How to Clean A Ceiling Before Painting: A Complete Guide

Painting your ceiling is quite a lot of work, but you should always prepare the surface beforehand to improve the finished product – let’s learn how to clean a ceiling before painting with this guide today.

The secret to cleaning a ceiling before painting is to remove any dust and debris first – after this, a mixture of soap and water can be used to remove any stains and grease. This prepares the surface for paint application, which will improve the final finish of the paint.

Learn how to quickly and easily prepare your ceiling for painting by reading the rest of this article as we guide you through the step by step method.

How To Clean A Ceiling Before Painting: Step By Step

1. Remove Dust And Debris

Removing dust and debris is crucial before you wipe the ceiling down with a cloth.

To do this, take a duster or vacuum and work around the corners of the ceiling towards the middle until all of the dust has been removed.

Take your time with this step, even if the ceiling looks clean it can hide a lot of dust in plain sight

2. Wipe The Cornices (If You Have Any!)

Most houses won’t have cornices – which are essentially baseboards on the ceiling – but if your house does have them, they will need to be wiped down with a damp cloth.

Luckily cornices aren’t anywhere near as dirty as baseboards usually are, but if you notice grease or dirt on them you can clean them with the dish soap solution in the next step to ensure they are clean.

3. Remove Marks And Stains By Cleaning With Dish Soap

One of the easiest ways to get rid of grease or stains on a ceiling is to wipe it down with warm water and dish soap.

To do this, simply mix a few drops of dish soap in a container with warm water and use a dishcloth to apply it to the ceiling. Wipe the entire area working from the outside until you have removed any blemishes.

You can speed this method up by using a sponge instead if you have one.

Consider Using Sugar Soap

Sugar soap is another great option for preparing the ceiling for painting, and no – it doesn’t remove any paint that is currently on the ceiling.

It’s really simple to use, all you need to do is prepare the solution and apply it to the ceiling with a clean cloth and scrub away. Rinse the cloth regularly and then leave the ceiling to dry completely before moving on to the next step.

4. Rinse

Once you’ve cleaned the entire ceiling take another cloth and rinse it through with lukewarm water.

Wipe the ceiling again to get rid of any soap residue that you may have left behind during cleaning and you’re pretty much ready to go, although there is one more step you can consider doing if you are confident.

4. Consider Sanding

Some neglected ceilings can hide years of dirt build-up or even old layers of paint that are uneven.

If the ceiling is untextured, you may want to sand it before preparing it to be painted. This can be done with 100-grit drywall sanding paper and will ensure a smooth application and bonding of the paint.

Don’t forget to wipe the ceiling down afterwards to remove any dust using a damp sponge or cloth.

What Are The Benefits Of Cleaning A Ceiling Before Painting It?

Cleaning the ceiling beforehand can seem like a lot of effort, but it is worthwhile.

A quick glance through the benefits below will help you quickly understand why you should always clean a ceiling before painting it.

Better Finish

The major benefit of cleaning your ceiling before painting it is that the finish will look 100x better.

If you don’t clean the surface, dust and uneven areas will impact the painting process. This can lead to visible streaks, clumps of paint and a poor overall standard.

Preparing the surface beforehand will allow the paint to be applied evenly, meaning it will look much more professional than if you avoid cleaning it.

Saves Money

Sure, cleaning your ceiling beforehand does require a bit of elbow grease and potentially purchasing some more dish soap or TSP, but this actually saves you money overall.

If you don’t clean beforehand, you simply won’t be happy with the result afterwards. In the long run, it will only be a matter of time before you want to repaint the surface, which will require purchasing more paint – hence spending more money overall.

It is better to prepare the wall properly before than to end up painting it two or three times before you are happy with the result.

Painters Will Charge You For Cleaning

If you expect a painter to clean beforehand then you are mistaken.

They are paid to paint, not for cleaning, and if you ask them to clean the ceiling before this will be added as a labor cost. This is another reason why cleaning the ceiling before saves you money, as the cost that they add will exceed the cost of doing it yourself.

Final Thoughts

It is worth learning how to clean a ceiling before painting as it will save you money and improve the final finish of the paint when you’re done.

If you follow the tips in this article you should have no problem getting your ceiling spotless before painting it.