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How do you remove vape residue from walls?

Vaping has become a popular alternative to smoking cigarettes. However, the vapor produced can leave an oily residue on walls and other surfaces. This residue is unsightly and can be difficult to remove. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to effectively remove vape residue from walls.

What Causes Vape Residue?

The residue left behind by vaping is caused by the ingredients in vape juice. The main components of vape juice are propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin. When these substances are heated and turned into an aerosol, some of the condensation left behind can stick to surfaces as a tacky residue.

Nicotine and flavorings in vape juice can also contribute to residue. The oily film is hardest to remove from paint and wallpaper. Porous surfaces like unfinished drywall will absorb the residue more deeply.

Cleaning Supplies You’ll Need

Removing vape residue effectively requires using the right cleaning solutions. Here are the essential supplies you’ll need:

  • Dish soap – Choose a degreasing type like Dawn
  • White vinegar – Helps dissolve residue
  • Baking soda – Acts as a gentle abrasive
  • Spray bottle
  • Soft cloths
  • Magic eraser sponges
  • Goo Gone or other adhesive remover
  • Razor blade scraper
  • Paintable latex or oil-based primer
  • New paint

Step 1: Create a Cleaning Solution

Mix up an effective cleaning solution to break down the vape residue. Combine the following in a spray bottle:

  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1/4 cup dish soap
  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

Shake the bottle to fully blend the ingredients. This solution will help dissolve the oily components of the vape residue.

Step 2: Test on a Small Area

Before tackling the entire wall, first test your cleaning solution on a small, inconspicuous area. Spray or wipe a small amount of the solution onto the wall. Allow it to sit for a few minutes to penetrate the residue.

Then scrub gently with a soft cloth. If the residue starts to lift, you can continue with the rest of the wall. If not, try adding more baking soda and vinegar to the solution to increase its cleaning power.

Step 3: Spray and Wipe

Working in small sections, spray the cleaning solution directly onto the vape residue. Let it soak in for 2-3 minutes. Then scrub with a damp cloth using small circular motions.

Avoid using too much pressure, as scrubbing too vigorously can damage wall surfaces. Change to a clean section of the cloth frequently to prevent spreading around residue.

Repeat spraying and wiping until the section is clean. Rinse the cloth and reapply solution as needed.

Step 4: Magic Eraser Treatment

For more stubborn areas of residue, use a magic eraser sponge. These melamine foam sponges excel at removing vape film.

Dip the magic eraser in water and wring out any excess. Rub it gently over the residue in a circular motion. The melamine material will help lift off the remaining gunk without damaging the wall.

Step 5: Vinegar Rinse

For an extra cleaning boost, use plain white vinegar. Spray or wipe undiluted vinegar over the area you are cleaning. This will help dissolve any lingering residue.

Allow the vinegar to sit for 5-10 minutes. Then wipe off with clean water and dry with a soft cloth. The vinegar smell will dissipate as it dries.

Step 6: Remove Excess Residue

If you notice thick clumps of vape residue remaining after the main cleaning steps, use a plastic scraper to gently lift off the excess. A razor blade scraper or old credit card will work.

Hold the scraper at a 30 degree angle against the wall surface. Carefully push it along to peel off the chunks of residue without damaging the underlying paint or drywall.

Step 7: Tackle Wallpapered Walls

Vape residue on wallpaper can be more difficult to treat. The oil-based gunk can seep into the top layer of wallpaper, causing stains.

Use a degreasing cleaner like Goo Gone applied with a soft cloth to gently scrub the wallpaper surface. This will wick away any residue soaked into the wallpaper.

Do not apply too much pressure, as scrubbing too hard can strip the wallpaper top layer. Any remaining stain marks on old wallpaper may need to be concealed with paint.

Step 8: Prime and Paint

If vape residue has penetrated into unfinished drywall or left permanent stains on paint, you may need to apply primer and repaint.

Use an oil-based primer to seal in stains on either painted or unpainted drywall. Apply two coats and allow the primer to fully dry.

Then apply two finish coats of interior wall paint. The fresh paint will cover any remaining hints of vape residue.

Extra Tips and Tricks

Follow these additional tips for the most effective vape residue removal:

  • Work in small sections for best results
  • Rinse cleaning cloths frequently to prevent residue spread
  • Use painter’s tape to protect baseboards and trim
  • Wear gloves to protect hands from cleaning chemicals
  • Ensure the area is well-ventilated
  • Use caution on fragile wallpaper
  • Allow primer and paint to fully dry between coats
  • Discard any stained cloths so residue doesn’t transfer

Preventing Future Vape Residue

Once you’ve succeeded in removing vape residue, you can take steps to prevent the buildup from recurring:

  • Declare certain rooms or areas as vape-free zones
  • Crack windows or use fans when vaping to vent vapor outside
  • Use vape juice with lower concentrate of flavorings
  • Switch to a vape with lower vapor production
  • Clean walls frequently with soap and water to prevent buildup
  • Use wipeable, washable paint on walls near vaping areas

When to Call a Professional

In most cases, vape residue can be removed with some elbow grease and the right DIY techniques. However, if you are dealing with:

  • Extensive staining on multiple walls
  • Severely damaged wallpaper
  • Vape residue on ceilings or textured surfaces
  • Failed attempts at DIY removal

Then it may be wise to call in a professional painter or cleaning service. They have commercial-grade cleaners and tools that can erase even the most stubborn vape residue.


Removing vape residue requires a combination of cleaning solutions, tools, and techniques. With the proper supplies and methods, even heavy vape film can be eliminated from walls and other hard surfaces. Taking preventative steps can also keep future vape stains from recurring.

By skillfully using dish soap, baking soda, vinegar, magic erasers, and paint primer you can successfully rid your walls of vape residue. With some applied elbow grease, your walls will be restored their former clean glory!