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

Fruit Tree Care

With their beautiful blooms and tasty fruit, it's easy to see how fruit trees are a great addition to any landscape design. ...

Discover More

Installing Wallboard

Learning how to install wallboard can be a huge advantage when remodeling or renovating your home. Installing wallboard, ...

Discover More

Dealing with Leather Stained White Socks

If you like to wear boots, work boots, or even steel toed work boots then you know just how quickly your white socks can ...

Discover More

Tough Cleaning Jobs Require Brawny! Brawny paper towels provide the versatility you need: the strength for demanding jobs and the softness to clean up your child's messy face. This 24-roll pack of pick-a-size sheets can handle just about every cleaning task in your home. Check out Brawny 24-Pack Giant Paper Towels today!

More Cleaning Tips

Removing Stains from Ceiling Tiles

Ceiling stains usually occur in the form of water stains, but smoke, cobwebs, dirt, and bacteria can also stain ceiling ...

Discover More

Cleaning Your Ceiling

Cleaning a ceiling is often overlooked, even when doing deep cleaning in your home. Here's how to quickly and easily clean ...

Discover More

Understanding Upholstery Cleaning Codes

Getting your upholstery clean can often be little difficult for those who have never done it before. One of the best tools ...

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 4 + 1?

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.