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Painting Over Smoke Stained Walls

April 13, 2015

I have tried most of the solutions posted on different websites, and none have worked. I was convinced that I would have to use a stain blocker and then repaint the whole room. Then, while cleaning the bathroom with Kaboom foaming bathroom cleaner (the one that starts out purple then changes to white), I wondered if this might work.

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I sprayed it on a small section of the wall, waited for it to change color then used a kitchen sponge mop to wipe down the section I had sprayed. Well to my surprise, it worked. Since it's a foam, you don't have to worry about it running down the wall. I then wiped down the wall with a water, dish soap (Dawn), and lemon juice mixture to remove any residue and odor that was left behind. I used two buckets, one with the cleaning mixture and one with just water to rinse out the mop head.

Give it a try, it just might save you the time removing furniture and the expense of the paint.

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January 26, 2016

If you're planning on painting the interior of your home, consider adding ionic paint additive to the paint. It turns the walls into a permanent air purification system.

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The ionic additive will keep your home free of smoke odors and toxins.

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7 Questions

Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

August 11, 2021

I asked someone to paint my smoke smelled place. They did not clean before they painted. Now my place still has the smoke smell. Any advice on how I can fix it please?


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Silver Answer Medal for All Time! 320 Answers
August 11, 20210 found this helpful
Best Answer

Here are a few suggestions, or try them all!

Sprinkle baking soda on all upholstery and carpets. Let it sit overnight to absorb odors, then vacuum. This may need repeating several times.

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Leave bowls of white vinegar around the house, or boil a pot-full on the stove. Mop hard floors, cabinets, and windows with a mixture of ½ cup of white vinegar per gallon of warm water.

Hang activated charcoal (briquets) around the house in netting such as red mesh produce bags; don't place directly on things - it might stain.

Steam clean surfaces such as cabinets where you can see the smoke residue, wiping up with microfiber. Steam machines can be rented at hardware stores.

Finally, don't underestimate the power of fresh air and sunshine! Keep as many windows open as possible with fans running, and set unwashable brick-a-brack and pillows, etc. out in direct strong sunlight.

Good luck!

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Gold Feedback Medal for All Time! 949 Feedbacks
August 11, 20210 found this helpful
Best Answer

I'm not sure we have enough information to really answer your question but hopefully some suggestions will help.
Was this smoke smell caused by a fire or just from present or former residents? It sounds like it may be the latter..

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I'm also assuming you are not talking about furniture/clothing or items in your home but perhaps the walls or/and cabinets.
I'm sorry that I have to say this but I believe the painters have basically 'sealed' in the smoke smell and the smell/odor may be there for a very long time - years probably.
I do not believe it is possible to clean away the smell or to use any type of material products to help either.

I would suggest you find out what type of paint was used (brand and type - oil/water based/etc.).
You will need this information when you seek 'professional' help.
Take this information along with information about types of walls etc that was painted to maybe an Ace hardware store (they have more time to offer help) or to a regular paint store.

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Home Depot may help. They will tell you if there is anything new on the market that might work.

The painters should have cleaned the wood before painting and even then should have used a product in the paint that is for painting smoked walls/wood.
It would be nice if you could make them do what will be necessary to remove this smell but that may not be possible.

Sorry, but I think this will take some 'doing'.
Maybe other members can offer more help/suggestions.

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Answer this Question

March 5, 2009

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

Karen

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Bronze Feedback Medal for All Time! 239 Feedbacks
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).

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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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Gold Post Medal for All Time! 969 Posts
March 6, 20091 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

Karen,

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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March 2, 2009

How do I paint over nicotine stained walls?

Karen from Fayetteville, TN

Answers

March 2, 20090 found this helpful

Wash them with a diluted ammonia solution. TWICE. Then paint as normal. Some would recommend painting with Kilz Primer first too.

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Bronze Feedback Medal for All Time! 239 Feedbacks
March 2, 20090 found this helpful

We had to wash them with a strong bleach solution or a TSP solution (available in the hardware store) and then we painted with Kilz before painting.

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By Harry (Guest Post)
March 2, 20090 found this helpful

Wash with TSP ( Trisodium phosphate) can be bought at a hardware store. or if you can't find any wash the walls with spic and span. If heavely stained you may have to wash again. When dry,paint.

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March 2, 20090 found this helpful

Do not just paint them, the nicotine will bleed through. Wash them first, WELL!

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Gold Post Medal for All Time! 969 Posts
March 2, 20090 found this helpful

TSP is Tri Sodium Phosphate and will dilute the nicotine and clean it before you paint. If you don't, it will bleed through just like they said.
It not only cleans nicotine, but grease, and oils, food stains and more.
Doing this extra step will keep you from painting, then doing this and painting again.

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Silver Feedback Medal for All Time! 407 Feedbacks
March 4, 20090 found this helpful

The walls were so soaked with nictoine in my house when I bought it that when I tried to wash them the rag wouldn't slide on the wall but rather kept rolling up on itself!

But I persevered and I'm sorry, but so will you have to. If you don't get them clean first, it will always bleed through.

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March 4, 20090 found this helpful

I had the same problem on my porch and I tried BORAX. I bought a box for under $5 and divided it between 2 large empty jars (1 for the kitchen, 1 for the laundry room). I added some BORAX to a bucket of warm water and also put some DRY BORAX in a small container. Wet the sponge/cloth in the warm water dip it in the DRY BORAX and scrub. I swear it was like magic - the nicotine stains disappeared.

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March 4, 20090 found this helpful

I've found that using microfiber cloths work beautifully using just plain water! Naturally, you'll need to change the water frequently, and do have more than a couple of cloths ready for the job. If you want, you can use them on a "Swiffer" handle. Just tuck the edge in as you would a wet Swiffer and you'll get plenty of power behind it. If you want, I remember a previous post which said that using "Scrubbing Bubbles" works great, so you can probably try that too.

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June 1, 2012

I am painting a room which has been smoked in for 15 years. I have washed all the walls down, however, it keeps coming back even though I have put on 5/6 coats of paint.

By Kevin

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May 2, 2012

I need to remove the smoke from my walls. I smoke cigarettes.

By Eleanor

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