Won’t the acetone permeate the plastic, therefore being toxic?

  73. This is a great idea, I washed my rag in the sink afterward with lots of soap when I couldn’t smell the acetone anymore I washed with dirty kitchen towels… they were both fine, and the colors I washed after that wee just fine to, but you can always run a rinse cycle just to be safe.
    As for keeping food in them I don’t see a problem, I mean if we want to get down to the nitty gritty of it, have you looked at he stuff in 98% of what we eat, if your so concerned about storing food, when the outside of the container was wiped down with a chemical, you better give up on life now. Every company spays thing for disinfecting, I,m sure there is some that gets inside the stuff you eat. Just take this for what it is a great idea, those not scared will use it for food, hose who are can help the plant by using them to store art supplies, screws, nails and other garage extras. Recycling can be used outside of food.

    Thanks so much for the great ideas ladies, I love this one – keep up with the good work.

  74. Katheryn Duncan says:

    as much as possible……..and when we did not like something..we just chose not to do it…..we cannot run another persons life…..and we have become such a negative country…so sad….I like the idea of this post to take off the paint on a plastic container to re use…….I just paint mine……some people will be green..others will not….people should smile and be kind much more often than they do…….be happy………………..<3

  75. Love this! I’m getting married and have been saving all my parent’s old butter containers. I saw this on Pinterest and knew right away I could have cheap containers for then! :) Thank you!!

    Blue Eyed Beauty Blog

  76. this will work, and well, you can also cover them in adhesive contact paper if it’s “dangerous” in your eyes, though most people would only care because it’s left out as decorative organization so i’m not sure why everyone is going all crazy lol or the new plastic spray paints, fabric, etc… however this only works on the yogurt containers where the markings slowly wear off with use/chemicals, it will NOT work on the heat fused labels like on oj and liquid clothes wash detergents, that isn’t going to come off, ever… again, it’s heat fused to the bottle itself, please pay attention to the types of container mentioned, typically the containers you can clean are wide mouth openings, yogurt, butter etc, tubs if you will, not bottles you pour from

  77. Here’s on person’s comments on acetone on plastics


    • Thank you. The last paragraph of this article describes the kind of plastic that can withstand acetone. This is the kind that was used for this post.

      • the paragraph with this wording?

        “There are certain situations in which putting acetone on plastic or in plastic containers will do no harm. Certain grades of plastic are designed to withstand corrosive substances, so using acetone with these will not cause any reaction. Polypropylene is one example of such a plastic. You can find which plastics may be safe by checking the bottom of any plastic item or container for a symbol and the number five. This symbol is usually the circular arrows used on recycling containers and recyclable products.”

  78. I cannot believe there’s some recommending the “greenness” of reusing dryer sheets?!! I hardly think it would even begin to compensate for the use of the dryer, and dryer sheets at all. Try air drying clothes! No need then for dryer sheets in the first place. Sheesh!

  79. Anyone who is freaking about acetone probably ought to reconsider purchasing food products in (petroleum-based) plastic containers at all. Also, be consistent: for optimum planet-consciousness, please don’t use a supersized gas-guzzling SUV when you drive your (too many) children to 5 after-school activities each and then back to your luxury home! *eye roll*

    • Seriously. If they knew how much acetone gets thrown out on cotton balls every day in their favorite nail place, they’d freak!

  80. This set of comments is a good example of why I always moderate my comments. Letting trolls ruin a thread with stupid comments just isn’t cool. I love this idea, and I’m not a green freak, so doesn’t bother me at all. Let the trolling begin!

  81. Pure acetone is very carcinogenic. Wear gloves while doing this.

  82. This thread reminds me of all the animosity we have in politics these days.

  83. Does this work on glass?

  84. Thanks so much such a great idea :)

  85. In printmaking class last semester, my professor told us how a while ago, there was this big hoopla over how we shouldn’t use mineral spirits to clean up bc it was dangerous. Apparently, we should use “simple green” bc it was “greener” than mineral spirits and how dangers the mineral spirits were. Well…we later found out that simple green was even more toxic than the mineral spirits and it didn’t work quite as well! Go figure. I say go for it…thanks for the fabulous tip. Don’t worry about negative Nancy’s. If they want the printed ones, they can ignore this tip.

  86. How do you dispose of the acetone after you’re finished? In an environmentally friendly way!

  87. Geezzzzzzuz…I just came on here looking to see how well it works..So many rants on here..People try it or move on..So many people judging the post,who cares ,get a life. anyways thank you I’ve gotta try,I have a bottle of the product..I use it to remove my acrylic nails ,YEP I’m still alive.

    • I know — right?! guess what?! I DO NOT recycle at all! my community charges $$ to recycle – so why bother?? Doesn’t bother me one little bit. some people can not chill over environmental and green stuff. sheesh. save the anger for something really big!

      • I would be ashamed to say that I don’t recycle because the community charges for it… how embarrassing. And to say that that environmental pollution due to peoples (LIKE YOU) irresponsible actions isn’t a big deal is horrible. I cannot believe in this day and age someone actually believes pollution and environmental damage that is caused by actions of those such as you makes me ashamed to be of the human species.. We only have one Earth and since the 1800’s each generation has been destroying the Earth more than the previous.

        • I know, right – PEOPLES like me can’t be trusted! hmmmm, how green am I? I don’t recycle…. I do re-use. I have planted almost 150 trees on my lil ole plot of 2 acres, ummmmm, I don’t get a newspaper, I read online so I don’t waste paper. I firmly believe that paper cuts are trees ways of getting back at you for wasting paper. ohh – you’ll love this one Matt — I own 5 vehicles. Yep, 5! ohh – and 3 riding lawn mowers! I do donate to the salvation army or use freecycle to get rid of things that I no longer want or need but are still in good shape. ugh – I refill water bottles! what am I thinking?!! I pick up trash that people throw on the ground! (and dispose of it properly, just not recycling.) Save your anger and indignation for something really big and useful — like defending the constitution.

      • I too do those things as well. But, I also do recycle, and all three of my cars are hybrids/”electric”. I buy a new one every 18 months or so and donate the old one to a local charity that uses them to transport individuals to appointments and to purchase food. My house is 100% green (recycled and recyclable materials), solar and hydro ran and heated. I am a total vegan and only eat locally grown, organic foods. I only shop at environmentally and socially friendly stores. I purchased 2000 acres of woods from where I am originally from in order to keep it from being tore down (they was wanting to put a housing community there).

        I am glad that you are doing what you do, but don’t boast yourself for doing what you should be doing.

  88. Have you ever thought of Acetone at Home Depot or a hard ware store? I believe Nail polish grade acetone is expensive. .

  89. Remarkable! Its really remarkable piece of writing,
    I have got much clear idea concerning from this post.

  90. Lindy Wilson says:

    Not recommended to wash anything that had flammable liquids on it
    in your washing machine! If you really think all the acetone evaporates..
    just take the rag out to your driveway and light it. Maybe that will convince you

  91. I hate yogurt!

  92. If you are ever concerned about the nature of a chemical or ingredient mentioned in a blog, or in a product you are using, just type the chemical name through this database and it will tell you the nature and toxicity of the product.



    I’m not sure the long term effects of acetone on the environment, but if ever in doubt, take the items that you “think” might be toxic (household cleaners, paints, solvents like acetone, cloths soaked in solvents etc…) to your local waste disposal plant, they will have a toxic substances area you can leave them at, and they will look after disposing of it correctly according to the type of threat it poses on the environment.

  93. P.S you can also type a skin care/cosmetic product name into the search field and it will advise you the various toxicity levels of each ingredient in that product. In a world struggling to stay up to date with whats truly ‘green’ and whats going to harm us and our kids long term, its priceless.

  94. Carrie GREENHART says:

    Any idea’s to help stay “GREEN” bring it!!!
    1 small thing per household would go a LONG way to help our kids prosper!

  95. I am really in shock how rude some of the women are to each other on this site…..I stumbled upon it from Pinterest. I own a health food and natural product store and everyone is at a different stage in their “green” process…..we should be happy that each other are doing something vs nothing and not be so condescending when correcting the facts. Sheesh lighten up everyone and don’t be so high and mighty

  96. Love the tip. I am writing a blog entry on making kitchen equipment from recyclables may I link back?

  97. three cheers for lululove! my sentiments exactly! i scrolled all the way down looking for photos of what you did with your containers… did you ever post them?? thanks for the tips. i’m all about up/recycling and sharing ideas with others so they can do the same.



  98. Well, what can I add this discussion?! Great idea. ~ Rose


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