If you've just moved into a house with smokers as previous owners, you may notice the walls could be cleaner. Years of smoking indoors can leave visible stains on walls and fill the home with noxious chemical smells. Cleaning smoke from your walls isn't just a matter of removing the stains; you want to eliminate the smell as well. This is done by washing the dirty walls with a strong cleaning solution, one that won't harm the paint or wallpaper.
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Lay down an old sheet at the foot of the dirty wall, so that moisture doesn't flood the floor.
Put on dish-washing gloves. Mix ammonia and water in equal parts in a bucket.
Soak a large sponge in the diluted ammonia. Use a ladder to access the top of the wall, then wipe your way down the wall, using vigorous rubbing motions while moving down the ladder. Work your way across the wall until the cigarette-smoke stains are no longer visible. For particularly strong stains, use undiluted ammonia.
Rinse the sponge in clean water and go over the wall again to remove the ammonia smell. Dry the wall with the sheet.
Repeat for remaining dirty walls.
If you are planning to repaint or repaper the dirty walls, you can instead apply a coat of shellac-based cleaner using a paint roller. The cleaner seals the smell and dries odorless, but it can be harmful to more delicate paints and wallpapers.