The release of ions from a glass-ionomer glass, which in the polyacid matrix effects the cross-linking and setting of a cement, can be modelled and initiated by acid-treatment in a dilute acid. This study examined the effect of time of acetic acid leaching on the working time, setting time, and strength of a model GIC. A reactive fluoride glass was immersed in hot acetic acid for 0 (control), 5, 15, 35, 65, 95 and 125 min, filtered and dried. The glass was mixed with an experimental GI liquid in a capsule system and the mixed pastes assessed for working and initial setting time. Compressive strength testing was undertaken according to ISO9917:2003. Immersion time had a significant effect on both working and setting time of the resultant pastes only up to 65 min of immersion, and corresponded with a thin-film ion diffusion model. Compressive strength did not vary significantly with immersion time. The glass-ionomer setting reaction can be conveniently retarded by immersion of the powder in acetic acid, without affecting strength. A reactivity model was developed, whereby the effects of various changes to the leaching process may be usefully examined.