My son let a candle burn down to the smoking point in his room with the ceiling fan on that sprayed black soot all over the room. It is on the walls, drapes, lamp shades and worst of all the popcorn ceiling! How do I cleaning the ceiling without spreading it all over?
By Liz from Maitland, FL
Dust around the fans and ceiling vents with a dry paint brush or feather duster. Use a vacuum cleaner with a soft brush attachment to carefully clean the larger areas. Never scrub with a cloth as this can break free bits of the plaster.
It is a labor intensive job, but easily accomplished when done as outlined above. Once or twice a year should keep them dust and cobweb free, I didn't do it more often than that, life's too short!
If your ceilings are discolored from cooking or cigarette smoke, they can be painted. One coat of Kilz brand primer paint will insure that stains don't bleed through. Allow to dry completely before applying a coat of white ceiling paint. It will make a wonderful difference in the look and smell of the house.
Using drop cloths and a sprayer will stop the plaster from moving around when it's wet. If you have to use a brush or thick roller, make sure that the ceiling dries completely between coats. It is very important that the plaster not be disturbed when it softens!
Many popcorn ceilings have asbestos in them. It is not good to disturb them at all. It is recommended that you have a small piece of the ceiling tested for asbestos befoe painting, cleaning etc.
From Wikipedia:Some popcorn ceiling textures were created using a paper based or Styrofoam product to create the texture, rather than asbestos. Nevertheless, when asbestos was banned in ceiling treatments in 1977, popcorn ceilings fell out of favor. Fashions changed to more natural and handmade finishes. Popcorn ceilings become unattractive when they get dirty, are easily damaged, and are hard to clean, repaint, or repair. They can be easily, if messily, removed by spraying them with water to soften them up, and scraping the material off with a large scraping trowel or putty knife.  If they may have been applied before the ban on asbestos, their removal should only be done by a licensed professional or after testing to rule out asbestos contamination.
The very best way to clean a sooted/cigarette smoke stained popcorn ceiling is to buy 3 or 6% hydrogen peroxide, put in a spray bottle and spray the ceiling, the peroxide oxidizes the yellow stain and/or soot stain which will disappear when the ceiling dries.
A strong word of caution: You must protect your eyes while doing this. Using safety goggles is a must. Also protect any wood surfaces and wipe down any walls that are spattered with a damp cloth.
Spectrum cleaner is the only know product on the market that will make your ceilings sparkle again. However, I have used straight H2O2 and the ceilings came out fine.
Definitely have to agree with Kathleen. Best run on a stron , non- particle falling ceiling, is a good vacuum cleaner with a soft brush...just for starters. Painting? There are so many incredible paints out there for a price but less spendy than hiring on (if you have the energy to do it).
And considering maybe less one room but many and several, then it might be a good idea to check your local university/college students job requests...or call the university/college. Get a website, post within the university (etc) or simply call the the student employment bank and tell them what you require and leave your telephone number and other specs.
You'd be surprised at the return calls you get from just one learning institute. You can negotiate with each individual that calls you. Simple and easy. (Learn their needs and know your negotiating skills). While you are working on other things (like making them a real good home-cooked meal and helping the promise of a good future). You will also have the sincere and devoted will of great kids who will come back for you and pretty much help you with anything.
As Kathleen mentioned, and quite astutely, there are many ways to DIY it. Yet life does throw us curves and when it does. There's nothing like helping out a student in need. Most of us have had a financial walk-through in our U or collegiate days. Now it's rough stuff money-wise for these up and coming young folk, and it sure feels good to help out on that measure.
It's just a simple opinion on an alternative to DYI-ing it alone, and I know, because I hired these great workers before and worked along side them...'till they were so interested in their work because home-meals counted for a lot.
A total win-win: they got paid and even brought home-meals back to the dorm for themselves and their special buddies. That's my alternative when the DIY get's out of hand. An a great alternative for our future mind's and they truly are the best. Just don't let any one of them take on your washing...because you're hubby will be wearing 'pink' underwear for a time and a bit! :)! They do get rather ambitious at trying to help especially when you may be out of the house! Hey, Just one G'ma's opinion and I stickin' to it because, as a widow now, sure is great to help the youngsters out in tough times!
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