You’ve just moved into your new home, and it reeks of cigarette smoke. 

Or maybe you’ve recently quit smoking and are now realizing the smelly repercussions of smoking in your home.

You’ve tried it all …

  • Airing out the space
  • Spraying air freshener
  • Lighting scented candles

… and that offensive stale cigarette odor keeps coming back.

You might even be able to see the evidence –– nasty yellow nicotine stains on your walls. 

It’s time to rid your home of that stubborn cigarette stench and those unsightly stains once and for all.

The process of cleaning tobacco smoke off walls can be challenging. With this guide, you’ll learn how to decide when to do it yourself, and when to call in the pros — to say goodbye to cigarette smoke for good.

Table of Contents

cleaning tabacco smoke off walls

Does Cigarette Smoke Stay in Walls?

The slow smoldering of wet materials in cigarette smoke leaves behind a thick, oily tar that easily sticks to your walls. That nicotine and odor gets trapped under layers of dust and moisture on the walls throughout your home.

The repeated imperfect combustion of cigarettes can make cigarette smoke more difficult to remove compared to smoke from a house fire.

Yet, simply painting over the walls without cleaning is not a solution and will cause more trouble later on.

3 Reasons to Clean Tobacco Off Walls

If the smell and unsightly stains aren’t motivation enough, here are three compelling reasons to clean the tobacco off your walls.

#1: Lessen Your Exposure to Thirdhand Smoke

You’ve probably heard about secondhand smoke, but thirdhand smoke is a relatively new concept.

Thirdhand smoke is the residual nicotine and other chemicals from cigarette smoke that can get on:

  • Skin
  • Clothes
  • Hair
  • Dust
  • Furniture
  • Carpets; and 
  • Indoor surfaces 

Exposure to thirdhand smoke can come from touching surfaces contaminated with the chemicals or even breathing the off-gassing from these surfaces.

Scientists are still studying the dangers of thirdhand smoke on humans, but an animal study found thirdhand smoke can cause significant damage to multiple organs, including:

  • Liver
  • Lungs; and
  • Skin

According to a 2010 study, nicotine residue in thirdhand smoke forms carcinogens that can even cause cancer.

Thirdhand smoke exposure can be especially dangerous to children, with harmful short-term and long-term effects leading to:

  • Asthma
  • Hyperactivity; and
  • Type II diabetes

Even your pet isn’t exempt from the hazards of thirdhand smoke.

#2: Remove Odor and Tar Before Painting

If you think re-painting your walls is the answer to restoring the look and freshness –– think again. Repainting your walls is purely a cosmetic quick-fix.

It’s imperative to remove the odor and tar from your walls before repainting. 

Painting over cigarette smoke and tar will only mask the smell temporarily.

Soon the tar stains will seep through, and the odor will return. Only now the odor is trapped under a layer of paint, and you’ve made a bigger problem for yourself. 

As an added incentive, it’s much easier for the new paint to adhere to a clean, dry surface, even if you plan to apply a layer of odor-blocking primer before regular paint.

#3: Remove Odor and Tar Before Moving

Cigarette smoke can also cost you money when it’s time to move.

If you’re renting, your landlord may charge you a pricey fee for smoke remediation.

It can cost apartment owners an average of $4935 so that a smoke-allergic non-smoker can rent the place without having an allergic reaction.

If you own your home and want to sell, smoking in your home may diminish its resale value by up to 30%, according to a 2013 survey

But what if you’ve already made the mistake of smoking in your home?

It’s time to deep-clean those walls from top to bottom and restore your home’s freshness before moving out.

clean tabacco off walls

How to Clean Cigarette Smoke-Damaged Walls

Those pesky yellow stains on your walls mean you’ve got smoke damage and will need to address both the odor and the stains.

It can be a painstaking process, and we’ll take you through your options step by step below.

What Is the Best Way to Clean Smoke Stained Walls?

You’re faced with two options:

  1. If you’re a do-it-yourself kind of person, you might dare to do the labor-intensive job and save a little money; or
  2. You might prefer to leave it to the experts.

Either way, don’t re-paint your walls until you’ve done one of the following.

The DIY Way of Cleaning Tobacco Smoke Off Walls

Are you ready to roll up your sleeves and tackle cleaning the tobacco smoke off your walls the do-it-yourself way?

Grab a bucket and some elbow grease and follow these five steps:

  1. Start by cleaning the walls with a vacuum and upholstery brush attachment to help remove any loose dust and debris. 
  2. Make a cleaning solution with:
    • One gallon of hot water
    • Three tablespoons of dish soap; and 
    • A half-cup of baking soda
  3. Scrub the walls using a soft sponge or rag to break up the stains and help remove loose debris stuck to the stains. Work in small sections. Dry as you go to avoid saturation and further damage to the drywall and paint.
  4. Be sure to put on gloves and protective eyewear and open windows for ventilation before this step. 

Pour into a spray bottle a degreasing mixture of:

  • One cup of undiluted vinegar (white or apple cider)
  • One cup of ammonia or lemon juice 

Ammonia is dangerous to inhale and can cause skin and eye irritation, so don’t skip the safety precautions.

      5. Spray this degreaser onto a small section of the wall and scrub with a sponge. Wipe down with fresh water, ringing out your sponge in between. Don’t forget to dry as you go. 

This process can be difficult and may take repeating over the next few days until the wall appears clean. 

Still, seeing stains? In very extreme situations, you may need to call in a professional.

The PURE Way of Cleaning Tobacco Smoke Off Walls

Through a natural and effective oxygenation process, the professionals at Pure Environmental can offer complete removal of the …

  • Tobacco
  • Smoke
  • Tar
  • Nicotine 
  • Ash; and 
  • Other contaminants

… that bonds to the walls of your home.

The Pure process involves using a specially formulated spray degreaser to agitate and scrub surfaces, then a high-powered extractor to physically remove the particulates. 

Pure Environmental then follows up with the PurAyr™ air scrubber to purify the air and extricate any remaining contaminants from corners and crevices — leaving your home feeling fresh and clean again. 

how to clean walls from cigarette smoke

What Is the Best Way to Clean Cigarette Odor From Walls?

Cigarette odor removal can take many shapes and forms. 

Ensure that you follow the steps below if you want to try removing the smoke smell yourself or contact professionals who can use the best technology available. 

The DIY Way of Cleaning Cigarette Odor From Walls

1. Your instincts to first air out the space are right. Ventilation is key, so open all the windows and turn on the fans. Place portable fans in front of the windows, facing outward, to blow out any remaining odor. Let the room breathe for as long as possible …

  • Before
  • During; and 
  • After

… you finish the process.

2. Strategically place bowls filled with odor neutralizers like …

  • Vinegar
  • Coffee 
  • Cat litter
  • Baking soda; or
  • Activated charcoal

… around the room. This will help absorb the smell. Let the bowls sit for a few days, if you can.

3. Utilize the technology of a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) purifying system to clean the air.

4. Use a soft sponge to wash the ceilings and walls with a solution made from:

  • One cup of white vinegar
  • Two cups of warm water
  • One-half cup of baking soda

Wash small areas at a time, being sure to wipe with a clean sponge and dry as you go.

5. Repeat washing two to three times until the odor is dissipated.

The PURE Way of Cleaning Cigarette Odor From Walls

Odor is often the first sign of unhealthy indoor air quality. Without the right tools, you could be left spinning your wheels and spending your money trying to identify the cause –– especially when you don’t have the obvious stains to blame.

That’s why the professionals at Pure Environmental wield the technology of the PurAyr™ air scrubber.

This small machine packs a punch of power with its ability to detach the tiny odor-causing particulates from the walls and purify the air at the same time.

So when you call Pure Environmental for odor removal, you can be sure your indoor air quality will be restored.

how to clean walls from cigarette smoke

How to Prevent Cigarette Smoke From Damaging Your Walls

The best way to keep cigarette smoke from damaging your walls is to prevent it from entering your home. 

If you’re going to smoke:

  • Smoke outside the home 
  • Close all windows and doors; and
  • Regularly dispose of your ashtrays

Or consider smoking electronic cigarettes instead of regular cigarettes.

If cigarette smoke is coming into your home from neighbors, close your windows and doors as quickly as possible. 

clean nicotine from walls

Contact PURE Environmental to Help Remove Cigarette Smoke Stains and Odor From Your Walls

Nothing screams bad hygiene like the stench of stale cigarette smoke wafting around your home.

It can seep into your clothes and ruin your appetite.

Before you resort to eating out and dry-cleaning your entire wardrobe, let the experts at Pure Environmental help remove cigarette smoke stains and odor from your walls and give your home a fresh start.

At Pure Environmental, we employ the most up-to-date PurAyr™ nanotechnology that allows us to rapidly remove embedded odors — without the use of chemicals.

With the science of the Advanced Oxidation Process (AOP), we do more than just eliminate odors — we eradicate fine particulate matter like …

  • Smoke
  • Fumes; and
  • Ash 

… that contaminates the air and surfaces of smoked-in homes. 

The result is a sanitized, odor-free environment.

Unpleasant smells caused by cigarette smoke not only affect your lifestyle, but can also diminish your property value and trigger adverse health effects. 

A healthy home is important to the health of your family. 

Don’t ignore that unpleasant cigarette smell in your house, call Pure Environmental today and let us make your environment PURE again.

how to clean walls from cigarette smoke