What Is The Best Cleaner To Remove Nicotine From Walls?

Ossiana Tepfenhart
by Ossiana Tepfenhart
Nicotine stains can ruin furniture and walls making any home feel filthy. Luckily, there are several ways to remove nicotine stains from walls including ammonia, white vinegar, and Mr. Clean’s Magic Eraser. Whether it be a household item like ammonia or a product like Painted Wall CleanR, let’s explore how you can remove nicotine stains from walls.

I grew up around smokers and am used to living in a house full of smoke. When I got older, I ended up smoking too. As an avid hookah smoker, I know how bad it is for my health and my walls.

Unfortunately, I still smoke indoors from time to time. That’s why I also know that it’s important to keep your walls clean from nicotine. The question is, how do you remove those stains and what do you use to do it?

Believe it or not, the most common way to get rid of nicotine on walls is by washing it down with a mixture of vinegar and warm water. Of course, there are other options you can take, such as a “Magic Eraser” or another high grade cleaning product designed for cleaning walls.

Cleaning off your walls shouldn’t have to be a major ordeal. In fact, if you use the right solution, it can be a breeze. This list will tell you about some of the better cleaning products to get rid of smoker’s stains on walls.

While you are learning how to remove nicotine from your walls, you may want to take this opportunity to compare 13 Types of Stucco Walls or 26 Types of Stone Walls.

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What Is The Best Cleaner To Remove Nicotine From Walls?

Every smoker who keeps a good home has at least one cleaner that they rely on when they’re trying to keep their walls looking pristine. Though the true magic ingredient is a little elbow grease, there are several major options that you can choose from if you need to get rid of a stain on your walls.

These include:

  • White Vinegar
  • Mr. Clean’s Magic Eraser
  • White Vinegar + Baking Soda + Water
  • Ammonia
  • Trisodium Phosphate
  • Painted Wall CleanR

Knowing which one will work well for you is the key to keeping your walls intact. This guide will give you the right information to help you make a decision.

White Vinegar

White vinegar is considered to be one of the best cleaners around by organic cleaning gurus, and we can see why. It removes odors, whitens, and also is nontoxic. Using this on walls will require you to mix it with warm water in a spray bottle before you apply it to the stain, unless you have a tougher stain that could require undiluted food-grade vinegar. To use this as a cleaner, spray it on the smoking stain and use a sponge to wipe off the stains.

The white vinegar works by using its acidity to break down the sticky, grimy mess left by smoke. If you have a light stain, you can use a 50/50 mix to make sure that your walls look like new. Easy, peasy.

Mr. Clean’s Magic Eraser

If there’s one cleaning product that’s become a darling among us housekeeping aficionados, it’s the Magic Eraser. It really does work like magic. Using the Magic Eraser for tobacco stains is as easy. All you need to do is wet the scrubber, and start scrubbing away at the stain. Though the Magic Eraser is remarkably effective on the smoke stains, it remains gentle on walls and won’t smudge your color.

That being said, it’s always a good idea to do a “spot test” on your walls in an unseen corner before you decide to go crazy with your scrubbing. This is doubly true when it comes to walls that may not have been primed. That said, this has one of the most neutral scents, so people with sensitive noses should make this their go-to.

White Vinegar + Baking Soda + Water

Some stains are a lot more stubborn than others, and at times, vinegar alone might not be enough to wipe it all away. If you’re having a harder time or have stains that have been around for a while, add baking soda to the stains, then hit them with a water-vinegar mixture. The baking soda will create a foam that will help eat away at the smoke ashes.

This method will be a little messier at first, but the truth is that it works. People who have medium-level stains or worse should give this a try. This method also has another perk worth mentioning. It deodorizes your room pretty well too.


Now, we’re starting to get to the point where we’re working with serious cleaning agents. Ammonia is no joke, and should be applied carefully. To start using this method, mix 1/4 cup of ammonia to a gallon of warm water. Then, use a sponge to apply the mixture to the walls. Let it sit for five minutes, then wipe it off.

The ammonia will work by degreasing your walls while lifting the stains out of your wall paint. The problem that many people have with ammonia is that it smells pretty awful. If you have a sensitive nose, you may need to open up a window or two just to get one wall done with.

Trisodium Phosphate

Let’s say that you’ve been a lifelong smoker. You smoke like a chimney on a cold day. You also haven’t wiped down your walls in recent years because you’ve been too busy. The stains are caked on badly, and it’s pretty clear that you won’t be able to get them off using regular products. Fear not, there’s still one thing that might be able to do the trick.

Trisodium phosphate is a professional-grade cleaning agent that is known for getting out nearly impossible smoker stains. A tablespoon of the stuff in a gallon bucket of water is all you need to make it work for you. Since this stuff is incredibly strong, it’s best to wear goggles and gloves while you scrub away. It can burn!

With TSP, make sure to let the mixture sit for a bit before you wipe it off. Otherwise, you may end up with streaks from the residue that didn’t come off initially. Make sure to rinse the trisodium phosphate off, and to regularly switch out your sponges. Since this is a heavy-duty cleaner, you should always take care not to add too much in your mix. Less can be more with this one.

Painted Wall CleanR

It seems like a number of companies have overheard the collective cry for dedicated wall cleaning products, and that includes CHOMP. This newish company created Painted Wall CleanR specifically for the purpose of (you guessed it) cleaning painted walls. The formula is meant to be gentle on delicate paints of all types, which makes it a good option for people who might have a mural as part of their decor.

This gentle cleaner can take grime off paint remarkably well, despite being pH-neutral, scent-free, and non-corrosive. If you have a really nasty set of stains, using this in conjunction with a Magic Marker will do the trick. This cleaner, along with TSP, tie for the most effective products for serious staining.

What Happens If You Can’t Get Rid Of The Stains?

Though these products should be able to do the trick, it’s always possible that you may end up with a stain that is too deep in to work. When this happens, you have three options:

  • You can try another method. If you didn’t have your stain come off with vinegar, you can try Painted Wall CleanR or a Magic Eraser. There are more than a handful of ways to get rid of nicotine stains on walls.
  • You can try to let your cleaning product sit for a longer period of time. If you waited a couple of seconds before wiping off the cleaning product, try using it again. This time, let the product sit and soak into the stain a little longer. In many cases, doubling the time that you take to let the product soak will do the trick.
  • You could also try to call in professionals. Sometimes, it’s okay to admit defeat and just call in a professional. They might be able to find a professional product that works, or may find a technique that could improve the results.
  • As a last resort, you can also just try to paint over it. In an ideal world, you would be able to restore your walls to their former glory using a handful of cleaning products. However, there is always a possibility that the tobacco smoke stained your walls too far to actually be fixable. In these events, you may need to paint over it to make your walls look new again.

Get Rid Of Smoke Smell, Too!

Washing your walls alone should be able to get most of the smoke smell out, but you’re going to have to wash a lot more in order to get the tobacco smell out of your home. You will need to make a point of washing down carpets as well as vents in your area. In most cases, using vinegar to get the smell out will work fine. To ensure that you get the smell out completely, let your room air out.

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Our Final Take

If you are a smoker, then you need to know how to get rid of nicotine stains off your walls. Otherwise, your landlord will hate you and probably try to evict you or fine you.

Or, if you own your home, you will need to deal with ugly eyesore walls. So, it’s best to be proactive with this issue and clean your walls regularly if you’re going to choose to smoke indoors.

The good news is that there are plenty of products that you can use to clean your walls, and most of them probably already exist in your home. Vinegar, baking soda, TSP, Magic Erasers, as well as specialty wall cleaners can all work well. As long as you’re willing to put in the work, you can keep your walls good as new.

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Ossiana Tepfenhart
Ossiana Tepfenhart

Ossiana Tepfenhart is an expert writer, focusing on interior design and general home tips. Writing is her life, and it's what she does best. Her interests include art and real estate investments.

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