Unfortunately, removing nicotine stains is difficult. Before we talk about removing the stains, I would suggest washing or dry cleaning any garments that you don’t wear on a regular basis and store them in cloth – not plastic – hanging bags. That will help protect them from the nicotine that settles on the fabric and causes yellow streaks and stains.
For already stained clothes, I have some suggestions on what to do.
For cotton and linen clothing
Combine 1 qt. of warm water and 1/2 tsp. of liquid laundry detergent. Soak the clothing in the mixture for 15 minutes before ringing out the excess water. Sponge the stained area with rubbing alcohol until the stain is removed, and launder as normal.
For polyester, rayon, acrylic or nylon clothing
Make a wet spot cleaner by combining one part glycerin, one part white dishwashing detergent and eight parts water in a large jar. Label and keep tightly closed to prevent evaporation.
Dampen the stained area with a sponge, applying gentle strokes beginning at the center of the stain and working outward. Apply a few drops of wet spot cleaner and a few drops of vinegar directly on top of the stain. Cover the stain with a cotton pad or white cloth and allow the pad to set, picking up the stain. Keep the stain moist until it disappears, then flush the area with water and wash as normal.
However, if you have already tried to remove the stains and then dried the clothing in a dryer, the stains may be permanently set. But, I would give these tips a try before tossing the clothes.
For any washable fabric that you need to whiten after treating for the stains, mix a solution of oxygen-based bleach (OxiClean, Clorox 2, Country Save Bleach, Purex 2 Color Safe Bleach) and cool water. Follow the package directions as to how much product per gallon of water. Completely submerge the garment and allow it to soak for at least eight hours. Check the color. If it is white enough, wash as usual. If it remains yellow, mix a fresh solution and repeat. It may take several soakings to brighten it completely.
If the garment is dry clean only, point out and identify the stain to your professional cleaner. If you are using a home dry cleaning kit, be sure to treat the stain with the provided stain remover before putting the garment in the dryer bag.
Specific questions? Just ask here.