Home > Body Stains > Smoking: It Can Stain Your Life

Smoking: It Can Stain Your Life

By: Hsin-Yi Cohen BSc, MA, MSt - Updated: 26 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Smoking Cigarette Stains Nicotine Stains

If you smoke or someone smokes in your family, you may find that aside from the threat to your health, nicotine can be a serious threat to your home and appearance too, through a range of nasty yellow stains which can be difficult to remove, particularly if neglected for a period of time.

Nicotine is a toxic substance found in the 'nightshade' family of plants, the most popular of which is tobacco. It is a powerful nerve poison and is used in many insecticides. In its natural form, it is an oily liquid but it combines readily with water and also easily penetrates the skin. Once inhaled, it directly enters the bloodstream and has both a stimulant and depressant effect, affecting the heart and blood pressure and producing addictive properties similar to heroine and cocaine.

Teeth and Lips

One of the most obvious symptoms of smoking is stained teeth and lips. These come in the form of sticky tar deposits, brown teeth and yellow lips, red inflammation of the gums and chronic bad breath. This is because smoking reduces blood flow and saliva to the mouth and raises the mouth's temperature, damaging and killing important oral tissue cells.

Unfortunately, the only sure-fire way of treating these stains is to drastically reduce your smoking or quit altogether. However, good dental hygiene (brushing and flossing regularly) will help in removing stains, as well as the use of a simple whitening treatment or toothpaste. Rinse your mouth regularly to flush away as much nicotine as possible. For lips, again the best solution is to cut down on, or quit the habit. Otherwise, make sure you drink several glasses of water a day to flush toxins away and apply Vaseline to your lips regularly. You can also use lemon juice on the lips daily, which will help to lighten the stain over time. (NOTE: never use lemon juice on teeth as the Vitamin C will strip the teeth of calcium and damage it permanently.)

Fingers

For nicotine stains on your fingers, rub them vigorously with lemon juice before washing with soap and water. If the stain is persistent, you may need to scrub gently with a pumice stone, after applying the lemon juice. Don't forget to follow with hand cream.

Hair

If you have a build-up of nicotine stains on hair, you will need to use a purifying shampoo, such as a 'build-up remover' or 'purifying cleanser'. A professional salon will be able to advise you. Apply the shampoo to stained areas, leave for at least 3 minutes and then rinse thoroughly. You may have to repeat this process several times to completely remove the stains.

Curtains

If smoking occurs in the house, then all curtains will have to be regularly washed or dry-cleaned in order to keep them fresh and free from nicotine stains. Otherwise, there will be an inevitable build-up of nicotine, particularly along the pleats at the top and once the nicotine stains set, it will be very difficult to restore the curtains to their original colours. If stopping smoking is not an option, then choose dark-coloured fabrics for the curtains as this will help to disguise any staining. However, you will still need to clean the curtains regularly to keep them smelling fresh.

Walls

As nicotine stains are water-soluble, it is best to avoid water-based paints and coatings in areas where smoking is likely to occur. Water-based primers, even stain-blocking primers, are restricted in what they can do to cover nicotine stains. If you are looking to cover a stain, in particular, then water-based paints are completely ineffective as they rewet the surface and cause the nicotine to bleed through. It is best to use an oil-based paint or primer to cover nicotine or to protect walls in areas of heavy smoking.

If the wall is covered in washable paint, then nicotine stains can be treated quite effectively with sugar soap and water; the same goes for washable wall papers. With non-washable wall papers, there is little you can do other than declare the area a smoke-free zone or being resigned to having unpleasantly yellowing walls.

No matter how effective a stain removing solution is, overall, nicotine staining will mean that you need to do thorough cleaning much more often. Perhaps this is yet one more incentive to end this addiction.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Topics
Latest Comments
  • Karen
    Re: Removing Pollen Stains
    I managed to get Lilly pollen into cream carpet, tried to remove it with a wet cloth, now it's even worse! What do I do?
    13 April 2017
  • StainExpert
    Re: Removing Tippex Stains
    Thepassey - Your Question:I googled this because my son can back from school with it all splattered across his blazer. I washed it then…
    17 March 2017
  • Thepassey
    Re: Removing Tippex Stains
    I googled this because my son can back from school with it all splattered across his blazer. I washed it then while it was wet I picked…
    12 March 2017
  • StainExpert
    Re: Removing Tippex Stains
    dalila - Your Question:Nail Polish Remover.It did work perfect!! ThanksOur Response:Great. We're
    18 January 2017
  • dalila
    Re: Removing Tippex Stains
    Nail Polish Remover.....It did work perfect!! Thanks
    18 January 2017
  • janine
    Re: Removing Tippex Stains
    How to get tip ex off wall paper
    3 January 2017
  • Mum
    Re: Fruit, Vegetable and Food Colouring Stains
    Please can anyone tell me how to remove a pollen stain from the silicone in my kitchen. Thanks
    25 November 2016
  • StainExpert
    Re: Removing Tippex Stains
    Simpledalrymple - Your Question:Thank you - I used the above WD40 tip. My son's dark green blazer was liberally splattered with Tippex, so…
    8 November 2016
  • Simpledalrymple
    Re: Removing Tippex Stains
    Thank you - I used the above WD40 tip. My son's dark green blazer was liberally splattered with Tippex, so my husband scrubbed it with…
    5 November 2016
  • Nat
    Re: Removing Pollen Stains
    Hi, I managed to get Lilly pollen around the plastic sealant on my sink at home! It's gone yellow! Any ideas how to remove it? Thanks and…
    21 October 2016
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the StainExpert website. Please read our Disclaimer.