How To Remove Tobacco Stains From Hands

People don’t realize the effect smoking can have on the skin – including skin such as on your hands. Over time, smoking can leave unpleasant, yellow stains on your fingers and nails.

In this article, I’ll show you to remove tobacco from your hands so they can look fresh and clean again.

Steps to remove tobacco stains from your skin

steps to remove tobacco stains from your skin

Removing tobacco stains from your hands or other areas of your skin is surprisingly simple. One method is to brush toothpaste onto the stained area for a few minutes.

Then, rinse with warm water. Once rinsed, use half a lemon and rub this against the stained area for 5 to 10 minutes. You can also use a potato and rub this into the stained skin too.

There is a range of ways to remove this discoloration from your hands. Here are a few more that you can try:

Bleach and water solution

Using a diluted solution of bleach and water can be an effective way to eliminate yellowish stains left by tobacco. To do this, simply:

  1. Mix 1 part bleach with 4 parts water
  2. Grab nail brush and soak it in the solution
  3. After a few minutes, apply this brush to the stained area of your hands or fingers
  4. Leave this in place for 4 to 5 minutes and then rinse thoroughly
  5. Wash your hands with warm water and soap
  6. Once clean, apply hand cream or moisturizer to your hands so they do not become dry and cracked

Use a nail file

You can actually sand away some of the tobacco stains left on your fingers. However, this must be done with caution as too much pressure can cause an injury.

Apply gentle pressure to the hand and rub the rough part of the nail file across the stained portion of your hand. This may remove a great deal of the stains. Repeat if needed.


Okay, seeing bleach and thinking of putting it on your hands may seem a bit scary for you. As long as it’s diluted, you are safe. However, if bleach is too harsh for your liking, simply grab a tube of toothpaste from your bathroom. Any standard toothpaste will help remove the tobacco stains from your hands.

Just brush the toothpaste onto your fingers and scrub this into the stained skin for a few minutes. Afterward, rinse thoroughly with warm water. The stain should have faded or disappeared and your hands will smell fresh!

A good old potato

Did you know that in the past, people used to rub potatoes into their heads to reduce the pain from migraines? People believed that as the potato turned black this was the headache leaving the body.

Thanks to modern science, we don’t rub potatoes into our heads anymore. However, you can rub a potato into your skin to effectively remove tobacco stains.

All you need to do is peel a potato and rub it onto the stained area for only a few minutes. Once this time has passed, rinse thoroughly with warm water and soap. Just do this in private so no one sees you!

Lemon juice

As with potatoes, using lemon juice is another natural method for removing nasty nicotine stains from your hands.

To do so, simply:

  1. Cut a fresh lemon in half
  2. Grab one half and place it on top of the stained area of the skin
  3. Rub this lemon until the area is entirely covered with lemon juice
  4. Leave the lemon in place for 5 to 10 minutes
  5. Remove the lemon juice and rinse thoroughly with warm water

A dissolved aspirin tablet

You probably have an aspirin tablet in your medicine cabinet already. As well as nursing aches and pains, these little pills can help remove yellow stains from your skin.

Follow these steps:

  1. Dissolve the aspirin tablet in hot water
  2. Wait for the water to cool down
  3. Once the water is cool enough, simply place your fingers inside the water
  4. Let your fingers soak for a few minutes (4 to 5 minutes)
  5. Remove your fingers and wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water

You can also create a paste from the aspirin tablet by mixing it with a few drops of water. You can then scrub this paste into your stained areas and leave it to sit for approximately 15 minutes. Afterward, rinse the paste off and wash your hands thoroughly with warm, soapy water.

Removing tobacco stains from nails

removing tobacco stains from nails

As well as the skin on your hands, your nails can also take a battering from years of smoking. Just as nicotine and tar discolor teeth, it can discolor all of your nails, especially the fingernails with which you hold the cigarette most often.

Here are some remedies to remove these pesky stains from your nails.

Soak in hydrogen peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide has certain whitening properties that can abolish tobacco stains. To use hydrogen peroxide, you need to follow these steps:

  1. Combine a solution with a mixture of 3 to 4 tablespoons of 3% hydrogen peroxide with half a cup of water
  2. Place your nails into the solution and leave them to soak for 10 to 15 minutes
  3. Grab a toothbrush (not your partners) and brush away any leftover stains on your nails
  4. Rinse with warm, soapy water


Mouthwash? Yes! Mouthwash is mighty effective at removing yellow tobacco stains from fingernails. Using an alcohol-based mouthwash, you need to:

  1. Pour the mouthwash into a small bowl
  2. Dip your fingernails into the wash and lave soak for up to 30 minutes
  3. Scrub your nails lightly with a nail brush and rinse thoroughly with warm water

Apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar contains acetic and malic acids. These are very helpful in minimizing and getting rid of discoloration in your nails.

  1. Prepare a solution by mixing half a cup of lukewarm water with half a cup of apple cider vinegar
  2. Soak your nails for up to 20 minutes
  3. Rinse your fingernails thoroughly and dry with a towel

Orange peel

Oranges are super fruits. They contain high levels of vitamin C which is not only excellent for our health but can help eliminate tough tobacco stains on your fingernails.

  1. Peel an orange
  2. Rub the inner section of the peel against the stained nails for 5 to 10 minutes
  3. Allow the citrus fruit to remove the stains
  4. Rinse your hands with warm, soapy water

What causes tobacco stains on your skin?

what causes tobacco stains on your skin?

Nobody wants tobacco stains. They look dirty and the faded yellow color is not appealing to any eye. But, what causes this discoloration?

The stains are caused by the tar content found inside cigarettes. It occurs when people smoke down to the “butt” of the cigarette (the very end before you reach the colored section).

Nicotine then stains the hands but not all heavy smokers suffer from this. However, just because a smoker can not see the effects on the outside, it doesn’t mean there are no detrimental effects on their insides.

While discoloration can be eliminated from your skin, long-term health effects may not be so easy to recover from.

How to prevent tobacco stains on the hands

how to prevent tobacco stains on the hands

There are some preventative measures to stop any stains from forming on your hands and fingers.

  • Wear gloves – When you smoke, wear gloves to protect your skin from tar and nicotine. We suggest wearing vinyl or leather gloves for the best protection as plain knitted winter gloves can still let some smoke inside.
  • Apply a thick lotion to your hands – Before you smoke, do this to form a barrier between your fingers and the smoke particles.
  • Wash your hands after smoking – Hygiene is critical at all times, especially when smoking. A cigarette’s odor can stay on your hands and skin for a long time unless you wash it off. Without regular basic hygiene, nicotine has a higher chance of staining your skin.