Q: I pre-spotted a dress with a little acetone to remove either a glue or nail polish plastic-type stain. The stain dissolved, with no noticeable damage to the dress, but the satin lining lost color and dissolved. What happened?

A: Acetone is a very effective chemical for the removal of most plastic-type stains that cannot be dissolved by other dryside agents. Acetone may effectively reduce or even remove many difficult stains such as paints, adhesives, glues, nail coatings, and some melted plastics. But acetone pulls the color in some fabric dyes and it dissolves acetate fibers readily. Many garment linings are made of acetate. Plus, many women’s fashions are made of acetate or acetate blends. Therefore, it is very important to read the fabric content label for all components or do a fiber identification test before using acetone as a spotting agent. To test the fabric, use a small sample taken from an unexposed area and apply acetone to it. If the sample dissolves or loses color, acetone cannot be used on that garment.