About Nicotine Stains


If you have are a smoker, or someone in your family smokes, you've encountered those hard to remove nicotine stains. These water-soluble stains frequently cover the homes of habitual smokers in a blanket of yellow and dark brown tar. Rather than discarding your favorite sweater fraught with ash or living with nicotine-soaked walls, you can remove the remnants of heavy cigarette smoking using the following information.


According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, (NIDA) nicotine is one of the most widely used stimulants in the United States. This addictive derivative of the tobacco plant, Nicotiana tabacum in its purest form is an oily liquid. When smoked in cigarettes, the leaves produce a sticky residue that forms yellow and greasy tar deposits. Stubborn and infamously challenging to eliminate from common household surfaces, nicotine stains require frequent cleansing to remove smoke-tinged residue from upholstery, curtains and even human hair.


Nicotine stains require removal from the following surfaces and parts of the body: leather and fabric upholstery, fingers, lips and teeth, carpet, foam rubber, walls, curtains and drapes. Nicotine stains are removed using household chemicals like bleach and ammonia or by using natural methods such as salt, lemon and sugar mixtures.

Household Surface Stain Removal

To remove nicotine stains from walls in your home, mix hot water with a few drops of trisodium phosphate (TSP). Wash the walls vigorously to remove any appearance of yellow, orange or dark brown stains. If the nicotine stains on your wall are several years old, the walls must be repainted to cover the tobacco residue. Visit your local neighborhood hardware store for paint and oil-based primer recommendations.

Stain Removal from Lips,Teeth and Hair

For lips and fingers stained with nicotine a rinse of one part lemon juice and two parts water, or a mixture of equal parts lemon and salt to lighten the stained area. Rub these natural remedies into your skin gently. To remove stains from teeth, use a gentle teeth-whitening toothpaste daily. Never use lemon juice to remove stains off teeth. Lemon can damage your teeth permanently. Shampoo, that removes product buildup, is recommended for nicotine-stained hair. Apply to hair for 5 minutes and rinse thoroughly with cold water to remove any tobacco residue.

Clothing Stain Removal

To remove stains from white clothing, soak nicotine-stained garments in a basin of warm water and one denture-cleaning tablet overnight. For colored clothing, immerse the garments in a basin of warm water and laundry detergent powder. In the morning, wash the clothing in cold water and detergent to remove any traces of nicotine stains. Do not tumble your clothes in a hot dryer. The heat will set the nicotine stain and ruin the garment. Uses a spot removal treatment made specifically for dry-clean only fabrics when removing nicotine stains from silk, rayon and wool.


Stain removal experts recommend either using TSP, household bleach or a mixture of ammonia and vinegar to remove nicotine stains from walls and wallpaper. When using these harsh chemicals to remove stains, keep the area well-ventilated and use gloves and face masks to protect your skin and lungs from damage.