Cleaning Nicotine Stains Offe The Wall-any point where it is just "good enough"?


Old 01-16-11, 12:31 PM
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Cleaning Nicotine Stains Offe The Wall-any point where it is just "good enough"?

I am going to paint my grandmother's basement. My grandfather used to smoke down there. I had no idea how much tar/nictoine was on the walls until I started wiping them down..I thought it just looked "old", but the streaking is crazy. I have used everything I could think of..TSP..Oil Soap...Vinegar..Bleach..and combinations thereof...I have "mopped" the walls/ceiling and did it by hand as well. .There are some areas I just can't get clean no matter how much I scrub or what I use..Should I just start to paint? Maybe do 2-3 coats? That may be quicker than trying to clean something that is not going to come clean..the walls are white,
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Old 01-16-11, 03:02 PM
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While it's best to remove all the grime, it just isn't always practical. Continuing to wash/scrub and rinse will eventually remove all the nicotine but I'd remove what I can [as you already have] make sure any cleaner residue has been rinsed off and the seal the walls with a solvent based primer. I wouldn't trust any latex stain hiding primer to do the job and can just about guarantee that the nicotine will bleed thru just a couple of coats of latex paint. Latex paint adheres fine to solvent based primers.
Old 01-16-11, 10:08 PM
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Try using a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser to clean those areas of the wall that don't seem to want to come clean. You can buy these at any supermarket in the cleaning aisle.
Old 01-17-11, 07:30 AM
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Wipe them down well, prime with a sealing primer, paint and move on to the next project
Old 01-17-11, 09:39 AM
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Being an ex-smoker I can tell you not to waste your money on the Magic Eraser. You'd need a truckload and they're expensive. Plus nothing but sealer and paint will clean those walls up.
Old 01-22-11, 02:55 AM
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Have you tried this?


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Old 01-23-11, 05:17 AM
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throw a coat of BIN on it. It is an odor barrier and stain killer.
Old 01-23-11, 05:28 AM
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No stain blocker or paint is going to stay stuck to a dirty wall. Clean it first with any brand of Orange cleaner you can pick up at any Dollar store. Start cleaning the wall at the bottom or you will have streaks. I only use Zinzer brand stain blocker it will cover and seal in one coat. Bins is like trying to prime with a milk paint.
Old 01-23-11, 05:49 AM
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Welcome to the forums joecaption!

I don't think anyone is saying to paint over a dirty wall but often it isn't worth the effort to remove all the grime. It's also important to remove any cleaner residue. Streaks in the existing finish shouldn't affect the primer or the top coat. Solvent based primers will adhere to a less than clean surface and will seal the stains so they don't bleed thru the top coat. BIN is one of the best stain hiding primers on the market! Because of it's quick drying time it might be harder for those with less experience to apply.
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