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A toxic, colorless liquid with a slight ether-like smell. Dioxane is no longer recommended for use. In the past, it was used as a Solvent for Cellulose acetate, Ethyl cellulose, Benzyl cellulose, and other resins, oils, and waxes. It was often found in paint and varnish removers. Dioxane was also used as a Surfactant and Dispersant in textile processing, dyeing, and printing.

Chemical structure


Synonyms and Related Terms

diethylene oxide; dioxyethylene ether; 1,4-diethylene dioxide; diethylene ether; 1,4-dioxane


  • Highly toxic by skin contact, inhalation, and ingestion.
  • Suspected carcinogen.
  • Fumes are highly flammable and explosive. Flash point = 12C (54F)
  • ThermoFisher: SDS

Physical and Chemical Properties

Miscible in water and most organic solvents.

Composition C4H8O2
CAS 123-91-1
Melting Point 11.8 C
Density 1.0329 g/ml
Molecular Weight mol. wt. = 88.1
Refractive Index 1.420
Boiling Point 101.1 C

Resources and Citations

  • R. J. Gettens, G.L. Stout, Painting Materials, A Short Encyclopaedia, Dover Publications, New York, 1966
  • Hermann Kuhn, Conservation and Restoration of Works of Art and Antiquities, Butterworths, London, 1986
  • Michael McCann, Artist Beware, Watson-Guptill Publications, New York City, 1979
  • The Merck Index, Martha Windholz (ed.), Merck Research Labs, Rahway NJ, 10th edition, 1983
  • CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics, Robert Weast (ed.), CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida, v. 61, 1980 Comment: ref. index = 1.420

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