Triethylene glycol is a colorless liquid with a slight, sweet odor. It properties closely resemble those of diethylene glycol. In many instances, the applications for diethylene glycol and triethylene glycol overlap. Because triethylene glycol has a higher boiling point, it may be used in preference to diethylene glycol when a less volativle compound is required.
Because it has two ether and two hydroxyl groups, TEG is a good solvent for nitrocellulose as well as for various gums and resins. It is miscible with water and many organic solvents. TEG is a solvent used in the formulation of steam-set printing inks.