How To Clean/Remove Nicotine Staining Before Decorating.

9 Jan 2010
Reaction score
United Kingdom
I've already posted this once, but for some reason it disappeared.

My daughter bought a small one bed house at auction. The previous owner was a heavy smoker. Everything in the house is covered in a yellow/brown smoke/nicotine film or staining. Like pub walls used to be years ago.

It needs completely cleaning and decorating. The walls are mainly woodchip and ceilings artex - not combed but the type with little raised points like an iced Xmas cake.

What is the best thing to use to clean the walls, ceiling and painted wood surfaces to remove as much of the staining and so the emulsion/paint sticks properly? After we have cleaned off the emulsioned/painted surfaces, what should we seal them with to stop the stain bleeding through again?

Also, what is best for cleaning other surfaces in the house, eg. radiators, UPVC window frames/doors, light switches - even the outside of the boiler? Everything in the house is discoloured.

Many thanks for any help and advice.
Sponsored Links
google sugar soap

Gonna be difficult to sugar soap the stippled artex though.

I'd apply a stain blocker, eg Zinsser BIN. There are speciality emulsions that will deal with the likes of smoke damage and nicotine but they are realllly expensive.
Thanks for your replies, really appreciated.

I could probably wipe or mop over the stipled artex ceilings with sugar soap, but would this damage it?

With Zinser stain blocker, do I need to get as much of the nicotine film/coating off before applying, or can it just go straight onto walls and ceilings? Do I also use Zinser s/b on the gloss painted woodwork?

And can I also use sugar soap on other surfaces to clean, eg. rads, UPVC frames, etc?
Sponsored Links

DIYnot Local

Staff member

If you need to find a tradesperson to get your job done, please try our local search below, or if you are doing it yourself you can find suppliers local to you.

Select the supplier or trade you require, enter your location to begin your search.

Are you a trade or supplier? You can create your listing free at DIYnot Local