Nicotine Saturated Walls

Hi everyone, I have recently discovered this site and have to say that the tips on here are SO helpful, especially to a young newlywed!


I was wondering if anyone knows how to get rid of nicotine that has saturated the walls. I live in an apartment, and while my husband and I are not smokers, the previous resident(s) were. In our bathroom, I have cleaned the walls and ceiling many times, and the nicotine drips on the wall disappear easily with regular bathroom cleaner. However, they always come back within a week. When we shower, and the steam condenses and drips down the walls, the drops become yellow again with nicotine that I think has saturated into the paint.

I think this is the place in the house where the most recent resident did most of her smoking, since there are several burns on the sink top that appear to be made from cigarettes (don't you just love your first apartment).

My apartment complex isn't likely to fix the problem for me, so I'm turning to you all. I simply can't do a full scale wall and ceiling cleaning every week, and this is just too gross.



Nicotine Saturated Walls

We moved into a house that was heavily smoked in - the only things we found helpful were a Odor Removal company (approx $200 for our 3 level house). Carpet cleaning, removing wallpaper and paint. Nothing was real cheap (except for the paint). We also used a Kilz primer that blocked smoke. You may want to check home improvement stores or paint stores for their oops! paint - costs about $5 or less. (09/20/2004)

By karicarlson

Nicotine Saturated Walls

I used manage apt complexes, and my hubby did the painting and maintenance. The only thing we used was Kilz, available at any home improvement store. If you're on a budget, you can buy a spray can at a time. It workes really well, and sprays on white, probably just like your walls are supposed to look like. Good luck! (09/20/2004)


By Kim

Nicotine Saturated Walls

You might want to clean the walls with tsp let them dry then paint with Kilz stain blocker and then regular paint.
Good luck! (09/20/2004)

By acraftycat

Nicotine Saturated Walls

If you're just worried about the smell left after cleaning the entire room, here's one that I've successfully used in my home, an RV, and in cars. Every night, or when you are away from home, place a bowl of pure ammonia in the middle of the room and shut the door. After about a week of this the smell should be gone or drastically reduced. The ammonia works for musty smells, and other nasty, ungodly smells as well. It's inexpensive and hasn't ever let me down. Good luck. (09/20/2004)

By Thissie

Nicotine Saturated Walls

Kilz will block the seeping stains. I hope the odor of smoke isn't into the walls, tho. I don't know what would block that. (09/20/2004)


Nicotine Saturated Walls

My first husband smoked. Although he went outside to light up the apartments we lived in always reeked of that nasty smell and film. After trying everything we got the landlord of one of the places to repaint. this was the best way. I wouldn't even bother trying anything else now. Smoking is such a dirty habit not only for those who choose to smoke but for those of us who have to live in the after math. (09/21/2004)

By walker

Nicotine Saturated Walls

We cleaned our walls with Oxy Clean - really took off the 75 year accumulation of nicotine - then painted them will Kilz. It has really blocked the stains - and the smell. Just cleaning was good - but did not get it all.

Good luck! (09/21/2004)

By QueenBeeCrafts

Nicotine Saturated Walls

Thanks everyone! I will check out these ideas right away! (09/21/2004)

By SWeyer

Nicotine Saturated Walls

I just remodeled my home, and had to clean the walls of my living room as a prep to painting. Instead of the TSP solution, I tried a cleaner my father had given me. It is Quick-n-Brite. This product is a type of gel-like paste. After using, I almost didn't need to paint! I believe it is available from TV, i.e., infomericials. I have used it since on carpets stains and it works great! (10/10/2004)

By Sherry

Nicotine Saturated Walls

I can totally relate to Sara. I paid a small fortune to repaper my master bathroom. The nicotine has discolored the paper. I love the pattern and want to try and clean the paper. What can I use? Kilz works great on painted surfaces. I painted the walls and the popcorn ceiling. Once that was done I painted the ceiling with ceiling white paint and the walls with semi gloss latex. The room smells great now. (02/15/2006)

By Grandmashadit

Nicotine Saturated Walls

The way I got rid of the smoke staining was using a product made by the S.C. Johnson Wax Company called "GP Forward". Don't leave GP Forward undiluted on either your painted walls or your waxed floors because it'll peel the paint and strip off the wax. I use it diluted about 5 to 1. Diluted 5 to 1, it should remove the smoking stains just by itself, but if you really want to do a good job, read on...

I use an ultrafine (the light grey ones) Scotch Brite pad available from whatever place the local 3M sales rep tells you sells them (usually industrial supply places) on a "doodle bug pad holder" available at any janitorial supply store and wash the walls and ceilings with that. Get the kind you can put on a pole so you can do the ceilings with a long pole and the walls with a shorter one.


The GP Forward softens latex paint, so you'll find you can scratch it off the wall easily once the GP Forward has soaked in. Don't worry about that, it'll return to normal after it dries. Dip the Scotchbrite pad in a shallow pan containing about 1/4 inch of GP Forward and scrub the wall with that. You'll notice the cleaner turns the same colour as the wall. That's because it's removing the surface layer of paint. Don't worry, it won't remove it all. Once you've cleaned a section, remove the cleaner off the wall with a squeegee. Make a pass or two with the squeegee, then wipe up the collected liquid with one pass of a damp sponge. After you've cleaned the cleaner off, rinse with clean water and an Atlantic Bee Mop. Keep two buckets going; a dirty water bucket and a clean water bucket. Wring the sponge mop out in the dirty water first, then the clean, and pour out the dirty water often and then use the clean water as the dirty water and new water as the clean water.

Cleaning the walls this way will clean the smoke film off. But it'll also roughen the surface of the paint so it'll look flatter. It's not flat because the gloss goes all the way through the paint. I use this method to clean apartments after tenants move out. Once every ten years or so I paint. Then over the next 10 years I remove the surface layers of that paint after each tenant moves out. Guestimating by the colour of the dirty water I pour out, I figure I take off about 10% of the thickness of the paint each time I clean.

GP Forward is sold at any janitoial supply store that carries S.C. Johnson Wax products. It comes in a gallon jug or a 20 liter "enviropac". One gallon will do 4 or 5 two bedroom apartments. But it's also a great cleaner for other things too.

By Anonymous

Nicotine Saturated Walls

Have you tried using bleach water to clean walls and ceiling if they are white or really light in color it worked for me..if you have to and this helps try a fresh new color of paint afterwards or buy something called Kilz (washable) than a fresh coat of paint (05/07/2007)

By silkynjoe

Nicotine Saturated Walls

Here could be some advice. I use a product called grease lightening. but you should be careful not to leave it on to long. it did take the finish off of my grandmother hardwood floor. but it works great for nicotine stains on the wall for just for general cleaning. i hope you find this to be useful info. (10/07/2007)


Nicotine Saturated Walls

There is a product called T.S.P. It is a mild natural acid that will deglaze and clean the walls after which i would recommend painting. Being a painter myself i have used this product many times and it has never failed. Yous 1st coat should be an oil primer after which you can paint with whatever product you see fit. You should also ask your local paint store for details. Hope this helps. (02/02/2008)

By Jamie

Nicotine Saturated Walls

Water, ammonia and a little dish detergent. Be sure to have ample ventilation. (03/15/2008)

By Adks

Nicotine Saturated Walls

I found this by searching google.

Customer Testimonial

" I own a rental house and my tenant had smoked there for over 20 years. The popcorn ceiling was dark brown like chocolate. Where the pictures had been hanging on the wall was white and the wall was brown. The carpet stunk and was stained. I needed to get this house rented quickly so I was in a panic. I was glad to find your website and get next day delivery. One jar cleaned the whole house. I just sprayed the ceiling and it turned white after a few hours. The whole house smelled and looked clean after using your product. WOW! thanks again for such a great product".
Bobby L., Dallas Texas

Clean-n-Brite's formula comes in the form of all natural Power Crystals and mixes with your own tap water to release its full cleaning strength (05/08/2008)

By Steve

Nicotine Saturated Walls

Hi there! The residue that is on your walls because of smoking is tar. Tar is a long chain of carbohydrate and is hardly soluble in water. You could compare it to grease, oil or fat. To get it off your walls, you have to use a solvent for fat. The cheapest thing out there that is really effective is AMMONIA. Dilute it with water and add some regular detergent. Ammonia can also be used to clean any other greasy surface like your cooker hood etc...

If you have curtains that were spoilt by smoke, just handwash them in ammonia solution before you get them into the washing machine. Make sure to try with pure ammonia on a less visible part of your fabric so to make sure it won't damage the colors.


By Paul


April 12, 20160 found this helpful

Good luck because everything will enter your unit from the unit next to you, above you, below you thru the a/c vents, walls, cracks, etc.. Move out! Find a smoke free one but good luck if you live in AZ, you'll "never" find one.

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