Can Vape Smoke Stain Walls Due To Nicotine Residue?

Whether its nicotine smoke from cigarettes or vapes, we all know that neighbor who always smokes inside. The walls one fresh and white, now turned a gross stained brown-ish color. Years of indoor smoking has taken its toll on the interior: Everything from the fridge to the couch is covered in a fine layer of smoke particles. The dog on the couch has an awkward cough and the wife sounds like a motorcycle that needs oil. This is what happens when smoke from nicotine-based products enters the house for years upon years.

To be fair, this introduction story was completely overly dramatic. Cigarette smoke indoors does take a serious toll on the walls and ceiling after many years, but the question is if it’s the same for vape smoke.

There’s a lot of evidence that this so-called “third hand smoke” (THS) does impact interiors, but it’s different than what most articles want you to believe. Nicotine isn’t even that much of a contribtor when it comes to staining your furniture, walls or ceilings. This is one of those urban myths that keep popping up that simply are not true.

I’ve done a bit of research on the topic and this is what I learned in the process. Let’s answer the most common questions related to indoor vaping consequences. In another blog post I already discussed the effect of vapor on electronics, so we’ll leave that out of the picture here.

Does Vaping Leave Nicotine Residue On Walls?
Different from popular belief, nicotine does not leave a noticeable residue on walls. Vaping smoke will not damage walls, but can leave a thin layer of residue from the propylene glycerol and vegetable glycerine inside the vapor. Over time, the residue from vaping can build up on walls and ceilings.

However, compared to nicotine staining left behind by cigarettes, the residue left behind through the act of vaping is only a minor contributor. The major difference between stains from cigarettes and those from vaping, are the following:

·Vape stains tend to attract dirt and debris rather than causing stains by itself;
·The overall effect of vaping smoke residue is less, i.e. it’s easier to remove and less persistent;
·Vape smoke has less harmful chemicals, meaning it will take longer and more persistent vaping to see any effects;
·The major contributor in cigarette stains is tar, while vaping only leaves a glycerol and glycerine residue;

Because it is true that vaping indoors can be bad for the objects inside the house, especially for those parts that are more difficult to reach or clean. It’s very easy to produce dirt and debris in the house, which makes it more likely to build up quickly in spots you would not expect. This also means that windows, which are a major victim of cigarette smoke, will not be a major victim of residue for vapers.

Does Vaping Stain Windows?
While the propylene glycerol in vape smoke can stain walls and ceilings over time, it is not possible for windows to get stained. The only type of ‘stain’ that will be left on your windows is a thin layer of glycerol, which can easily be wiped off (even when using your vape indoors for prolonged periods of time).

So if you’re using e-cigarettes indoors and you’re worried about the long-term effect on your windows, there’s really no need to. If you make sure to regularly clean them you will not see any major build-up.

In rare instances, you might see some vape some buildup on the inside of double glass windows, but that simply means there is some sort of insulation leak. This is a technical problem that cannot really be blamed on vaping.

What Is The Smoke From Vaping?
The smoke from vaping primarily consists of two components: Propylene Glycerol (PG) and Vegetable Glycerine (VG). Minor components are nicotine and flavoring, which only make up a tiny fraction of the vapor. Not all e-juices contain nicotine, which sometimes means this component is not found in vape smoke.

The major component might sound a little bit scary if you don’t know what it is, but it’s actually a relatively safe natural, organic, plant-based product. Propylene glycerol is a clear, colorless, slightly syrupy liquid. Not trying to say that it’s healthy in any way if you inhale it, but propylene glycerol will be the least of your worries once you compare it to the awful things that are inside regular cigarettes.

While the FDA has considered it safe for consumption in foods, it’s also a product that you will find in things like anti-freeze or polyester compounds. Sounds scary, isn’t that scary at all, so when you find it as vapor inside your house, don’t be afraid to inhale it in small quantities. Another interesting thing to note from the study cited before is this quote:

“We have little information about what happens to propylene glycol in the air. The small amounts that may enter the air are likely to break down quickly. If it escapes into the air, it will take between 24 and 50 hours for half the amount released to break down. Propylene glycol can mix completely with water.”
– Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR, 1997)

How To Get Nicotine Stains Off Of Walls
Ignoring the whole argument about whether or not nicotine is the contributor to the stains, there are some ways to get rid of the stains that are produced.

For vaping, these are a lot less complicated than for regular cigarette stains. Here are some simple tips to get rid of these ‘nicotine stains’ off of your walls and ceilings:

·Regularly wipe walls off with a wet cloth: The only and best remedy to get rid of existing residue stains will be to carefully wipe them off with a wet cloth. This can be a lot of work, but it works;
·Start smoking nicotine-free vape juices: While this will not decrease the residue on your interior (as nicotine is not the major contributor), nicotine-free e-juices will remove the nicotine out of the equation;
·Only vape near open windows: Or simply use the extraction hood in the kitchen to quickly get rid of vapor inside the house. This way, most of the vapor will end up outside instead of on your furniture;
·Avoid vaping indoors all together: The best solution to avoid any type of problem is obviously to simply go outside while you vape, just like you would do when smoking cigarettes. This is also a lot healthier for other people or possible pets that live with you inside the home.

Vaping in well-ventilated rooms will not do anything to improve the situation, as the residue will simply build up in other rooms inside your home. This makes it even more important to go outside while you consume e-cigarettes. The next best things are consuming them near the kitchen’s extraction hood or an open window. That way you can be sure that most of the vapor ends up outside, instead of on your precious interior.

Responsible Indoor Vaping
If you’re familiar with homes that have experienced decades of cigarette smoke, it will come to no surprise to you that vaping can do similar things to your interior, be it to a much lesser extent. Not only that, it’s still harmful to expose vulnerable people and pets to indoor vape smoke, as the nicotine inside the smoke will have serious health implications.

The only way to be sure of a good long-term vape experience, is to abandon nicotine use by gradually moving towards nicotine-free products. This can be done with regular vape gear, the only change has to be the shift from regular e-juices towards those that are completely nicotine free. There are plenty of stores that offer these, even on the internet.

And I always advise people that try to make this shift to start investing in proper vape gear, for example from the type of products I recommend on this overview page. Only by using good materials you are able to minimize damage to yourself, others around you and also the environment in which you vape. So do check out the categories listed on that overview for the best vape products. And as always, vape on!