Cleaning Nicotine (Cigarette Smoke) Off Walls

May 31, 2016

dirty knotty pine wallsWe bought a cute cottage at the beach, but the walls, everything stinks of smoke. I am in the process of cleaning all the walls. I use Clorox cleaner with bleach. This is a picture of how dirty the walls are. The house was built in 1952 so we have a lot of cleaning to do.


Comment Pin it! Was this helpful? 9


Gold Post Medal for All Time! 969 Posts
November 23, 20163 found this helpful
Top Comment

I find that TSP or TrisodiumPhosphate is great for this and the powdered form is not expensive at all.

Mix it with water, and you can sponge it on with cheap mops, protecting the flooring if you need to.

Reply Was this helpful? 3
Read More Comments

More Solutions

Share on ThriftyFunThis page contains the following solutions. Have something to add? Please share your solution!

February 12, 2014

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!

Clean Walls with Vinegar and Ammonia

Comment Pin it! Was this helpful? 4

June 30, 2015

Our apartment has been smoked in for 15 years. All walls were originally painted white, but now are a lovely shade of yellow/brown. We decided to stop smoking so now I have begun the arduous task of cleaning walls.

Comment Was this helpful? 11

34 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.

November 26, 2011

What is the best product to use to clean nicotine and cooking grease from walls?

By G. Riggs


November 27, 20112 found this helpful
Best Answer

What are the walls made of? I did ours first with pine oil and water, using a squeezed out sponge mop. Then the last cleaning was with Murphy's oil soap. Then the very last was with Old English or Scott's Liquid gold furniture oil (I had little bits of both).


The walls in the home we had at that time were 70's wood paneling, and some were painted. It worked great!

Reply Was this helpful? 2

Gold Post Medal for All Time! 969 Posts
November 29, 20110 found this helpful
Best Answer

TSP or Tri Sodium Phosphate is the best thing I have used, and I was a painter. It's either available in dry form to mix with water or liquid. Use a mask and goggles, as it's not good to breath it in much or splash in your eyes.

It works really well. Hope that helps. PBP

Reply Was this helpful? Yes

Silver Feedback Medal for All Time! 282 Feedbacks
November 29, 20114 found this helpful
Best Answer

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.

Reply Was this helpful? 4
November 29, 20115 found this helpful
Best Answer

I use a cleaner called Awesome, sold in Dollar General, Family Dollar, etc. stores. Very cheap yet very good.

Reply Was this helpful? 5
February 4, 20123 found this helpful
Best Answer

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.

Reply Was this helpful? 3
November 25, 20133 found this helpful
Best Answer

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.

Reply Was this helpful? 3
Answer this Question

January 27, 2014

I am looking for home remedies to get nicotine off of painted walls and paneling in the easiest way.

By Tonya Collins from Little Rock, AR

Answer this Question

March 18, 2013

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


Gold Post Medal for All Time! 969 Posts
March 18, 20131 found this helpful
Best Answer

TSP or Tri Sodium Phosphate is the best thing you can use. It's in powder or liquid form. Best stuff you can get.

Reply Was this helpful? 1
Answer this Question

November 8, 2011

How do you clean paneled walls and get cigarette smoke film off?

By Brandy


November 9, 20110 found this helpful
Best Answer

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!

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
November 11, 20110 found this helpful
Best Answer

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.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
Answer this Question

March 23, 2015

Can wallpaper be covered with paint and not be effected by the underlying nicotine? Is there any undercoat that can be used?

By K Hassett

Answer this Question

April 16, 2013

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 Joan


Silver Feedback Medal for All Time! 282 Feedbacks
April 22, 20132 found this helpful
Best Answer

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:)

Reply Was this helpful? 2
Answer this Question

February 19, 2014

How do I remove nicotine safely from dry wall without doing any damage?

By Margaret L from Florence, AL

Answer this Question

February 10, 2011

How do you clean nicotine from walls?

By BHB from PDX


October 7, 20170 found this helpful

In order to clean nicotine from walls try using Vinegar with water or Bleach with water to remove stains. If this does not work you might have to repaint.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
Read More Answers

June 3, 2012

How do I clean cigarette stain off walls and woodwork?

By David

Answer this Question
Load More
In These Pages
Home and Garden Cleaning WallsApril 3, 2012
Summer Ideas!
Fourth of July Ideas!
Ask a Question
Share a Post
Better LivingBudget & FinanceBusiness and LegalComputersConsumer AdviceCoronavirusCraftsEducationEntertainmentFood and RecipesHealth & BeautyHolidays and PartiesHome and GardenMake Your OwnOrganizingParentingPetsPhotosTravel and RecreationWeddings
Published by ThriftyFun.
Desktop Page | View Mobile
Disclaimer | Privacy Policy | Contact Us
Generated 2023-06-20 10:46:25 in 4 secs. ⛅️️
© 1997-2023 by Cumuli, Inc. All Rights Reserved.