A home occupied by smokers will collect nicotine residue on the walls and other surfaces. This is a guide about cleaning nicotine (cigarette smoke) off walls.
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I'm currently cleaning an estate, and this is PROOF that nicotine can be washed off of the walls with vinegar, and ammonia. I didn't even use the baking soda with the concoction! :) Also, if you use a Scotch-Brite Dobie, it works much better than just using a rag! Happy cleaning!
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Here are questions related to Cleaning Nicotine (Cigarette Smoke) Off Walls.
How do I clean cigarette stain off walls and woodwork?
How do you clean nicotine from walls?
By BHB from PDX
How do you clean paneled walls and get cigarette smoke film off?
For paneled walls, you could try Avon Skin So Soft. Water could discolor paneling so if you must use water solutions, do so sparingly. Dusting sprays such as pledge or old gold are also good for cleaning paneling as is Murphy's oil soap.
By Frances Adams11/09/2011
When we moved into our first home, it had the same problem. First, get 2 really cheap sponge mops. I mopped the walls the first time with bleach and hot water, just mix according to label directions for general cleaning. After that dried, I did the same with Pine-Sol, then the same thing again with Murphy's Oil Soap. The last thing I did was rub over the walls with the 'liquid gold' types of wood preserver.
Use the first mop for the bleach mixture, and the second for the Pine-sol, oil soap washes. I just used all our rags to put the Old English on the walls.
If your home is like mine, it will be on the ceilings, the floors, carpets, and inside the kitchen cabinets, even inside the fridge. All of them got the same treatment. The carpets got pulled out and replaced with linoleum.
Good luck to you!
What is the best product to use to clean nicotine and cooking grease from walls?
By G. Riggs
By Patricia S.11/25/2013
I used white rubbing alcohol and a handi-wipe. Because alcohol evaporates quickly that was the only cloth that worked. I completely soaked the rag no need to wring out and wiped down wall. Follow immediately with a wet towel(not one of the good one's) . The nicotine came right off. I still have the handiwipe but the towel had to be tossed. Good Luck.
Use a little ammonia, a little white vinegar, a squirt of dawn dish soap, 1/4 cup of baking soda, and some hot water - at least one gallon of hot water. This takes nicotine off your walls fast and you don't have to go back over it to rinse. I have even used Easy Off Oven Cleaner in the blue can on stubborn areas on the wall. With that though, you have to work very fast because it will remove the paint right off of the wall.
By Carmen Dunning C.11/29/2011
I use a cleaner called awesome, sold in dollar general family dollar etc stores, very cheap yet very good
By Frugal Sunnie11/29/2011
Half vinegar half water will not only cut the nicotine from the walls while leaving the paint on, it will also remove the odor of the nicotine. Yes, the vinegar smell will dissipate overnight. Promise.
What product will clean nicotine of walls the best?
Nicotine in the wall makes us sick, with cough and sore throat. Can I clean the walls with cleaner or do I have to paint over?
By Emil D
TSP or Tri Sodium Phosphate is the best thing you can use. It's in powder or liquid form. Best stuff you can get.
I would like some advice for getting cigarette smoke off of walls and painted woodwork. I tried using Scrubbing Bubbles on a small area of my painted work.
Wow, it was amazing. It feels a little sticky. Should I wash it before painting and with what. Can you use it on varnished woodwork?
By Frugal Sunnie04/22/2013
LOL, you're asking several questions at once:)
Re getting the cigarette smell out-a wash with vinegar and water (half water-half vinegar) will safely clean, disinfect, and even 'prep' walls for painting, all at the same time. You may want to wash twice if there is a lot of nicotine (will show as yellow on the sponge and will turn the vinegar-water wash solution yellow too). Don't rinse, vinegar 'fragrance' will dissipate after about an hour and take the stench of the cigarettes with it.
As an FYI, vinegar is a great cleaner. It kills mould safely (no potentially lung damaging chemical reaction as happens with bleach), it disinfects and deodorises incredibly well, and is just about the most inexpensive, cost effective cleaning agent around. A shallow bowl in room corners is a safe (pets won't drink it but if they do it won't hurt them) air freshener, just for one example.
Now, about the Scrubbing Bubbles-did you read that part on the label about being careful when using on painted wood?:) The sticky you mention is because the cleanser in the product has 'eaten' through the surface of the paint and you will need to repaint.
To repaint effectively (that is, to keep your new paint where you put it without peeling and blistering) you will need to prep your walls in accordance to what type of paint you need to paint over.
If oil based paint (usually the glossy paints but not always so it's best to find out if possible), you'll need to either sand or scrape the paint off your surface, then use a primer to cover and prep surfaces that have been painted with an oil base paint.
If a latex (water base) paint was used (usually flat, matte, and semi-gloss but again, not always), generally a simple wash with something that will 'rough' the surface is sufficient. You can buy (if in the US, not sure about other countries) a product called TSP that works great as a cleaner and surface prep wash for latex painted surfaces.
Vinegar and water will also do the job on the flats and mattes; the semi-gloss applications are usually best prepped by the TSP wash.
Hope this helps:)
I just purchased an old home with old wood paneling that reeks of nicotine. What is the best way to clean it?
By Donna G
I have done an entire home that was suppose to be white but it was literally yellow with dripping nicotine :P So there is really no easy way but if you get a good scrub brush a bucket and some water/bleach solution it will come off nicely and smell much better. It does take some elbow grease but produces nice results. don't forget eye protection,gloves and a respirator of some sort and lots of fresh air while working with bleach! And for painted surfaces after being cleaned and drying they can be primed and repainted. But wood should only need cleaned and dry.
I live in an apartment that was smoked in a lot, you can see where the picture's used to hang on the walls. I have heard of products like T.S.P., and I do not want to use anything that is harmful to the environment. So any suggestions that any of you out there have would be appreciated. Thank you.
By Carrie L.
By Frugal Sunnie06/04/2013
Vinegar mixed with water is a great way to clean and deodorise at the same time. It works a treat on nicotine! Half water-half white vinegar in a bucket and use a sponge or dishtowel to wipe away the ick. The vinegar smell will dissipate taking any odor with it.
I have lots of nic traps (bric-a-brac) throughout my home and have to clean these items of yellowing/browning that gets sticky once wet. When dry you only notice the discoloring. Anyway, great advice from you on walls. I tried the ones I did not know about with excellent results. Can you help with my nic traps or do I just purchase stock in water and soap lol.
By toe knee
By Rosemarie M. B.08/07/2013
Bric-a-brac can go in a dishwasher, unless it's something with fabric on it. I wash light fixtures and anything else that requires thorough cleaning in my dishwasher; it cleans in all the nooks and crannies that would otherwise use up time and old toothbrushes. :-)
What is the best and easiest way to clean cigarette smoke off of walls?
How can I remove nicotine stains from walls to prepare for repainting?
By Sharon E. from Louisville, MS
By Kathy M.09/26/2013
The only thing I have ever found that works effectively is dishwasher detergent dissolved in water. Or you can use a regular cleaner such as Mr. Clean or Lysol in water with a little bleach added to the water. Good luck. Hope you enjoy your new colors!
I am looking for home remedies to get nicotine off of painted walls and paneling in the easiest way.
By Tonya from Little Rock, AR
By Frugal Sunnie02/03/2014
Half water and have white distilled vinegar applied freely and repeatedly until the sponge or towel shows no nicotine residue - just wait till you see how well this cuts and removes the truly icky yellow mess! The vinegar 'aroma' will dissipate in about a half hour after the last wipe-down leaving the room/house odor free.
How do I remove nicotine safely from dry wall without doing any damage?
By Margaret L from Florence, AL
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My mom is buying a double wide in wonderful condition EXCEPT the previous occupants were heavy smokers (as in put one out, light one up). We didn't realize that the walls were coated in nicotine - how do you get it off? I had been wiping the walls with a cleaner thinking I was getting them clean - not so. Please help!
Dab from TN
Rinse your sponge, mop or cloth often in clean water before dipping back into the cleaner so that you won't just be spreading the stuff back on. If you have a sponge or mop with a scrubbie attached all the better. Make sure you rinse the wall well after washing to get off what has been loosened. It does clean it off.Another thing that works is straight rubbing alcohol on a sponge but because it is a large job I wouldn't recommend it except for stubborn spots.If you decide to repaint instead of cleaning, first paint with KILZ. It will seal in the stains so they won't bleed through the new paint job.-- Susan (01/17/2002)
Ammonia and water, but open the windows! TSP and a magic eraser for surfaces such as appliances. It worked and I can now say after the rehabbing my house is clear of nicotine.I hope this helps! Sarah (11/02/2005)
By mary Olson
By Shelley L. in CA
The bottles says to use full strength for nicotine, but I diluted it 2 parts cleaner to 1 part water in a spray bottle, sprayed it on and watched the nicotine gunk roll off the woodwork. (Turn on the vent and/or open the windows for ventilation, and make sure you don't get the mist in your eyes or nose. Just for safety) and wipe down with paper towels and then follow with a damp rag. (Put an old towel or something absorbent on the floor to catch the drips.)I don't think I would try it on painted walls at 2:1 as I noticed that where the spray got on my semi-gloss paint it kinda took the gloss down (on the drywall, woodwork looks great), but this can probably be avoided by applying with a rag instead of a sprayer. Also worked great on my kitchen cabinets. I'll definitely keep this in stock under the kitchen sink and let this be my #1 cleaner. I haven't been this excited about a cleaning product since I bought my first Magic Eraser! (11/16/2007)
I bought a small box of Arm & Hammer WASHING SODA and some vinegar. Just dumped about a cup of vinegar and a handful of the washing soda in a bucket and added hot water. (Later found some great recipes for these cleaning jobs in a book called "Mary Ellen's Helpful Hints." I then dampened a rag, and went into the living room, where I swiped the rag just above a heat register in the wall. It was MAGIC! And the wall was not tan, it was a pretty pale green.My only problem was this one clean spot was in full view so I had to do the whole HUGE room. Took me a week, after working a job all day, but what a difference. The owner thought I had painted. (He had refused to do so.) You don't have to scrub hard but do have to change the water often, or rinse rag in another bucket before putting it back in the cleaning solution. That stuff turns the water black in no time! (03/20/2008)
How do I clean fine furniture that has accumulated years of nicotine residue? I live in a mobile home. My walls are also stained from nicotine--how do I clean this stuff? - Lynne from Georgia
I am purchasing a new home where there were obviously heavy smokers in the house for a long long time. The walls are plaster!
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.
Scrubbing Bubbles is great for cleaning walls. It melts away the nicotine too. Spray on, wait 1 minute and wipe off with paper towels.
I have purchased a mobile home to rent. The walls are stained with nicotine.
I know someone out there knows the answer to this. We are moving into a place where the person was a heavy smoker.
I have just done a test with several different cleaners including TSP and the only one that really does the job is Scrubbing Bubbles.
I rented a home where we all smoked for ten years and the walls were terribly stained. I used bleach as well as many different things. I found the easiest way to clean and deodorize was to use white vinegar and water with a mop.