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How to remove nicotine from wood

Updated February 21, 2017

When someone smokes in your home, the tobacco and nicotine stains seem to saturate every surface. This includes wooden walls and wooden furniture. Unfortunately, many strong cleaners traditionally used to remove these tough stains run the risk of damaging wood. Don't give up on your stained wooden products just yet. Try the methods below to remove those nasty stains from your wooden surfaces.

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  1. Soak a rag or sponge in clean warm water and rub the stain. Mix in one to two teaspoons of dishwashing detergent for an added cleaning boost. Saturate the stained area with water.

  2. Pour vinegar or lemon juice into a bowel or bucket and apply this cleaner the same way you did the water. The high acidity levels in the vinegar and lemon juice will eat at the stain. Scrub at the stain until it fades away.

  3. Allow the wooden piece to dry in direct sunlight when the cleaning is complete. Sunlight has a natural bleaching effect and will help to remove more of the stain.

  4. Tip

    Ammonia is an effective stain remover, but can potentially damage wood. If you are going to use ammonia, dilute it with at least four times the amount of water to lower the chance of staining. Only use ammonia in a well-ventilated area.


    Sunlight will bleach the surface of the wood. This can be effective in removing your nicotine stains, but can also lighten the colour of the wood.

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Things You'll Need

  • Bowl or bucket
  • Washrag or sponge
  • Dishwashing detergent
  • Water
  • Vinegar
  • Lemon juice

About the Author

Samantha Volz has been involved in journalistic and informative writing for over eight years. She holds a bachelor's degree in English literature from Lycoming College, Williamsport, Pennsylvania, with a minor in European history. In college she was editor-in-chief of the student newspaper and completed a professional internship with the "Williamsport Sun-Gazette," serving as a full-time reporter. She resides in Horsham, Pennsylvania.

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