How to get rid of nicotine stains on walls

Written by kimbry parker | 13/05/2017
How to get rid of nicotine stains on walls
Nicotine from cigarette smoke can leave ugly stains on your walls. (Sandrexim/iStock/Getty Images)

Tobacco smoke can cause unpleasant yellow or brown tar and nicotine stains on walls and ceilings. Not only do nicotine stains on walls ruin the appearance of the entire room, you must remove them before painting or the paint won't stick properly. Although cleaning walls is often a dreaded task, with the right products and cleaning methods, you'll have the nasty nicotine stains off in no time.

Fill a clean empty spray bottle with straight white vinegar or lemon juice. Both products are effective at cutting through tough stains.

Spray the cleaning solution on to the nicotine spots on the walls. Wipe the nicotine off the walls with a cotton cloth. Switch to a clean cloth often to avoid reapplying the nicotine to the surface. For stubborn spots, use a stiff scrubbing brush with the cleaning solution.

Mix a solution of household ammonia and water into a bucket if the nicotine stains are especially troublesome. Start with a weak solution of 125 ml (1/2 cup) per 4.5 litres (1 gallon) of warm water. Work your way up to equal parts warm water and ammonia if the nicotine still isn't budging, and finally straight ammonia for especially stubborn stains. Use a rag and the ammonia solution to wipe down the walls, and a stiff scrubbing brush, if necessary.

Wipe down the walls with a clean rag and plain water once the nicotine stains are gone. Go over the surface with a dry rag to remove any remaining moisture.


Work in a well-ventilated area and wear rubber gloves when using ammonia.

Things you need

  • Empty spray bottle
  • Lemon juice or white vinegar
  • Cotton cloth
  • Stiff scrubbing brush
  • Household ammonia
  • Bucket

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