Cleaning Nicotine Stains from Wallpaper

Category Walls
Removing the yellow stains caused by the nicotine in cigarette smoke can be tricky, if it is on some types of wallpaper. This is a page about cleaning nicotine stains from wallpaper.


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March 11, 2018

Our mobile home has wallpaper on walls and wood framing around doors and windows. Can I use vinegar and water on the wallpaper or will it peel? Should I use something stronger on the white wood door/window frames?


March 14, 20180 found this helpful
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I have successfully used a damp wall mop or cleaning cloth with a diluted multi-purpose cleaning solution (Mr. Clean, Lysol all-purpose, etc,) I also have used a magic eraser for the stains that don't just wipe off. A magic eraser would also work well on the trim and/or woodwork. A magic eraser looks like a white sponge usually. Different brands have different names but these things are truly amazing. I have even gotten permanent marker off of wallpaper with them!

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April 16, 2011

How do you clean nicotine stains off walls? Both wallpaper and paneling?

By AnnaBelle64 from Dresden, TN


May 28, 20110 found this helpful
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I saw someone use Scrubbing Bubbles bathroom cleaner on paneling and the nicotine ran off. I don't know about wallpaper.

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May 10, 2016

This is a page about cleaning nicotine stains from vinyl wallpaper. Nicotine in cigarettes mixes with oxygen and creates a yellow stain that can accumulate on your walls.

Woman talking on phone will smoking a cigarette in front of vinyl wallpaper

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April 16, 2011

I need to clean cigarette smoke off wallpaper without tearing it up.

By pam from Tateville, KY


Removing Nicotine Stains From Wallpaper


Try wiping or even mopping it down with a mixture of warm water and 1/2 c white vinegar, you could even add a little bit of dish soap (just a drop or two) in a bucket and wipe. Use a sponge mop to get close to the ceiling. I've used this on painted walls as well. You really don't need a lot of the vinegar as it does a great job. Change the water often. (07/05/2010)

By Dorina

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July 2, 2010

Can nicotine be safely removed from wallpaper? Also, how do you remove it safely from paint, etc.

Maggie1960 from IN


Removing Nicotine Stains From Wallpaper

There's only one thing that might help you. When we had a house fire and the professionals came to help with the clean up. They know all the tricks (like for example 1 can of Coca-Cola added to your regular washing machine load will remove all traces of smoke smell). Anyway, they used this dry-chemical sponge to "erase" the smoke from our wallpaper and woodwork. I believe they might be called "Dry Cleaning Sponges". You wouldn't believe how wonderfully they worked!


These sponges are made for use by professionals, so you could look in your yellow pages under "smoke damage" or "water damage" call these guys, The yellow page ads are placed by the contractors, (they hire others to do the dirty work). You'd want the name of their subcontractors, the guys that come to actually clean up the smoke. Maybe they'd sell you a sponge or 2. Not many know about these little gems, but, once you use one you're hooked.

* Nicotine: Years ago the whole family decided to re-do my ex mother-in-law's trailer for her. She was a chain smoker and we tried to paint over the nicotine. Tried being the word. We made the mistake of not using a super-duper primer (like Kilz, Zinsser, or Griper) and with every coat of paint, it looked like we'd covered over the nicotine, but as the paint dried, the nicotine kept seeping through.


It took 4 coats of paint and still there were problem areas. Nicotine has an "oily" and "tar-type" base, so it does tend to seep through paint. Plus it's sticky, so that doesn't help either. Good luck.

Here's several sites for the dry cleaning sponges. Check out the top one first, as they have a list of what it will clean.

* To find more, you'll need to Google the words "chemical sponge". Unfortunately, some places (like the last URL) only sell cases. But ask them if they'll send you a "sample" sponge if you send them $10 for shipping and handling. Who knows? It could work. Other wise, you'll have to get your friends and neighbors to go in on a case with you of these wonderful cleaning tools. They're good for cleaning anything that you don't want to get wet, or anything with soot and smoke that can't be removed any other way.


They used them on my wood kitchen cabinets and on my painted walls too! I talked them into leaving me one. They work for quite a while. I don't know how they clean so well without being wet, but they sure do the trick. If you've ever seen a smoke damaged room, you'll know what I'm talking about.

Those ozone generators work wonders. The pros also brought one of these in after the fire. My house smelled clean and fresh in only 2 days time. The smoke had gotten in to the furnace's "fresh-air" intake and had spread smoke all over the home to every room. This ozone generation made the difference. That, the Coca-Cola in the wash, and a lot of Febreze! But you'll need to leave the house when the ozone generator is running. They remove oxygen from the air and aren't safe to run while you're at home.


Remember: If you live with a smoker, you too and your kids are also smoking. (01/29/2008)

By Cyinda

Removing Nicotine Stains From Wallpaper

Just FYI, it's tar you're trying to remove. Pure nicotine is a clear liquid, with a viscosity like mineral oil. So remember that it's dried tar, and think degreasing. God bless you. (01/31/2008)

By Kim Churchman

Removing Nicotine Stains From Wallpaper

We are getting ready to move into a trailer that was rented to smokers before us. They must have been heavy smokers, the walls are stained yellow. You can see outlines of where pictures hung. It's flat out disgusting, and I'm a smoker. I always take it outside though.

Anyway, I've been cleaning this place for 2 days now, scrubbing walls, cabinets, windows, mirrors, and any hard surface. I've tried Oxiclean, Awesome, Mean Green, and even bleach to get these walls clean. There is no hope for them. We have to paint. Although I will say, the Awesome stuff did wonders for the kitchen cabinets. It took all the nicotine and grease off, and now the cabinets look almost brand new. (09/09/2008)

By Tasha

Removing Nicotine Stains From Wallpaper

I have found that Magic Erasers work great for vinyl wallpaper. Takes a little (not much at all) elbow grease, but well worth it. (09/20/2009)

By patty

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January 29, 2008

How do you clean wallpaper that has nicotine stains?

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August 11, 2007

I have a problem. I have just moved in with my soon-to-be mother-in-law. She is a chain smoker. She has the same wallpaper and linoleum she had 30 years ago when the house was built. I would like to remove the nicotine as a favor. Any suggestions?

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