How To Clean A Ceiling Before Painting (Tips, Tricks & Mistakes To Avoid)

If you’re looking to paint your entire ceiling, it’s important that you both clean and prepare the brick walls and ceilings surface before painting it.

If you’ve always wondered how to clean walls and ceilings before painting, we’re here to help.  

In this guide, we'll provide you with everything you need to know when it comes to properly cleaning your ceiling before painting it.  

It's essential for you to clean your ceiling before painting it, as paint doesn't stick well on a dirty ceiling.

Painting over a dirty ceiling may also result in the dirt and dust showing through the paint - which isn’t a good look for any home!  

While modern paints will typically bond well to any surface, they will adhere best and last longer on flat surfaces that are both clean and smooth. 

By properly cleaning your ceiling before painting, you will be able to remove any dust or grime that prevents the paint from adhering properly to the ceiling.

It will also give you the opportunity to check for any cracks or holes that you can easily repair with spackle or caulk.  

paint roller

How To Clean a Regular Ceiling Before Painting (Tips For The Best Results)

Cleaning ceilings, ceiling fans, light fixtures, wash walls, baseboards, and anything affixed to all the walls is the most important step in cleaning the ceiling and walls.

To remove thick, stubborn stains on your ceiling, wrap duct tape, with the sticky side out, around a long-handled paint roller.

Here’s the best way to clean a ceiling and entire wall before paint job:  

What You’ll Need 

  • Sponge or cloth
  • Spray bottle
  • Liquid dish detergent
  • Vacuum cleaner 
  • Vinegar or baking soda or dish soap or rubbing alcohol
  • Rubber protective gloves 
  • Step ladder/ stool 
  • Long handle broom
  • Damp paint roller 
  • Damp cloth

How To Do It 

  • 1
    Before you start cleaning your regular ceiling fan, it's important to ensure that you're wearing protective rubber gloves. The gloves will make sure that you are safe from any contamination. If your ceiling is too high, a step ladder or a stool will also help. 
  • 2
    Start by cleaning the dirt and dust in your ceiling. To do so, you can use a vacuum cleaner or simply wipe it down with a cloth. 
  • 3
    After you've cleaned the dirt and dust in your ceiling, go ahead and choose the cleanser that you’d like. The best option is soap and warm water, but you could also mix a little white vinegar or baking soda with warm water or opt for regular commercial cleaners. 
  • 4
    Then, go ahead and place the cleanser in a spray bottle. Simply spray your chosen cleaner on in circular motion before wiping it off with a clean cloth. You could also use a paint roller or a pail and rag to clean the vaulted ceilings. Just keep in mind that you will not be able to paint with the roller after using it to collect dust. 

If you're wondering how to clean flat ceiling paint, the process is pretty much similar to the above. The only difference is to ensure that you’re cleaning dirt and stains from your flat paint walls as quickly as possible. The longer you leave grease stains or soot stains there, the harder it will be to clean.  

Special care should be taken if you want to clean mold off painted ceilings and ceiling stains. Here are our tips:  

  • Combine a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda with soapy water in a spray bottle. 
  • Shake the bottle until it has dissolved before spraying it directly onto the mold. 
  • Then, go ahead and use a scrubbing soft bristled brush attachment or sponge to remove the mold before wiping it off with water. 
  • Finally, spray the cleaning solution onto the moldy area again to remove tough stains before letting it dry. 
How To Clean A Ceiling Before Painting

How To Clean Popcorn Ceiling Before Painting 

As popcorn ceilings are textured ceilings, they're a little harder to clean than a regular ceiling. Unfortunately, these textured ceiling types can also be a magnet for dirt and dust and need to be cleaned at least once a year.  

Here's how you'll go about cleaning it:  

  • 1
    Start by covering all of your furniture with plastic sheets or drop cloths or moving your furniture out of the way. Remember to wear a dust mask and safety glasses when cleaning your popcorn ceiling. 
  • 2
    Then, grab an extendable microfiber duster that can rotate to collect the dust and remove cobwebs. If you have a textured popcorn ceiling that’s relatively rough, try using a feather duster instead. 

If possible, you should definitely look into removing the popcorn ceiling before painting. As quirky as popcorn ceilings can be, they’re difficult to clean and gather dust and dirt easily. 

How To Clean Greasy Kitchen Ceiling Before Painting

If you’re looking to paint your kitchen ceiling, make sure that you’ve cleaned it beforehand.

Your kitchen ceiling can be a breeding ground for smoke, bacteria, and odors. The same splatter that you have on your kitchen countertops could easily get on your kitchen ceiling.  

To clean your kitchen ceiling, you'd want to:  

  • 1
    If you can reach your kitchen ceiling from a chair, use a rag or natural sea sponge to wipe down the section of the ceiling and pencil marks. 
  • 2
    If you are not able to reach your kitchen ceiling, you can look at getting a sponge mop. Make sure that you're wringing out the microfiber mop head as thoroughly as possible. If you don’t have a sponge mop, you can attach a microfiber cloth to your mop with a rubber band instead. 
Stone Coat Epoxy Resin

Cleaning Ceiling Before Painting FAQs

What is the best product to clean ceilings? 

A HEPA filter vacuum with a long extension wand is the best product to clean your ceilings. For DIY cleaning products, you can make your own cleaner by mixing dish soap, vinegar, and water. 

How do you clean a very high ceiling? 

To clean a very high ceiling, get an extra-long telescopic extension for your duster, along with using a step ladder. It's important that your step ladder is stable, and that you're taking the necessary precautions.  

How do you clean a ceiling without leaving marks? 

To clean a ceiling without leaving marks, you need to dust off your walls first. You also want to make sure that the vacuum brush you're using has a soft edge and will not scuff the ceiling. 


If you’re looking to paint your ceiling, it’s important to ensure that you’ve cleaned it beforehand.

You’ll also want to make sure that you’re wearing the necessary protective gear and covering your furniture.