What is the best way to clean up after smokers? I just bought a house that looks like they smoked a carton a day in the bedroom. Does it hide behind a good coat of paint or is it more entailed than that?

I’ve ran in to this problem before. I wiped the walls down with a good cleaning agent and then put a coat of QUALITY primer on the walls. That took care of it for me.

Thanks I was thinking that a good coat of paint would do it.

Make sure you get the ceiling too. Some new primer/paint on everything, clean the carpets, etc. Throw some of that carpet powder down and some air fresheners in the place too.

If you paint over nicotine, it will bleed through.

You need to wash the walls. Awesome works great for removing nicotine.

Next primer, and then your paint will both cover and seal in the odor.

Smoker’s odor is hard to get rid of. If it is bad, you will have to replace all carpets and drapes, paint, and clean the air ducts.

If it still smells, try washing out the insides of all the cabinets.

I use KILZ to prime, then paint. Residual odors usually disappear after a day or two of good ventilation.

Haha. Back in the day I used to work in computers. One company I worked for used off-white clone (generic) computers, along with Microsoft branded mice & keyboards. Those white Microsoft-mice would turn yellow after about 2-3 months anytime a chain smoker got ahold of them. LOL!!!

If a person wants to smoke, more power to them. But I don’t believe any IT staffer should ever have to touch one of those yellow mice. LOL!!!

Being a pro-painter/drywall man for many years before my health had me switch occupations.
To rid smoke smell and stains from walls in home and/or apartment is worst if tenants next door smoke to. You can clean your walls after you remove all nails, tacks, screws etc. with TSP and water only. Wear rubber dish gloves for office hands-tsp will severly chap hands. Once that is done, get a 5-gal bucket, paint grid, and good 3/4 nap roller cover and PVA wall paint. No need to prime unless repairs were made. To paint use PVA commercial for walls and flat white ceiling paint. You can paint a room yourself up to 350 sqft. for approx. $65.00 in materials. Painter get around $200 and up. Painting is not as simple as you might think, its the know how to prep. cover your work, and work safe. I have encounter many HO’s who have broken bones to save $200.00, is it worth the saving? Good luck… Kilz is a No No if not applied to new drywall…Tell you reasons later in next issues of ‘Oops I messed up…’

What are you doing with the property? If you will be renting it, I wouldn’t get too excited about a smoke covered ceiling, especially if the color is uniform. The next chain-smoking tenant will just muck it up some more.


We charge a $500 smoke clean-up fee. Everyone has to initial it on their check-in sheet. We call the renting agency as soon as we know; they subtract it from that person’s paycheck. The smokers don’t complain about the $500 charge. They know they did it.

Still several per year smoke inside. We do put ashtrays outside every unit, so there is no excuse.
If we smell it, we immediately search the trash for empty Febreze containers. Also smokers will have many scented candles and plug-in deodorizers.

It is a big hassle: professional steam cleaning of carpets and upholstery, washing walls, washing every single tablecloth, sheet, curtain and textile. Also there is the lost rent until all that is done.

Still they smoke.

I’ve used something called Simple Green to clean the walls before repainting with pretty good success.

I’m a big fan of Krud Kutter for cleaning the walls. It’s saved me from re-painting white trim/baseboards.

Kilz! And some places will tint it the color you want to paint so you only need to one coat it!

I use a solution called TSP to wash the walls down, then a fresh coat of heavy paint goes up.

Of course the easiest way is to not rent to smokers.