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How to Remove Cigarette Tar and Nicotine from Walls

Cigarette smoke isn’t just bad for your lungs. It can cause tar and nicotine stains on walls and just about anything it comes into prolonged contact with. Tar and nicotine stains hold the stale odor of cigarettes, so cleaning them is the most effective way to get rid of cigarette smoke smell in a room.

Use the tips below to remove nicotine and tar stains from your walls. 

Cleaning Nicotine Off Walls

  1. Begin by lightly cleaning the walls with a vacuum and an upholstery brush attachment. This will help remove any loose debris. Next, make a cleaning solution with one gallon of hot water, three tablespoons of dish soap, and a half cup of baking soda. Use a rag to scrub the walls with this solution. Work in small sections, and dry each section of the wall with a cloth right afterward to prevent the drywall from becoming saturated.
  2. Pour a cup of undiluted vinegar (white or apple cider vinegar), lemon juice or ammonia into a spray bottle. Put on gloves and protective eyewear, and open your windows and/or use a fan to encourage ventilation. These safety measures are especially important when using ammonia, which is dangerous to inhale and causes skin and eye irritation. Spray your chosen solution on the wall, and use a sponge to scrub the stains. Once finished with your initial clean, rinse the sponge in fresh water, wring it out and wipe the walls down with fresh water. Dry the walls as you go to prevent damage to the drywall.

Removing nicotine stains can be a very difficult process, especially if the room was smoked in for a long time. You may need to repeat these steps over the course of a few days. Still stained? Hang in there. Even if you’re not seeing any progress, these cleaning steps are required if you want to paint over the stains.

Professional Stain and Odor Removal

Rainbow International’s IICRC-certified technicians are trained for odor and stain removal. If you need professional odor or stain removal, just give us a call. Our commercial equipment is much more effective than what most consumers have access to. We can remove nicotine stains from walls and deodorize rooms to restore them to like-new condition. Just call 855-724-6269, or request an appointment online.

Sometimes, no matter how hard you scrub, the nicotine stains just can’t be removed. When this is the case, Five Star Painting can help. Their experts can prime and paint the room with odor-absorbing paint, maybe even a new color. Five Star Painting is part of the Neighborly network of home service providers. From their painters, you can expect the same attention to detail and quality customer service the Neighborly brands are known for.