How to Clean Nicotine from an Art Print


Sharolyn asked: How do I clean nicotine from an art print? I have a large, beautiful, scenic picture that I inherited from my parents. They were both heavy smokers, so the print has become very dark and dreary looking. I would love to be able to hang this picture in my own home. How would I get it clean/fresh enough to be able to enjoy?

The exact process for cleaning nicotine from an art print will depend largely on what type of medium the art is created from.  If the print is on a canvas, see our guide How to Remove Nicotine from Canvas Photos. If it is an art print on paper, try our cleaning methods found in How to Clean an Art Print. Art created on paper is difficult, if not impossible to restore.

Additional Tips and Advice

  • Another possible remedy is the use of a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. Begin with gentle strokes and add pressure only as needed and after the surface is deemed capable of handling it. Watch carefully to be sure that the coloring is not removed.
  • If the print can tolerate moisture, try a weak vinegar/water solution. The acid in the vinegar will cut through the nicotine so that it can be removed. However, watch the print carefully to ensure there is no damage to the coloring.
  • As always, if the piece is valuable, have it cleaned by a professional who is experienced in the particular art medium.


  1. Ann M. S. says:

    I have I think a print landscape from an artist named Carl W. Rawson and it has a number next to it, a number 4, but I think there is another number next to it, not too sure – it is in a frame. And it is a winter scene, but it has a lot of nicotine on the picture or print. It isn’t on paper or a canvas; it is on some type of a board, not sure of that either, but I want to have it restored, but don’t want to damage the picture. What should I do? I really don’t have a lot of money to have it restored, but would like to try to have it done.

  2. Laureen says:

    I used the Magic Eraser and ruined the surface of several things. I would never use it on a piece of artwork, or on glass, or on a laminate counter.

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