The nicotine and tar found in cigarettes are not only bad for your health but can also harm your home. These substances may not harm their internal structure as they do with humans, but the problems they cause will be just as visible.
If you smoke or live with someone who smokes, you may see yellow stains on the walls and ceiling that were not there before. This is the nicotine impregnated on the walls, and if you don’t do something, you will soon have your entire home filled with these stains. Today we will teach you how to clean nicotine off walls for a healthier home.
What do we mean by getting a healthier home? It turns out that nicotine stains are still dangerous even on the walls, as they also generate dangerous odors.
However, do not worry, since any stain caused by the cigarette can be cleaned with the correct methods. You can buy a new home with stained walls knowing that you can clean them, even remove the unpleasant odor.
In the most extreme cases, you will need to repaint the wall. Porous walls are a nightmare to clean, as they easily absorb nicotine stains. Otherwise, the smooth-finished walls are easy to clean, so you simply need to use a scrub or grease cleanser to remove these annoying stains.
Now that you have this superficial knowledge of the subject, it is time to delve into cleaning techniques.
How to remove nicotine from walls
Both the technique you use and the product will completely depend on the type of wall you are going to clean.
If you are cleaning a wall that has been painted with oil-based paint or latex paint, avoid using rustic sponges to brush it, as this could break the paint, leaving gaps that will be much more difficult to fix than the nicotine stains.
Prepare everything you need
Before starting the cleaning, you must prepare both the area that you are going to clean and the instruments that you will need.
- Always use basic protective equipment to carry out these tasks, such as gloves, goggles, and a mask. It is advisable to have a first aid kit nearby in case of suffering any poisoning or allergy.
- Rearrange the furniture in the room to be cleaned so that they do not disturb the process.
- Protect areas prone to staining in the surroundings. It is best to use plastic sheets so that liquids do not pass through them.
- Open all windows and doors in the room to keep it ventilated. Tobacco stains and the like can give off strong odors that can be harmful, so you should constantly ventilate them when working.
- Have a cloth nearby with which to wipe off occasional drips that may occur. Many of the techniques use liquid solutions, so this will be a recurring event. You can also protect the baseboards with dry rags to avoid accidents.
- A more extreme measure is to remove the electrical energy from the room before working, in this way, there will be no danger of short circuits.
How to clean smoke off walls using vinegar
Vinegar is not the only compound you can use for this process; ammonia is an excellent substitute thanks to its similar properties. Vinegar is one of the most widely used substances for cleaning since its abrasive properties can remove almost any stain.
You don’t need anything special to know how to clean nicotine off walls using vinegar since the process is very simple, although you will need a vacuum cleaner to be more effective.
Vacuum the walls first to remove large debris. Use a brush to clean the most difficult residues.
Now you will need to prepare in a gallon of hot water, a mixture that includes three tablespoons of dish soap and half a cup of baking soda. This solution will serve to loosen the stain, making vinegar work much easier.
The best way to spread this mixture is to use a cloth. Moisten it lightly to avoid creating stains. Pass it over the nicotine several times using bottom-up movements to prevent the rag from leaking. Dry the wall after passing it several times.
It is time to use vinegar or ammonia to remove the stain. With the room’s windows open, pour the white vinegar, lemon juice, or ammonia in a cup so you can insert a sponge or rag in it.
In the same way, you will have to pass the soaked cloth from the bottom up and rubbing in a circular motion. In this way, the abrasive properties of vinegar or ammonia should be able to break down nicotine, completely removing the stain.
When finished cleaning, wipe the wall dry.
If the stain does not go away, repeat the process as many times as necessary. Even if the stain does not completely disappear, it is advisable to apply this process to be able to paint the walls.
Stains that seem impossible to remove
There are cases where nicotine stains have been attached to a wall for so long that they are practically just another decoration. Although they seem impossible to remove, there is a more extreme compound for these cases.
The best cleaner for nicotine on walls is the Savogran Trisodium Phosphate (TSP) since it acts as a degreaser and tar remover.
This compound is more dangerous to handle than vinegar, so you should wear gloves and glasses at all times, even if possible, clothing that covers all exposed skin. The TSP can be purchased at any store that sells cleaning products.
To apply TSP, you must first dilute it. The compound’s effectiveness is high, so it only takes a tablespoon of TSP in a gallon of warm water to make the solution.
The cleaning process is similar to that used with vinegar. Apply the substance on a rag or sponge and brush the wall from bottom to top to avoid staining.
In this case, you will need to let the mixture work for a while to remove stains, so you should not remove it immediately.
After a few minutes, use a damp cloth or sponge to clean the wall. Always use clean water and remember to rinse it regularly.
Don’t forget to remove odors
If you don’t remove odors, all cleaning will have been in vain. The nicotine odor can be kept inside your home, which eventually will end up staining the walls again. This usually occurs because it is recirculating in the home HVAC system.
The most common places where the nicotine odor stays in are rugs, curtains, and vents. You will need to clean these items when you finish removing the nicotine stains.
To prevent nicotine odor from staying in your home while you’re cleaning its stains, you need to open your home’s windows to recirculate air. If this is not enough, place a reversible fan in a window to work as an exhaust fan.
Wash your ventilation system’s air filters, or replace them with new ones.
Two solutions will effectively remove the nicotine odor:
- Smoker’s Candles: These candles are made of materials that counteract bad odors, not just cigarette odors. A single candle can clean your home after several hours.
- Odor-Absorbing Products: some substances, such as white vinegar or cat litter, are capable of neutralizing bad odors from their environment. Like candles, you only need to place a bowl of the product in the room to let it do its job.
How to clean nicotine off walls – When everything else fails
Finally, the last thing you need to know about how to clean nicotine off walls is that the above methods may either fail or not fully work. In these cases, you may consider painting the walls.
Before this, try to remove as much as you can with the methods in the guide. Also, note that you will need to apply a primer coat to remove the nicotine odor before painting.
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