How To Remove Tobacco Stain From Washable Fabrics

January 29, 2023

Tobacco stains can be an unfortunate reality for smokers, or for those who have to deal with the aftermath of second-hand smoke. But don't let those unsightly marks ruin your clothes or upholstery. With our easy-to-follow guide, you'll learn how to remove tobacco stains from your clothes quickly and effectively. Whether you're dealing with a stubborn stain on your shirt or a spot on your pants, our step-by-step instructions will show you how to get rid of the problem for good. Keep reading to learn more.


Various (depending on type)


These stains appear as discoloration of the fabric that is usually yellow or brown in color. They can be dry or slightly damp to the touch and may have a slightly smoky or musty smell. These stains are often caused by contact with tobacco or other similar types of smoking products.


Hot (120° to 140°F)


Hot water helps to break down the tobacco and make it easier to remove.

The Science Behind Tobacco Stains

Tobacco stains clothes because the tar and other chemicals present in tobacco smoke adhere to the fibers of the fabric. These substances are sticky and dark in color, which can leave noticeable stains on clothing. Additionally, the nicotine in tobacco can cause yellowing of the fabric over time. The combination of tar and nicotine can create a brown or yellow discoloration on clothes, especially if they are not washed or cleaned regularly.

What You'll Need To Get Rid Of Tobacco Stains

  • Dish soap
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Baking soda
  • Lemon juice
  • Vinegar
  • Oxygen-based bleach
  • Enzyme-based laundry detergent
  • Stain remover or laundry pre-treatment

Step By Step Process To Remove Tobacco Stains

  1. Start by mixing a solution of dish soap and warm water. Apply the solution directly to the stain and gently rub the fabric together. Let it sit for at least 15 minutes.
  2. For extra stain-fighting power, mix a solution of 3% hydrogen peroxide and a pinch of baking soda. Apply this solution to the stain and let it sit for 10 minutes.
  3. For a more natural option, mix equal parts lemon juice and water. Apply to the stain and let it sit for 10 minutes.
  4. Another option is to mix a solution of 1 part white vinegar and 1 part water and apply it to the stain. Let it sit for 10 minutes.
  5. Next, launder the garment according to the care label instructions, using the warmest water safe for the fabric, and an oxygen-based or enzyme-based laundry detergent.
  6. If the stain is still present, use a stain remover or laundry pre-treatment before washing again.
  7. Be sure to check the garment before drying, as heat can set in stains that haven't been fully removed.
Please note: Test the solution on a small, inconspicuous area of the fabric before applying to the stain to make sure it doesn't damage or discolor the fabric. Also, be sure to follow the instructions on any commercial products you may use.

In Brief

Tobacco stains are caused by tar and other chemicals present in tobacco smoke. These substances stick to the fibers of fabric and can leave noticeable stains. To remove the stains, use a combination of dish soap, hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, lemon juice, vinegar, oxygen-based bleach, enzyme-based laundry detergent, and stain remover. Launder according to care label instructions, using the warmest water safe for the fabric. Test the solution on a small area before applying to the stain.

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