How do I get DECADES of nicotine off of walls, ceilings, cabinets etc?

Lisa W
by Lisa W
  16 answers
  • Michelle Leslie Michelle Leslie on Feb 06, 2022

    Hi Lisa, my grandparents were heavy smokers and we used TSP (Trisodium Phosphate) to clean the walls and ceilings before we gave them a fresh coat of paint. It's a powerful cleaner and degreaser and will remove nicotine stains.

  • Redcatcec Redcatcec on Feb 06, 2022

    We bought a home with the same problem, what we did was scrub the walls and ceilings with TSP because nicotine is oily and then primed and painted.

  • Vinegar. Wash the ceilings, wall, etc. with a mixture of vinegar/water 50/50. Then I would use Kilz primer before repainting.

  • Dee Dee on Feb 06, 2022

    I used a cleaner degrease from the auto store. Scrubbed and let dry. Applying paint directly over top of the remaining stains or odor will not cover them up. You'll need to apply a good, solvent-based stain-blocking primer to prevent them from bleeding through the paint. You may be able to get by with a product such as Zinsser's Cover Stain, which is an oil-based stain-blocking primer.

  • William William on Feb 06, 2022

    Nicotine is oily so you need to clean with a degreaser. TSP would work. Krud Kutter or Greased Lightning are good degreasers.

  • Cheryl A Cheryl A on Feb 06, 2022

    TSP cleaner you can get it at any hardware store or walmart follow directions on the box it works wonders

  • Janice Janice on Feb 06, 2022

    TSP will work well on your problem. It does take a lot of hand work and be careful that you work in smaller, more controlled sections/areas or you'll have streaking and light spots of the mixture is allowed to run down the walls. Just a relief when the job is done!

  • Mogie Mogie on Feb 06, 2022

    Ammonia can also remove cigarette tar and nicotine from walls when mixed with water. Combine a tablespoon of ammonia for every cup of water, or roughly 1/2 cup of ammonia to a gallon of warm water. For painted walls, reduce the mixture to 1/4 cup to a gallon of water.

  • I personally suggest to paint it. But before that you would need to clean it using equal parts vinegar and water. After so you can already proceed with the painting process.

    • Lisa W Lisa W on Feb 08, 2022

      I did paint it and the odor came through the paint even using kilz first.

  • Deb K Deb K on Feb 06, 2022

    Hi Lisa, my go to cleaner is spray nine, I dilute a half cup of it in a pail of water, it cuts right through the nicotine, you have to change the water quite often, simple green will do the same, or trisodium phosphate, always wear gloves, hope this helps you out,

  • Kathy Gunter Law Kathy Gunter Law on Feb 07, 2022

    We had an issue like that in my old office. I used diluted OdoBan to remove it.

    • Lisa W Lisa W on Feb 08, 2022

      I tried the odor ban and it wasn’t strong enough. I use it for cleaning a lot.

  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Feb 07, 2022

    Maybe Crudcutter will do the job, or Flash - Look in the cleaning Isles of Supermarket.

  • Sharon Sharon on Feb 07, 2022

    I've done lots of apartments and clients homes, I use Dollar Tree Awesome Orange by the half gallon mixed in hot water, wearing rubber gloves, and using a car sponge. For stubborn spots I use the Awesome Degreaser and round plastic scrubby. TSP is a de-glosser so it will take the shine off cabinets and walls.

  • Kmdreamer Kmdreamer on Feb 08, 2022

    Wash them down with water and bleach and a. Lots you could get a flat pad mop for the walls rinse it then keep going it works great dollar tree has them

  • Kmdreamer Kmdreamer on Feb 12, 2022

    You will have to wash them down get a flat head mop spray like 2 sprays on it wet then wash wall then rinse take pad off and rinse

  • Mogie Mogie on Nov 10, 2022

    I have TSP to be one of the best items to try.