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How to Remove Smoke Stains from Walls

Smoke stains are unpleasant to have around, and courtesy of the presence of tar and nicotine, they are extremely difficult to remove. There are several products in the market meant for removing smoke stains from walls.
However, it is best to choose one that contains mild chemicals and doesn’t involve a lot of strength. In case it doesn’t work, then it may be time to try out another method.

Even a small fire outbreak can cause severe smoke stains on your walls. For best results and to also avoid difficult smoke stains, you should also try to eliminate soot and char as fast as possible.

How to Safely Remove Smoke Stains from Walls

The methods discussed below are safe to utilize on most walls (painted, drywall, plaster, wallpapered), however, you should always test a particular cleaning solution in a hidden area first to check if it has any negative reaction before using such a method to remove smoke stains from your walls.

Have it in mind that these methods would involve some elbow grease and time. Always ensure that you wear rubber hand gloves for skin protection while trying to get the stains off. Check out the tips below for other good options you can use.

Step 1: Dab Smoke Stains with Rubbing Alcohol

Rubbing alcohol on smoke stains is an inexpensive option as most individuals already have alcohol in their homes. All you need do is, soak a part of any cleaning rag in alcohol and wipe the smoke stains.

It is essential to note that this might harm some certain paint types, thus always try to clean a hidden area first. You could also test it on your wallpaper first.
When removing smoke stains from the walls, work your way from the top to the bottom. In case you begin close to the floor, there is every chance that excess formula will run down your walls and end up taking nicotine tar with it, this can dirty the part of the wall you have cleaned.

In case you have to clean the walls all over again, this would depend on the amount of the stain. Or, the walls have been stained by smoke for many years. Ensure that you take time to clean the walls several times. Always make sure you do not miss any spots. Get all the corners, trim and molding.

Step 2: Get the 409 Out

409 is a wall cleaner recommended for removing smoke stains from walls. You must always have clean rags ready, and at the same time have at least three bottles of 409, depending on the number and size of walls to clean.

To avoid wasting too much time cleaning, spray it onto the rags instead of the walls, and then thoroughly scrub the smoke stains. This way; you won’t have nicotine dripping down the walls before you can utilize it.

Step 3: Use Pure 20% Vinegar

In case you are one of does who love old, true and tried natural remedies. You should consider using this vinegar solution to clean your smoke-stained walls. Vinegar is an amazing and common method for cleaning stains off the wall, including adamant nicotine stains.

When doing this, always try starting with a smaller amount at first before working your way up. If you want, you can add a few drops of pure 20% Vinegar to heated water in a good spray bottle, then use this directly on the smoke stains on your walls.

Because tar and nicotine create a sticky, hardened surface, the acid (acetic) present in vinegar can help in breaking this down, eliminating both the smell and the stain of smoke. Another technique for cleaning smoke-stained walls with vinegar is by utilizing a sponge.

Properly wet the sponge with the water solution/vinegar and squeeze it to bring out the excess water. This will assist in preventing unpleasant drips down the walls. Simply wipe off the smoke stains, rinse the sponge, and keep working as required.

In case your solution is not strong enough, you can include a little more vinegar until it starts working. This technique is also safe to use on other paint types such as glossy and latex-based surfaces.

Whenever you are using the vinegar solution on an oil-based wall, you can include some household detergent, but ensure to check that it is a mild detergent and always adhere to directions closely.

The benefit of vinegar is unmentionable. It can be also be used for other household cleaning tasks as well as outdoor gardening. You can use it on tile or shower glass, to remove spots, soap scum, and water stains or even for killing weeds in your environment.

Step 4: Repaint

There is one final-ditch remedy for smoke stains when everything else fails: repainting. You cannot simply apply coats of paint on top of the smoke stains: the tar and nicotine will seep through.

You should use a stain-blocking primer first. This will assist in preventing seepage, thus allowing you to apply any paint of your choice on top. It would be clean work, and you might be astonished just how much tar comes off as you keep washing the wall. Additionally, do not forget to clean the outside of your blinds as smoke stains may have settled itself there too.

Additional Tips

  • Do not use water-based cleaners to eliminate soot from drywall; as this will cause the stains to blend into the wall.
  • Open your windows and also use fans to get ventilation in areas damaged by smoke or any time you are dealing with harsh chemical fumes.
  • Always make use of good safety gloves and glasses when working with chemicals.
  • First, clean a small section of your wall when you are using cleaning chemicals to check for damage.
  • Always replace air filters for the cooling and heating system. Even though the fire occurred in a different room, smoke particles can keep on circulating via contaminated air systems and filters.

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