How to Remove Nicotine From Paneling

Smoking in the house can lead to nicotine build-up on panelled walls. This yellowish film is not only visible, it has an odour and a texture that sits on the panelling. Panelling is generally wood-based and can present cleaning challenges because the wood will absorb water and can cause warping. To clean nicotine off panelling without damage requires using the right combination of tools and cleansers.

Mix one capful of Murphy Oil wood soap with 1/2 gallon of hot water and 1/2 cup of white vinegar. These ingredients will clean the panelling while safely lifting away the nicotine film and protecting the wood to leave a fresh, clean scent and a smooth, clean wall.

Dip one microfiber towel in the bucket and wring it out. Wipe the panelling in a downward motion and let it sit for a minute or two. This will allow the vinegar to penetrate and break down the nicotine, and the oil soap to soak into the panelling and lift away other dirt and grime. Continue until you have wiped down one full section of panelling.

Use the dry towel to wipe and dry the panels after a few moments. A microfiber towel is a great choice for cleaning as they scrub without damaging and will lift away all the nicotine film, dirt and grime, while buffing the panelling.

Repeat this process around the room, cleaning and drying one panelling section at a time. When you are finished, you will notice the difference in not only the appearance but the feel and smell of the panelling.


Wring the towel out well, so that the wood won't soak up a lot of moisture. If you come across a really dirty area, you can dab vinegar on directly with a corner of your microfiber towel.

Things You'll Need

  • Bucket
  • Water
  • Wood soap such as Murphy Oil
  • White vinegar
  • 2 microfiber towels
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About the Author

Suzanne Alicie is a professional writer and author who has been writing professionally since 2008. She has experience in gardening, communications and retail, as well as being a small-business owner. Alicie is an avid gardener and is happiest when digging in the dirt or grooming her flowerbeds.