Using Kilz on Nicotine Stained Walls

Can I use the oil based Kilz and omit washing the nicotine stained walls?


March 5, 20090 found this helpful

It's my understanding that all surfaces should be clean before painting with anything. Sure would be a shame to paint Kilz then regulart paint and THEN find out you should have washed first...

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March 6, 20090 found this helpful

I would not bother with the Kilz. You should wash the walls to have a clean surface for the paint to adhere to. Now is the time to patch or sand any imperfections in the wall. If you want to use a primer use a water base as well as water based paint. Easier to apply and clean up. I will repeat,you don't need Kilz as a primer to repaint your walls.

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March 6, 20090 found this helpful

I agree that you should wash the walls. As a former smoker, the best thing to clean with is ammonia. Be sure to open a window or two while you're using this. Mix up a fairly strong solution (1 cup of ammonia to 1 gallon of hot water).

Use a sponge mop to clean the walls. This will cut down on drips and make it easier to reach the high spots.

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March 6, 20090 found this helpful

They are all right. The best thing I ever found was a product called TSP or Tri Sodium Phosphate. It will make the nicotine run off in streaks and you can have nice clean surface to paint on. My momma always said that done right is done once.

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March 6, 20090 found this helpful

The house we moved into was completely covered with nicotine stains/smoke smells. I found that lightly spraying Scrubbing Bubbles would make the nicotine run off in streaks also as the first person stated with the TSP, and I could just wipe off easily. We went through many bottles of it, but saved a lot of extra elbow grease compared to other cleaners we tried at first.

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March 7, 20090 found this helpful


I just got done painting my kitchen cabinets. I sanded, cleaned them with "totally awsome" then primed them with Kilz. I had a horrible time covering the nicotine stains that kept coming through. I eventually had to primer, let it cure for 2 days then spray it down with green works All Purpose Cleaner (to avoid removing the fresh primer) and then repeat that process again before moving on to the painting process which I had to do the same thing... paint, let cure for a couple days, spray it, wipe of the nicotine that would surface and then repeat the paint process. It did end up looking good, but what should have taken 2 days ended up taking 14. I wish I would have been informed about TSP, I hear it works wonders... don't make the same mistake as me... CLEAN it first :)

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October 22, 20160 found this helpful

A shellac based primer will cover and seal the nicotine and keep it from bleeding back thru. I used to work in the paint department at home depot and I promise it really does work.

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March 7, 20090 found this helpful

No matter what you clean with, clean from the bottom up to prevent streaking. It really makes a difference!

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March 12, 20090 found this helpful

Kilz is great. Oil based products will stink you out of the house, use latex instead. I did not know about TSP when I was dealing with the nicotine stained walls, but have used it since to help remove mold from my basement walls (concrete block) and prepare them for water-proofing. Also great stuff. I like the powder form over the liquid.

My grandparent's house is 50+ years old and has seen very heaving smoking. The walls were solid brown and I just could not deal with washing them. I applied one coat of Kilz and then painted. Looks great one year later with no bleed through.

I know ammonia is frowned on by some, but it was the only thing I found that would cut through the brown residue that was on everything in the house. I used it to clean the sealed brick fireplace as well as the cabinets (test first). I filled a trash bag (compactor variety is best) with ammonia and placed dishes and Tupperware inside and closed it up. Let it sit several hours or overnight in a kid/pet free location. I use this method to clean the racks and drip pans from my stove.

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February 4, 20120 found this helpful

No mam you can not. Those walls have to be washed or even the oil based Kilz will not stick to it. If you don't, expect it to start crackling or start peeling with in one months time. Yes, oil base will stick to oil base, but it will not stick to oily dirt and grime from cigarette smoke.

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In This Article
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