How to Clean Ceilings - dummies

By Gill Chilton

In cleaning a ceiling, start by taking your mop or sponge right around the perimeter, going tight into the corners where the ceiling is likely to be dirtiest. Wring out your mop or sponge, dip it into your cleaning bucket, wring again, then work across your ceiling in quarters, going backwards and forwards in lines in each section.

If your ceiling is such a height that you need to stand on some steps, you may find it easier to imagine you’re tackling a chessboard of small squares. Avoid long mop strokes that could cause you to overreach and overbalance.

To wash a wall, start at the top of the wall and work your way down. That way, you can wipe away drips that run away from you.

You should first wash the top along the whole length of the room – this is the tiring, stretching bit. Next, divide the wall into manageable vertical sections. Then, for each section, do the skirting board (baseboard), and a few centimetres (inches) of wall directly above it, as this is dirtier and takes longer to get clean.

Next, look for any particular stain problems and marks on the wall, and tackle them – around the light switches may be especially grimy. If necessary, spot clean these with a drop of neat multi-purpose cleaner on your sponge; look in the Appendix for how to tackle any identifiable stain.

Then, it’s on to the easy bit that you can whip through – the middle section of the wall. Work along in easy up-and-down sweeps, overlapping slightly with the top and bottom sections that you already washed.

Repeated washing down in dirt hot spots like the hall and lounge (living room) can wear away the top layer of emulsion paint, making it appear dull. So be prepared to repaint after a handful of washes.

Only cleaning enthusiasts would choose to put in a ceiling that’s full of dirt-accommodating grooves, which is exactly what artex is. Unfortunately, adding water only grinds in the dirt. The best way to clean artex is with gentle suction. Use the soft brush attachment on your vacuum that sweeps as it sucks to gently tease dirt away.

If the ceiling is really appalling and you have no choice but to use water, keep it as delicate as you can. Use plain warm water – no detergent – and a soft sponge, well wrung out. To avoid mould take extra steps to dry the ceiling quickly, such as using an electric fan-heater, turning up the heat and directing the fan at the ceiling.