Cleaning Nicotine Stains from Walls and Glass

Most will look at these pictures and think “Gross!  How could anyone allow their home to look like that?”  As with most things, it’s a conditioning.  We gradually become used to our surroundings and view them as normal.  But seeing these photos makes you want to start cleaning everything in sight, doesn’t it?  How DOES a person clean up the sticky, nasty residue of cigarette smoke?  It really isn’t that difficult to put the cleaning solution together.  It WILL require some elbow grease though and it has to be done, Kilz-ing alone will not help it.  You have to clean off the nicotine for the paint to adhere properly.It’s a simple recipe actually.  First of all, be sure to have proper eye and skin protection:  goggles and gloves. Secondly, have plenty of fresh air.  I have two recipes for you, you can choose whichever you like.  Some purists swear by just 1/2 white vinegar and 1/2 hot water, but if you’d like to add a few more ingredients, they’re listed below…

Recipe Number One

  1. Mix one cup ammonia, 1/2 cup white vinegar, 1/4 cup baking soda with one gallon hot water.
  2. Mix the ammonia, vinegar and water together in a bucket then, over a sink – it may fizz – add the baking soda.

You will use one towel to wipe and scrub the mixture onto the wall.  Then use another bucket with plain water and another towel to rinse the wall. Recipe Number Two

  1. 2 cups hydrogen peroxide, 1 tsp rubbing alcohol and one cup warm water.  This as you see is a tiny amount, but you can double or triple the amounts without any issues.  Wipe on and rinse again as directed above.

I always try to use homemade products, but if you would rather go the traditional way, you can also use TSP.  It works very well, but it can be very caustic, so BE SURE to wear gloves!  Your hands will thank you!   NOTE:  Wallpaper can be tricky.  If the build-up is thick, or the paper is old, it may be best to strip it.  Avoid soaking the paper. If it begins to bubble, you have too much moisture in it.  The scrubbing sponges work well too, but again, if you’re working with wall paper be careful.  Being too aggressive with scrubbing can take the pattern off! As a final reassurance, the vinegar smell will dissipate overnight. It’s also a great disinfectant, so you will have a VERY clean house when you’re done!

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