Best Ways to Clean Your Popcorn Ceilings
If you own an older home, you may have a popcorn ceiling, as these were very popular from the 1950s through the early 1980s. Popcorn ceilings were an inexpensive way to finish ceilings and many structures still have them. But, if you have a popcorn ceiling, you may notice that it doesn’t sparkle as it once did or as you want it to. At Osborne Painting, we routinely remove popcorn ceilings for folks who want to switch to a smooth ceiling surface. But, if you aren’t ready to replace your ceiling, why not have it cleaned instead? If your popcorn ceiling is looking dingy, here are some tips on cleaning it.
What Is a Popcorn Ceiling?
Sometimes popcorn ceilings are called stipple ceilings, stucco ceilings, or acoustic ceilings. This type of ceiling has a bumpy, textured surface that was created by spraying a stucco mixture on it. The lumps are usually made of vermiculite, a type of ground mineral, or polystyrene. Popcorn ceilings were popular for several reasons. They were inexpensive to install, they hid flaws, and they deaden sound. It’s also important to note that textured ceilings installed prior to 1979 often contained asbestos. If you think your ceiling was installed during that time, have an expert test for asbestos before you begin to clean it.
What Kind of Dirt is On My Popcorn Ceiling?
All kinds of dirt and stains can be on your popcorn ceiling. Over the years, stuff in the air sticks to the bumps and ridges that are characteristic of the popcorn ceiling. Some of the stains and dirt you may find on your ceiling include:
- Kitchen grease
- Water stains
Tips for Cleaning a Popcorn Ceiling
Tip 1: Cover the Floor and Furniture
Protect floors and furniture with tarps. As you clean the ceiling, dust and dirt will come off and fall down. You don’t want this stuff getting on your valuable floors and furniture.
Tip 2: Use the Vacuum Cleaner or Broom
For the removal of dirt and cobwebs, either the brush attachment on your vacuum cleaner or a broom will get to those. If using the brush attachment on your vacuum cleaner, attach the extension wand, or carefully stand on a ladder or chair, and gently run the brush over the ceiling.
Tip 3: Use the Best Cleaning Solution for the Stain or Dirt
Here is a list of cleaning solutions that are best for specific stains or dirt:
- Ordinary dirt – White vinegar and water
- Water stains – Bleach and water
- Smoke/nicotine – 3% Hydrogen peroxide
- Mold – Fungicidal cleaning spray
- Kitchen grease – Water and dish soap
Tip 4: Use a Spray Bottle and Microfiber Cloth
Put the liquid solution you are using into a spray bottle and dampen a microfiber cloth with the solution. Use the microfiber cloth to dab the ceiling and lift old grease stains. Don’t get the ceiling wet because it will damage the finish and may make the popcorn layer fall down. Also, avoid scrubbing the ceiling. Be sure to wring the cloth out before applying it to the ceiling and dab gently to clean it.
Tip 5: Painting as an Option for Stubborn Stains
You may find that your popcorn ceiling has stains from a variety of sources such as cooking grease, cigarette smoke, or water. Use the list above for the appropriate solution that addresses the specific type of stain. If the stains are stubborn and you aren’t able to remove them, you may want to consider painting. First, you will need to prime the ceiling with an oil primer and then apply two coats of a flat ceiling paint.