How to Remove Nicotine, Cigar, Pipe Smoke, and Cigarette Stains

By: Editors of Consumer Guide  | 

­Follow these steps to remove tobacco stains from various surfaces.
­Follow these steps to remove tobacco stains from various surfaces.

We've all been there: You're at a party, enjoying yourself, and someone accidentally swipes you with the ash of their cigarette. There's no need for smoke to come out your ears. Follow these tips to e­rase nicotine stains.­

The first step in removing tobacco stains is to identify the stained material.­­­

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­Below are the most co­mmon types of materials that can become tobacco-stained, with steps on how to remove tobacco from each:

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Non-washable Fibers

Follow these steps to remove tobacco stains from Acetate, Fiberglass, Rayon, Triacetate:

  • Sponge (the method of using a dampened pad to apply light strokes, moving outward from the center of the stain) the stain with water and apply a wet spotter and a few drops of white vinegar.
  • Cover with an absorbent pad dampened with wet spotter. Let it stand as long as it picks up the stain.
  • Keep the stain and pad moist with wet spotter and vinegar.
  • Flush (the method of applying stain remover to loosen staining material and residue from stain removers) with water and repeat until no more stain is removed.

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Washable Fibers

Follow these steps to remove tobacco stains from Acrylic Fabric, Modacrylic, Nylon, Olefin, Polyester, Spandex:

  • Soak the stain in a solution of 1 quart warm water, 1/2 teaspoon liquid detergent, and 1 tablespoon white vinegar for 15 minutes.
  • Rinse with water.
  • Sponge the remaining stain with rubbing alcohol.
  • Rinse well with water, allow to dry, and launder as soon as possible.

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Hard Surfaces

Follow these steps to remove tobacco stains from Acrylic Plastic, Aluminum, Asphalt, Bamboo, Brass, Bronze, Cane, Ceramic Glass/Tile, Copper, Cork, Enamel, Glass, Gold, Grout, Iron, Ivory, Jade, Linoleum, Opal, Paint (flat or gloss), Pewter, Plexiglas, Polyurethane, Stainless Steel, Tin, Vinyl Clothing, Vinyl Tile, Vinyl Wallcovering:

  • Wipe the surface with a cloth or sponge dipped in warm sudsy water. Rinse well and wipe dry.

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Stone Surfaces

Follow these steps to remove tobacco stains from Alabaster or Marble:

  • Wipe the surface with a cloth dipped in a solution of washing soda and water.
  • Rinse well and wipe dry. If a stain persists, mix a few drops ammonia with 1 cup of 3% hydrogen peroxide.
  • Soak a white blotter in the solution and place over the stain. Weigh it down with a piece of glass or other heavy object.
  • Continue applying the solution until the stain has been bleached out.

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Masonry

Follow these steps to remove tobacco stains from Bluestone, Brick, Concrete, Flagstone, Granite, Limestone, Masonry Tile, Slate, Terrazzo:

  • Mix a solution of washing soda and water.
  • Gently brush the stain away with a cloth or soft-bristled brush.
  • Rinse with clear water and allow to dry.

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Other Fabrics

Follow these steps to remove tobacco stains from Burlap, Silk, Wool:

  • Sponge the stain with water. If stain persists, apply a wet spotter and a few drops of white vinegar.
  • Cover with an absorbent pad dampened with wet spotter. Let it stand as long as any stain is being lifted.
  • Change the pad as it picks up the stain.
  • Keep the stain and pad moist with wet spotter and vinegar.
  • Flush with water. Repeat until no more stain is being removed.
  • If any stain remains, test for colorfastness, then apply rubbing alcohol and cover with an absorbent pad dampened with alcohol. Let it stand as long as any stain is being removed.
  • Flush with water.

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Carpet or Foam Rubber

Follow these steps to remove tobacco stains from carpet or rubber:

  • Sponge the area with a solution of 1 quart warm water, 1/2 teaspoon liquid detergent, and 1 tablespoon white vinegar.
  • Blot with a clean pad and rinse well with water.

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Cotton or Linen

Follow these steps to remove tobacco stains from cotton or linen:

  • Soak the stain for 15 minutes in a solution of 1 quart warm water and 1/2 teaspoon liquid detergent.
  • Rinse well with water.
  • Next, sponge the area with rubbing alcohol, rinse with water, and allow to dry.

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Special Surfaces

Follow these steps to remove tobacco stains from Felt, Fur (natural or synthetic), Wood:

  • Mix dishwashing detergent in hot water and swish to make a great volume of suds.
  • Dip a cloth in only the foam and apply.
  • Rinse area with a cloth moistened with clear water.>
  • Allow felt and fur to air dry, but wipe wood surfaces dry with a clean cloth and wax or polish.

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Leather or Suede

Follow these steps to remove tobacco stains from leather or suede:

  • Mix a solution of mild soap in lukewarm water. Swish to create a great volume of suds.
  • Apply only the foam with a sponge.
  • Rinse area with a cloth moistened with clear water.
  • Wipe with a clean cloth to dry.

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Porcelain

Follow these steps to remove tobacco stains from Porcelain Dishes, Porcelain Fixtures:

  • Remove the stain by washing in warm sudsy water, or wiping with a cloth dipped in warm sudsy water.
  • Rinse well and wipe dry.
  • To remove stubborn stains, dampen a cloth and dip it into baking soda.
  • Wipe away any remaining stain, rinse, and dry with a clean cloth.

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Silver

Follow these steps to remove tobacco stains from silver:

  • Wash in hot soapy water. Rinse in hot water and wipe dry with a soft cloth to prevent tarnish.

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Originally Published: Mar 27, 2006

Remove Ash FAQ

How do you remove ash from patio furniture?
Mix one tablespoon of liquid dishwashing detergent with two cups of water and let it sit for a few minutes. Use a clean piece of cloth to dab the solution onto the stain until it's completely absorbed. Lastly, wipe it clean with a sponge.
How do you clean ash from a hard surface?
Ash residue can be cleaned easily by sweeping the surfaces, followed by a quick mopping with a wet cloth.
Can I hose ash off my car?
When ash mixes with water, it forms a corrosive substance that can ruin your car’s paint. As such, you should not hose ash off your car. Instead, try to sweep it off using a broom or a cloth.
Can ash ruin your car paint?
According to the American Automobile Association, ash contains potassium and calcium. When mixed with water, these chemicals can damage your car's paint.

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