Asked on Apr 04, 2016

How can I remove nicotine stains from the walls?

Rachel Z
by Rachel Z
I live with my dad and the walls are horribly stained from his smoking. I notice it's like a dark orange especially around the vent-less heaters. We never had this problem in our previous home but this house it seems the staining is so severe.
Is there another option other than scrubbing the walls & ceilings multiple times a year???
  18 answers
  • William William on Apr 04, 2016
    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. You can also use Clorox Clean-Up, Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, Simple Green and dry-cleaning chemical sponges. If the staining is really bad, you may have to repaint. Makes sure you prime with KILZ primer then paint. Finally, tell your father to quit smoking! HA HA!
  • Rachel Z Rachel Z on Apr 04, 2016
    lol...good luck on the smoking bit. Yeah, I was gonna paint with kilz first....I have to repaint for sure. I'm also looking at replacing the ceilings and doing some other big projects on the house. I use a lot of vinegar when I clean so the smell is no big deal.
  • Con2279456 Con2279456 on Apr 04, 2016
    Use TSP cleaner.
  • Janet Pizaro Janet Pizaro on Apr 05, 2016
    Please do not use TSP it is highly toxic.
  • Roxy Hirsche Roxy Hirsche on Apr 05, 2016
    I had the same problem, brown walls from cigarettes. I used a half and half mix of vinegar and ammonia mixed in about 1/2 gal. of warm water. It was amazing and no painting, or rinsing. I also used rough sided scrubbies from the dollar store. The vinegar cuts the ammonia smell. I was shocked at how good the walls looked after.
  • SBlizzard SBlizzard on Apr 05, 2016
    Kilz and then repaint. You will be cleaning forever to get the layers of smoke off and then will still have to repaint because of the blotchiness. Kilz worked at my mom's but still took 2-3 coats of paint. If I were to do it over, I would Kilz twice. Also, have your Kilz tinted to match your paint. Makes everything much easier. Can you talk him into smoking outside? Or buy a air purifier $200-$300 range to filter some of the smoke. Just a thought, could you put wood trim around the vent less heaters? Either stained wood with a heavy coat of polyurethane or painted with a gloss paint that would wipe off easily.
  • Llk3031894 Llk3031894 on Apr 05, 2016
    We used bleach and a sponge mop. It worked like magic! Just don't breathe it in!
  • Daw3000588 Daw3000588 on Apr 05, 2016
    Had the same problem. Tried everything. Finally used scrubbing bubbles bathroom cleaner, it worked like like a charm. Haven't tried kitchen scrubbing bubbles.
  • Cherie Henry Cherie Henry on Apr 05, 2016
    Grease lightening in spray bottle and gallon refills...spray and then wipe with damp sponge. Wear gloves, as I did not and hands peeled a bit. Both my parents smoked and I scrubbed their mobile home from top to bottom for a week, one wall etc. at a time. When done the home looked like a new home!
  • Rachel Z Rachel Z on Apr 05, 2016
    I tried the vinegar....hahaha! That was a joke. I used a homemade cleaner (similar to soft scrub) and it didn't get it all off. Was hoping the vinegar was stronger. a lot less off the walls. The walls are like really really really yellow lol. Even after scrubbing with my homemade cleanser in the dining room there's still a pretty big difference. Since the vinegar is even less effective, I won't try that anywhere else. Bummer too. I do plan on painting and using kilz first but really want the walls clean before I paint lol.
    • Roxy Hirsche Roxy Hirsche on Apr 06, 2016
      @Rachel Z And he Ammonia. About 1 cup vinegar, and 1 cup Ammonia, Mied in about 1/2 gal hot water. Try the Ammonia.
  • Rachel Z Rachel Z on Apr 05, 2016
    Homemade cleanser of baking soda, vinegar, liquid castile soap was the most effective.
  • Mary Mary on Apr 06, 2016
    Try (Mean Green) works good used a sponge mop. You can get MG at most dollar stores.
  • Cathi Cathi on Apr 06, 2016
    Scrubbing bubbles works! From the ceiling on down! I cleaned a trailer that had been smoked in over 20 years! Just protect eyes and skin! I used goggles and a rain poncho!
  • Tina Tina on Apr 28, 2016
    I found a product at our dollar store called Awesome. It is very strong and and doesn't smell good so I use this full strength to remove nicotine first. Then I go back and scrub with a pine sol and water dilution. Magic erasers do a good job of removing nicotine from plastic light switch plates and covers. Don't spray cleanser in any light sockets or on light fixtures unless you cut power! This is what I use when I clean my customers homes. Hope this helps!
  • Dolores Hugues Dolores Hugues on Aug 28, 2017

    Believe it or not Pledge multi surface took off all of the smoke stains and left the walls with a semi-shine.

  • JulieHix JulieHix on Aug 02, 2018

    I tried many of these methods with some success and a LOT of elbow grease. However, the most effective for me and least amount of effort was OdoBan (Not diluted) on a Mr. Clean. OdoBan I had on hand because I do have pets in the house. This was a zip in comparison to the other methods.

  • Donna Donna on Jan 29, 2022

    I found that just regular dish soap and a scrub pad will clean nicotine off of anything.

  • Deb K Deb K on Jun 06, 2022

    Hi Rachel, I use a diluted mixture of Spray Nine cleaner and water with a microfiber cloth, mix about 1/2 cup spray nine into a pail with 1/2 gallon of water, change the water when it gets too dirty to clean with, your walls will look almost new again! Hope this helps you out, you can also use simple green in the same directions