What are Safe Non-Polar Solvents?

What are Safe Non-Polar Solvents?

What are Non-Polar Solvents?

When a chemical or substance is referred to as non-polar solvents, that indicates that the charges of all of the molecules in that substance share a charge equally, meaning there is no charge on the molecule. A solvent is a liquid that is used as the medium for chemical reactions. Thus, a non-polar solvent is an uncharged liquid that is used as the medium in certain chemical reactions. These solvents are not able to mix with water and have been deemed effective in dissolving hydrophobic chemicals (like oils and fats). These chemicals are used in oil extraction from plants.

Common non-polar solvents include:

  • Pentane
  • Hexane
  • Heptane
  • Toluene
  • Acetic acid
  • Chloroform
  • Diethyl ether
  • Ethyl acetate
  • Methylene chloride
  • Pyridine

Are Non-Polar Solvents Safe?

Non-polar solvents are found in a wide variety of items, including:

  • Spot removers
  • Paint thinners
  • Nail polish removers
  • Glue
  • Perfumes
  • Detergents

Many of these items are found in households and are deemed safe. Alkanes (such as pentane, hexane and heptane), diethyl ether, and ethyl acetate are all safe. These are the chemicals that most labs and industries use in experiments and in production of goods.

Benzene was used in a wide variety of substances and productions in the past, however it has been discovered that it can cause cancer in humans. This resulted in benzene being pulled from production and use in certain instances. Alkanes have largely replaced benzene as they are safe for humans and better for the environment. The safety information of each non-polar solvent can be found on their individual safety data sheet (SDS). These sheets come with the chemicals and are also available online. Usually, the important information about safety, storage, and handling can be found on the bottle of the chemical. Always use caution when handling chemicals!

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