The Maids of Portland, Maine

Monday, April 1, 2013

How to Clean Nicotine Stained Walls

Anyone who’s lived with a smoker knows cigarette smoke ruins your walls, your furniture and your clothing, not to mention endangering the health of everyone who comes in contact with it. Painting over nicotine instead of first cleaning it off is fruitless, because nicotine seeps through paint. Walls stained by the greasy residue of nicotine are notoriously hard to clean—but it’s not impossible.
Work your way up to increasingly strong cleaners as needed. You can start with a spray bottle filled with straight white vinegar or lemon juice, applying it in sections, rubbing it off in a circular motion with a clean cotton rag (old cloth diapers are ideal for this). Refold the cloth frequently to prevent reapplying the nicotine. Wipe down with clear warm water.
If this doesn’t work, open a window for ventilation, wear rubber gloves and fill a bucket with warm water and ammonia. Start with small amounts of ammonia—say a half cup—and if necessary increase the ratio of ammonia to water, up to a 50/50 mixture. For really tough jobs, you can buy a commercial product at the hardware store that removes nicotine from ceilings and walls.
After washing down the walls, dry thoroughly with another clean cloth. When completely dry, apply a paint primer specifically designed for sealing any residual greasy stains you may have been unable to clean. This is advised even if you believe you’ve thoroughly cleaned the walls. Apply one or two of these primer coats, then paint the room in a latex or oil-based paint.
Finally, for the sake of everyone’s health and to save yourself from having to repeat this kind of effort, forbid smoking in your home. Post a NO SMOKING sign on your freshly painted wall if you have to.
***Clean Home Ideas

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