How to Clean Nicotine Off of Walls

Nicotine-stained walls are yellow, stinky and unsightly. If you have recently quit smoking, or have just moved into a house with stained walls, you are likely wondering how to clean nicotine off of walls that have become discolored. Removing nicotine from paint is not easy, and sometimes not even possible. However, there are a few things that are usually effective at removing nicotine stains from walls, and paint primer can always be used before painting a different color if other cleaning treatments fail.

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Nicotine stains on wall.

Step 1

Try cleaning your walls with a tri-sodium phosphate solution by mixing it with water and using a sponge to rub it on your walls.

Step 2

Clean your walls with ammonia, but make certain not to inhale the fumes while doing so. Ammonia should be used only in a well-ventilated area, and you must wear gloves and goggles to protect your hands and eyes from ammonia burns. Mix a solution of 1-part ammonia to 1-part vinegar in a bucket, and then add in a bit of liquid dish detergent. In a well-ventilated room, scrub your walls using circular motions.

Step 3

Avoid cleaning your walls with rags or towels, as these items will actually rub the nicotine deeper into the paint. Only use a sponge when attempting to clean nicotine stains.

Step 4

Clean a small section of wall at a time, and then wipe the area again with a clean sponge. This prevents the walls from becoming overwet and helps protect any existing paint.

Step 5

Use a primer over your walls before painting them to prevent the nicotine stains from bleeding through future paint jobs.