Asked on Aug 17, 2013

Nicotine stains

Anne-Marie Mills-EwerChristal RobertsThe Garden Frog with C Renee


What is the best way to remove nicotine stains from walls? We are going to paint the kitchen and a former resident smoked.
9 answers
  • Therese C
    on Aug 17, 2013

    The first thing is this. Are the walls painted with gloss, semi-gloss, or flat paint? Gloss or semi-gloss can be cleaned easily with spray foam bathroom cleaner (like cheap Scrubbing Bubbles). Flat paint absorbs and cannot be washed, so I would suggest a good coat of Kilz to seal the walls and keep the nicotine from bleeding back through. *suggestion*-- use flat paint to repaint and stir in a bit of baking soda prior to painting to help keep the odor sealed out. Happy painting!

  • Rachael Harpel
    on Aug 17, 2013

    Thanks. It may be flat because it is the original construction paint when it was built in 2000.

    • Therese C
      on Aug 17, 2013

      @Rachael Harpel I do know that from experience, in a rental property you should always use flat paint. The reason for this is that you will find yourself having to patch holes from pictures or whatever, and the patch under gloss or semi-gloss, reflects the light and shows any imperfection or uneven spot in the wall. Flat makes it all look uniform and clean. Flat is not washable, but easier to touch up in the long run. Just be sure to leave a small jar or can of the paint you use in the house for the new tenant, to touch up if they need to.

  • Patti Nicholas
    on Aug 18, 2013

    I own an eco-friendly cleaning company and my husband used to be a home renovation contractor so I've had to do this to numerous rental homes. I use a solution of castile soap and water, usually about a tablespoon of soap in a large squirt bottle (I think it's about 1 1/2 quarts, maybe a little more.) For darker stains or spots that need an extra scrubbing, make a paste of castile soap and baking soda, then to be sure you have all the baking soda residue off the wall, spray it with white vinegar and wipe off. Be sure your wall are completely dry before painting and you will probably still need to seal the wall with a stain killer like Kilz. Hope this is helpful

  • MikkiGirl
    on Aug 19, 2013

    Wash walls down with TSP. I always use it before painting walls, even if they're not heavily stained?

  • Angela Weaver
    on Aug 19, 2013

    Scrubbing Bubbles removes nicotine without breaking a sweat... Flat finish walls I'd Kiltz and paint. Anything using more liquids will just soak into your walls and smudge and stain.

  • Angela Weaver
    on Aug 19, 2013

    Or you can try a Magic Eraser, but go gently... It will remove flat paint if you scrub too hard

  • The best way to cover up nicotine and also to help removed the smell is to primer over it with a good primer. The smell of nicotine will be there so you need to seal up the walls and the ceiling. Zinsser primer is what I use and there is one for stains. 2 light coats and then paint. Good luck

  • Christal Roberts
    on Feb 27, 2015

    When our wonderful housemates moved out and left the master bedroom walls covered in nicotine we kiltzed and painted worked great

  • Anne-Marie Mills-Ewer
    on Oct 17, 2015

    I have been using spray nine on my mums walls. no scrubbing but lots of cleaner needed. you will need gloves and will likely want to wear a face mask to avoid inhaling cleaner and transferring to your skin

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