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How to Remove Nicotine From Plastic

Updated February 21, 2017

Nicotine can stain almost everything it comes into contact with, from fingers that hold a cigarette to household curtains and walls. If you have items that have been exposed to smoke over the years, no matter what they are, they will develop a nicotine stain, and items made from plastic are no exception. Plastic can be slightly porous, which can make removing nicotine from it slightly more difficult. Getting rid of the nicotine stain can be done--it just may require a bit more time and effort.

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  1. Rinse out your new spray bottle. It is very important that you use a new one and do not recycle an old one, as ammonia can have dangerous reactions with certain chemicals. According to the New Jersey Department of Health, mixing ammonia and bleach can cause reactions ranging from watery eyes to lungs filled with fluid--and even death.

  2. Pour 1/2 cup of ammonia into the spray bottle, and then add 1 1/2 cups of water. Seal tightly and lightly sway the bottle back and forth to mix. Set the ammonia mixture aside.

  3. Take a clean, damp cloth and add a drop of liquid dish detergent. Gently rub the nicotine-stained plastic. Use enough pressure to cause friction on the stain but not so much that you damage the item. Rinse the item well, making sure there is no detergent residue left on it, and dry with a towel.

  4. Spray the ammonia mixture either onto the item itself or saturate a clean, white cloth with the mixture. If your item is flat, you should have no problems with spraying the ammonia on it. However, if it is rounded, such as a doll's face, you risk the ammonia dripping onto other surfaces where it can cause another stain.

  5. Rub the ammonia into the stain for several minutes. Rinse well and towel dry. If the stain is still there, repeat the treatment as many times as necessary.

  6. Tip

    Using white cloths instead of coloured cloths for cleaning will help you see how much of the stain is being removed and prevent the dye in coloured cloths from further staining the plastic.


    When using ammonia, be sure to have adequate ventilation.

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Things You'll Need

  • New empty spray bottle
  • 1/2 cup ammonia
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • White cloth
  • Dish detergent

About the Author

A certified nutritionist who majored in health, fitness and nutrition, Traci Vandermark has been writing articles in her specialty fields since 1998. Her articles have appeared both online and in print for publications such as Simple Abundance, "Catskill Country Magazine," "Birds and Blooms," "Cappers" and "Country Discoveries."

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