Cleaning Popcorn Ceilings

by Lee Wyatt
(last updated December 5, 2016)

Popcorn style ceilings became exceedingly popular during the 1970's and were put into homes across the country. Over time the popularity of these types of ceilings waned, and as such were deemed to no longer be all that fashionable. That doesn't change the fact, however, that these types of ceilings need to be cleaned, and cleaning them can be a challenge. Here are some ideas for how to make your popcorn ceiling look like new. (Well, closer to new than it looks now.)

  1. Check the ceiling. Unfortunately, not all popcorn ceilings are made the same. This means that you will need to actually inspect the ceiling (preferably using a ladder or some type of scaffolding to reach it) to see if it is sanded paint or Styrofoam pellets. If it is the latter, then the pellets will simply break off when you try to clean it, so have a professional do the cleaning for you. For those who have a true popcorn ceiling, you can proceed with cleaning the ceiling yourself.
  2. Use the vacuum. Use the soft-bristled attachment of your vacuum cleaner as well as the long-reach attachment and begin working on the ceiling. Often by simply vacuuming the ceiling you can end up rendering it nice and clean. However, for the particularly set-in dirt you will need to use a cleaning solution or other cleaning tools to get the job done properly. Some of the best options that you can use are a soft, damp sponge, and a 50/50 water and white vinegar cleaning solution.
  3. Start in one corner. Choose one corner of the room, and set up your ladder or scaffolding that will allow you to reach the ceiling. Place the sponge (or washcloth) into the cleaning solution, and then wring out the sponge or washcloth as much as possible. Remember, you will want to have the sponge damp, but not excessively wet. Gently scrub at the ceiling, not using very much pressure, and get the ceiling clean.
  4. Continue to the opposite corner. Periodically you will have to rinse out the sponge to "refresh" the cleaning solution that is in it. In addition, you will also need to regularly move your ladder or scaffolding so that you can reach the ceiling with relative ease. Be prepared to spend a bit of time going up and down ladders while you do this. Continue cleaning, going from one corner to the other (as well as side to side) until you finish cleaning the ceiling.
  5. Dry and inspect. Since even a damp cloth can have great effect on a popcorn ceiling, you will need to allow the ceiling to completely dry before you do any additional touch ups. Simply wait about an hour or two, and the ceiling should be dry. When it is, carefully inspect the ceiling for any further signs of dirt.
  6. Repeat as necessary. If you find any further signs of dirt, repeat steps two through five until you have cleaned the ceiling.

While this method can be very effective at cleaning your popcorn ceilings, you should also be very careful. The reason for this is that if you aren't careful you can easily damage the ceiling. In fact, while it is possible to clean popcorn ceilings, it may be a better idea to simply remove them and replace them with something else. However, that is the subject of a different article.

Author Bio

Lee Wyatt

Contributor of numerous Tips.Net articles, Lee Wyatt is quickly becoming a regular "Jack of all trades." He is currently an independent contractor specializing in writing and editing. Contact him today for all of your writing and editing needs! Click here to contact. ...

MORE FROM LEE

Is an Extended Warranty Worth It?

Whenever someone purchases a new or used vehicle, the salesperson will typically ask if you want an extended warranty. ...

Discover More

How to Organize

Regardless of what you need to organize, there are some basic principles that will stay the same. If you understand what ...

Discover More

When Is Personal Bankruptcy a Good Thing?

For many people bankruptcy is becoming a more and more popular choice in handling their debts. But when is personal ...

Discover More

Tough Tools for Tough Cleaning Jobs O-Cel-O sponges and Scotch Brite scrubbers are truly a fashion-meets-function success story. The highly absorbent and durable sponges in this handy six-pack make quick work of tough cleaning problems in any kitchen, bathroom, or garage. Check out Scotch-Brite Heavy Duty Scrub Sponges today!

More Cleaning Tips

Cleaning Oil Off of Tiles

Considering how many homes have tile some where in the house, it only makes sense that it is going to get dirty ...

Discover More

How to Recover from an Egging

Have you been the victim of a Halloween prank gone wrong? You have been able to clean a majority of mess that was left ...

Discover More

Removing Powder from Grout

Tile is perhaps one of the most commonly used surfaces in both the bathroom and kitchen today. Since it is so common, it ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in Cleaning Tips from Tips.Net. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is six more than 6?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in Cleaning Tips from Tips.Net. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.