Welcome to Science Buddies and thank you for your question. This is a simple experiment involving testing some set amount of nail polish dripped onto a cotton cloth and then “cleaned” using a variety of potential solvents. Some things to keep in mind to control the variables are:
- Use the same type cloth material for all samples. White cloth will ensure good contrast with which to measure when you apply cleaning agent.
- Stain each sample with the same color nail polish.
- “Stain” the cloth with the same amount of nail polish and apply using the same technique for all samples (perhaps with an eye dropper).
- Soak all your stain samples in equal amounts of solvents and collect data on the stain removing properties at regular intervals for the duration of the experiment. For this type of experiment, digital pictures provide a good way to record differences.
Ok, that being said, now onto your specific question. The primary active ingredient in nail polish remover is a compound called Acetone. Paint thinner and varnish remover are other household items that contain Acetone and would conceivably offer a similar effect. Other common products are: baby wipes and other pre-moistened towels, insecticides and pesticides, hair coloring kits, mirror and surface cleaner. These are just a few, I suggest looking up products on line that contain Acetone and see what you have on hand. Also, you can try non-acetone products and compare, like hydrogen peroxide, rubbing alcohol, liquid hand soap, dish/dishwasher soap, etc…
Word of caution...many of the products named can/are harmful to your health if used improperly. Always ensure you have adult supervision and handle these compounds with the utmost care and respect.
Let us know if you have further questions. Good luck on what should be a very interesting investigation.
I hope this helps.
"As the circle of light increases, so does the circumference of darkness around it."
~ Albert Einstein