Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Clean Nicotine Stains From Vent Grates

Cigarette smoke in the house leaves stains and unpleasant odor.

The ugly, brown stains left by tar and nicotine can coat surfaces, leaving a greasy film and stale stench. Even heat and air conditioning vent grates aren't exempt from nicotine stains. Since you might not think to clean vent grates as regularly as other surfaces, the brown stains can build up. Nicotine stains are unsightly and the smoke odor can waft from the vent grates when the heat or air conditioning is turned on. You can get rid of brown stains and cigarette odor by cleaning your vent grates to effectively remove the discoloration and cigarette odor.


1. Use a screwdriver to loosen the screws securing the vent grates to the wall, ceiling or floor. Remove the screws and take the vent grates off. Place the screws in a plastic zip bag to avoid losing them while you clean the vent grates.

2. Pour 2 gallons of hot water into a large bucket. Add 2 quarts of white distilled vinegar to the water.

3. Vinegar naturally deodorizes, degreases and removes stains.

Soak the vent grates in the vinegar solution to loosen the greasy film and deodorize the surface. Leave the vent grates in the diluted vinegar for at least 30 minutes.

4. Remove one grate at a time from the vinegar solution. Sprinkle baking soda onto a damp sponge.

5. An old toothbrush easily scrubs small spaces.

Scrub both sides of the vent grate to remove nicotine stains and smell. Use an old toothbrush to clean in between the grates, if necessary. Repeat soaking and scrubbing steps to clean all grates.

6. Rinse the vent grates with warm water. Lay them on clean towels to air-dry completely.

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