How to Paint Over Cigarette Smoke and Stains to Remove Odor


Have you ever moved into a home and noticed the smell of stale cigarette smoke? Or perhaps you’ve been living in your current home for years and want to freshen up the walls? Before we dive deep, here is a quick summary of how to remove odor and stains caused by cigarette smoke.

To remove odor and stains caused by cigarettes, you can paint over them. First, thoroughly clean the walls and remove any traces of smoke. Use a vinegar solution and a scrub brush to eliminate any smoke residue. Then use a shellac-based primer to seal in the odor. Finally, use odor-blocking paint.

We’ll walk you through the steps, and explain what type of primer and paint work best. Keep reading to discover more.

Best Primer For Smoke Smell And Stains

A shellac-based primer is the best option when painting over walls with smoke smells and stains. This primer seals in odors and provides a barrier between the paint and the wall, preventing discoloration. It also dries quickly, so you can start your paint job immediately.

In addition, shellac-based primer is highly effective at hiding stains and imperfections. On the other hand, water-based primers will not work in this application as they allow water vapor and smells to pass through them.

I recommend Zinsser BIN Shellac-Based primer. An oil-based primer will also get the job done. This versatile primer is ideal for interior and spot exterior use, making it a great choice for various projects. It’s especially good at sealing knots and sap streaks and pet, smoke, and musty odors.

So you can be sure your project will have a professional finish. Plus, it sticks to all surfaces without sanding and dries lightning fast. You can recoat in just 45 minutes.

The most common primers you see at the local hardware store will not work in this application. These primers are water-based. This means that water vapor can pass through them. Unfortunately, it also means that cigarette odors can pass through them.

Best Paint For Smoke Smell And Stains

Choosing the right paint is critical when trying to cover up cigarette smells. Cheap paint won’t do the job either and will require more coats. On the other hand, high-quality paint will provide better coverage in fewer coats.

Self-priming paints are a good choice, as they add an extra layer of primer. Although these primers cannot cover cigarette smells well, they go on smoothly and provide a better finish.

The best paint for smoke, smell, and stains is odor-blocking paint. I recommend ECOBOND Odor Defender. It is the most effective way to seal existing odor issues and prevent new ones from developing.

It’s a powerful combination of specialty resins, food-grade mineral additives, and alginate from seaweed that provides an impenetrable barrier against toxic fumes and smoke.

It is an eco-friendly, easy-to-apply paint and primer that is mold, mildew, and fire-resistant. It works on multiple surfaces as a self-priming interior paint and topcoat. ECOBOND Odor Defender is the best way to protect your family from toxic fumes and smoke.

How To Clean And Prepare The Walls

Cigarette smoke and stains can be tricky things to clean. Not only is the smell incredibly difficult to remove, but the nicotine and tar can also leave behind unsightly yellow stains.

Step One: Empty The Room

The first step is to empty the room as much as possible. If you’re planning on painting after you clean, this will make the process much easier. Next, move all furniture to the center of the room and cover it with drop cloths or sheets. Once the room is empty, open the windows to let in the fresh air.

Step Two: Wipe Down The Walls With A Dry Sponge

Once the room is empty, you can start cleaning the walls. Begin by wiping them down with a dry sponge. This will help remove any loose dirt or debris. Be sure to focus on areas where there is visible staining from smoke damage.

Step Three: Wash The Walls With A Solution Of Vinegar And Water

After you’ve sponged off the loose dirt, it’s time to wash the walls with a solution of vinegar and water. Mix one part vinegar with two parts water and apply it to the walls with a sponge or cloth.

Be sure to scrub thoroughly, especially in areas with heavy staining. Wipe with a sponge dipped in clean water to remove the vinegar. Allow your walls to dry completely before proceeding.

Other Solutions You Can Use

Trisodium Phosphate

Trisodium phosphate is a white powder often used as a cleaner or degreaser. Although it is available in concentrated form, it is diluted with water before use.

The amount of water needed varies depending on the brand and strength of the product, so it is important to follow the manufacturer’s directions. In general, trisodium phosphate works best when used on ceramic or porcelain surfaces.

Hydrogen Peroxide

If a stain doesn’t come out with soap and water, you can try using a mixture of ammonia and hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide is another common household item that can remove cigarette smoke odors and stains.

Mix a few drops of ammonia with 1 cup of 3% hydrogen peroxide, and then apply the solution to the stained area. Allow it to sit for a few minutes before scrubbing. Rinse with water and repeat if necessary.

Extra Tips For Removing Odors

Cigarette smoke is one of the hardest smells to get rid of. Once it has infiltrated a space, it seems like it is everywhere. However, if you have recently painted your walls and are still smelling cigarette smoke, you can do a few other things.

Change The Air Filters

The air filter in your home helps to trap airborne particles, including cigarette smoke. If you haven’t changed the filter recently, it may be time to do so. This will help keep the smell from recirculating through your home.

Use A Deodorizing Spray

There are various deodorizing sprays on the market specifically designed to target tough smells like cigarette smoke. These products work by trapping and neutralizing odor molecules, making them easier to remove. Use these in areas that still smell after you’ve painted or to further reduce odors between painting projects.

Install An Air Purifier

Air purifiers can be a great way to freshen up the air in your home. These devices work by circulating air through a filter that traps and removes odor molecules, particles, and other allergens.

Clean Your Soft Furnishings

Cigarette smoke can settle in items like rugs, curtains, and upholstery. A good deep cleaning of these items can help to eliminate the smell. Consider shampooing carpets and furniture or having them professionally cleaned.

Clean Light Fixtures

Light fixtures are often overlooked when it comes to eliminating odors. Cigarette smoke can settle in the dust and debris that collects on these surfaces. Use a damp cloth to wipe down your light fixtures and help get rid of any lingering smells.

Replace Carpet

If all else fails and you can still not eliminate the smell, you may consider replacing the carpet. A carpet is a great place for the smoke to settle and can be difficult to clean. Replacing it with a non-porous surface like tile or hardwood may help to eliminate the odor.

Graham Walsh

I want to share everything I know about home improvement in order to help you. Whether you're a home enthusiast or an industry professional, I have the information that you need.

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