How to Clean Water Damage to Ceilings

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Not only are the dark stains of water damage on your ceiling atrocious to look at, they can also be considerably dangerous, creating breeding grounds for mold that can harm your family and deteriorate your home. Water damage can result from a number of unfortunate incidents, including pipe leaks and flooding. Once you stop the water, get rid of the water damage to make your home safe and presentable again.

Things You'll Need

  • Fans
  • Dehumidifier
  • Sponge
  • Bleach
  • Sealer
  • Ventilate the room that has the water damage occurred. Proper air flow into the room will help the ceiling dry and will also work to prevent mold buildup. Open windows and doors and install fans in the openings to bring in fresh air. Run exhaust fans, such as those in your bathroom and above your stove, to keep air flowing in the area.

  • Run at least one dehumidifier in the room. These machines, which you simply plug in and activate, work to draw excess moisture out of the air. This will help the ceiling dry quicker.

  • Run a dry sponge along the ceiling to help draw out the water. Squeeze out the sponge or replace it with a clean one as necessary while you work. Continue until the sponge removes no more water.

  • Remove ceiling tiles or panels, or inspect the flat ceiling surface to determine the extent of the damage. If necessary, discard tiles or panels that are completely soaked through or have already developed mold.

  • Clean the surface with a soft rag or sponge lightly dampened in a mixture of ¼ cup bleach in a quart of water. Use as little solution as possible so that you do not saturate the surface again. The bleach will help to kill mold spores.

  • Replace the sections of the ceiling you removed, if necessary. When you have a full ceiling again, paint the surface with a sealer designed for tile, wallboard or your specific ceiling surface. Some sealers include paint that will cover any remaining stains, or you can simply coat the ceiling in a clear protective coating. The sealer will prevent future water stains, and will also stop any remaining mold spores from penetrating the ceiling and spreading through your home.

Tips & Warnings

  • If ceiling tiles or board are too soaked through, you will have to replace them. If you are unsure how to handle the damage or how to go about replacing anything that was ruined, consult a professional and a hardware or home improvement store, or a professional contractor.
  • If you have electrical components in your ceiling, contact a professional electrician before attempting any cleanup or repair. Wet electrical components will cause electric shock if not handled properly.
  • Bleach will discolor many surfaces, including some ceiling tiles. Use with care, and spot test the cleaning solution in an inconspicuous area of the ceiling first to make sure it will not damage the surface.

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