How to Remove Stains From a Ceiling

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Ceilings can make a room look larger, taller or wider.
Ceilings can make a room look larger, taller or wider. (Image: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

While ceilings are typically not the first thing you notice about a room, when a ceiling is dirty and stained, it gives the whole room a dingy feel. Ceilings are often neglected because they are difficult to clean and can be easily stained by cooking splatters, smoke and water. Removing ceiling stains requires a few common household items, but cleaning may not remove all the stains from your ceiling. You may need to repaint.

Things You'll Need

  • Dropcloths
  • 5-gallon buckets (2)
  • Chlorine or oxygen bleach
  • Extension hand
  • Paint rollers
  • Cloth
  • Old clothing
  • Painter's tape
  • Stain-blocking primer
  • Plastic paint tray
  • Ceiling paint

Cleaning

Remove items from the room or cover them with dropcloths. When cleaning the ceiling, it is not uncommon for the cleaning solution to drip and land on furniture and carpeting. Using dropcloths will prevent possible damage to the items.

Mix 2 gallons of water and 1 1/2 cups of chlorine bleach together with a wooden spoon. For a safer alternative, replace the chlorine bleach with 1 cup of oxygen bleach.

Attach an extension handle to a clean paint roller. Dip the paint roller in the bleach mixture and roll it on the ceiling as if you were applying paint. Let the mixture sit on the ceiling for 15 minutes. Alternatively, use a ladder to gain access to the ceiling and scrub the stains with a sponge saturated in the mixture.

Wipe the mixture off the ceiling with a clean cloth dampened in cool water. Let the ceiling dry completely. Repeat the process until the stains are no longer visible.

Covering

Wear clothing that can be splattered with paint. Remove items from the room or cover them with dropcloths. Lay dropcloths on the floor to prevent possible damage to items if paint splatters.

Protect trim and moldings with painter’s tape. Painter’s tape provides a small barrier against accidentally rolling or brushing the paint onto windowsills, trim and other areas.

Spray a stain-blocking primer on the ceiling. Available in an aerosol can for easy ceiling application, primers will prevent the stains for bleeding through to the paint. Let the primer dry for several hours before continuing.

Fill a plastic paint tray with ceiling paint. Dip a clean paint roller in the paint and roll it back and forth. Let the excess paint drip off the roller and into the tray. Begin rolling the paint roller over the ceiling back and forth until the ceiling is completely painted. Let the ceiling dry thoroughly before removing dropcloths and returning items to the room.

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