Everybody knows cigarette smoke is not something you want to breathe in; secondhand smoke is even worse. Not only is this smoke terrible for you, but it’s also bad for everything else, as it causes tar and nicotine build up on everything it comes into contact with. If you are tired of breathing in that stale smoke odor, now is the time to learn how to clean nicotine off walls.
Learning how to remove smoke residue from walls is the most effective way to get rid of the smoke smell. If you smoke, you know how badly nicotine stains teeth and skin, and it is doing the same thing to walls inside homes or buildings where smoking is permitted.
Years of cigarette smoke often leave behind nasty yellow or brown streaks or stains along the walls. The longer smoking has occurred inside, the worse the stains and streaks will be.
Tips to Clean Nicotine on Walls
Wall washing is one of those household tasks that is not much fun and fortunately does not need to be done very often. However, if you have a smoker at home, this job should be completed regularly. Learning how to clean cigarette smoke from walls and using an interior wall cleaner is not difficult but it can take a little time to do the job right.
Getting rid of nicotine and other stains is important if you are going to put up new wallpaper or paint a new color. Clean walls before painting to ensure that the paint will properly adhere to the surface.
1. Cleaning Cigarette Smoke from Walls with Vinegar
Using pure vinegar is an excellent way to cut through the worst nicotine residue stains, as the acetic acid breaks down the stain, plus it helps in removing the stale smell. There are numerous ways you can use vinegar to clean nicotine off your walls. Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to the mixture if the vinegar smell is unpleasant for you.
With this stain remover solution, the best way to clean dirty walls is to begin by mixing a few drops of 20% pure vinegar in a spray bottle filled with warm water. Spray the vinegar solution directly on the wall and then wipe clean with a sponge. If the stain is still present, increase the dilution of vinegar.
If necessary, you can use undiluted white vinegar to cut through the worst of the stains, rinse walls after cleaning, and the vinegar smell will gradually fade away. Another way to use vinegar when cleaning nicotine is by mixing a vinegar and water solution inside a gallon bucket and applying with a sponge.
To prevent drips on your walls, always wring out the excess solution before washing the wall. On walls with oil-based paint, add a small amount of mild detergent to the solution for added cleaning power. Always wear gloves when cleaning with vinegar to prevent burns.
Using vinegar is also one of our favorite wallpaper removing tips. Spritz the vinegar and water onto old wallpaper and let it sit for a few minutes. Grab an edge and carefully peel the paper from the wall. Spray more of the solution as needed. Vinegar can also be helpful for eliminating leftover wallpaper glue residue from the walls.
2. Remove Smoke Residue from Walls with a Magic Eraser
With a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, all you need is the sponge and some water to remove crayon from walls or to eliminate nicotine or other stains. The scrubbers on these sponges are activated by the water and power through any cigarette stain on your drywall, but also clean glass, doors, baseboards, and more.
Use the eraser on your windows, as well as your walls, or you can use a homemade glass cleaner with Dawn to cut through the tobacco film. Most people find the sponges with ridges hold up longer than the ordinary sponges.
To use the Magic Eraser, run the sponge under cold water and wring out the excess. Lightly scrub the walls until the stains are gone. Rubbing too hard with a Magic Eraser wcan damage your painted surfaces as well as the eraser, so use with caution.
3. Clean Nicotine Off Walls using Trisodium Phosphate
Considered an extreme solution, Trisodium Phosphate tackles the worst nicotine stains, as it is an effective degreaser for cigarette tar. Trisodium phosphate, also called TSP, often works where other cleaning solutions don’t as long as it’s used correctly.
When diluting, follow the instructions on the label. Typical dilution is one teaspoon of TSP to one gallon of water. Always wear rubber gloves when cleaning walls with this cleanser.
Apply the TSP solution from the bottom up to prevent streaks from forming, and allow the solution to work for several minutes before rinsing off. Apply the cleaner with a sponge or even a sponge mop. Use a bucket full of clean water for rinsing, and change out the rinse water as necessary.
4. Chomp Painted Wall Cleaner Removes Heavy Smoke Stains
Nobody wants to repaint their walls if they don’t have to. When it comes to dealing with the after-effects of a heavy smoker, you often think your only option is repainting. Before you opt for this drastic solution, try one of the newest cleaning products called Painted Wall Cleaner by Chomp.
It is difficult to find it in stores, but readily available for purchase online. Painted Wall Cleaner by Chomp is safe to use on all walls and washable surfaces, including paneling. The formula is pH neutral, does not contain phosphates, is non-etching, and non-corrosive.
Most standard cleaners, including a degreaser for your kitchen, damage walls when used repeatedly, but this cleaner leaves behind no damage even after repeated scrubbing. For heavy duty, stains combine Painted Wall Cleaner with a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser.
5. Clean up Nicotine with Baking Soda
Before you clean walls, use a vacuum with the upholstery attachment to clean all the loose dirt and debris. You may also use a damp chamois cloth to wipe down the dust or a microfiber cloth.
In a one-gallon bucket, mix baking soda, dish soap, and water. Add as much water as the bucket will hold without spilling over. Dip a sponge or cloth into the baking soda cleaner and wring out the excess soap.
Wash each wall, starting from the bottom and working your way to the top of the wall. Scrub in circular motions for best results. Work on your walls in small sections and dry each section immediately after washing with a dry microfiber cloth. Doing this will prevent the walls from absorbing excess water.
6. Cleaning Nicotine Stains with Simple Green
Safe to use on all painted walls, Simple Green has proven effective on all kinds of smoke damage, including years of smoking inside the home. Simple Green powers through those yellow stains and works as a deodorizer, helping to eliminate the old cigarette smell.
To use on painted walls, spray the cleaning product on a soft-bristled brush, apply a little elbow grease and scrub the stain. Rinse the area you are cleaning with warm water and wipe down with a clean towel.
Thank you for reading how to clean cigarette smoke from walls. We hope our advice on how to remove smoke residue from walls was helpful. If you found any of our nicotine stain removal ideas useful, please share on Pinterest and Facebook so others can also learn how to clean nicotine off walls.