Fix-it-yourself: Ceiling water stains

Whether you’re a renter or a homeowner, there are few home maintenance issues more distressing than ceiling water stains. These brown rings are awful to look and incredibly stubborn. Worst of of all, they have a nasty habit of cropping up again and again regardless of how many times your paint over them.

Fortunately, there is a simple way to stop the stain from spreading and ruining your ceiling, and all it requires are a few simple cleaning supplies. Here’s how to stop a ceiling stain in its tracks.

What you’ll need

  • Water
  • Bleach
  • Spray bottle
  • Mold or mildew remover
  • Goggles to protect your eyes
  • Gloves to protect your hands
  • Plastic sheeting
  • A step ladder if you have high ceilings

What to do

1) Before you do anything about the stain, make sure you find and fix the source of the leak. Unless you fix that leak the stain will keep on appearing so make sure you get it sorted first!


2) Once you’ve dealt with the leak — or hired someone to deal with it — place some plastic sheeting on the floor underneath the stain.

3) Be sure to wear some eye protection and clothing that you don’t mind getting damaged.

4) Combine one parts bleach with nine parts water in a spray bottle

Ceiling-spray bottle.jpg

5) Get as close to the stain as possible and spray it with the bleach solution.

6) Depending on the size and color of the stain you may want to apply a few coats of the bleach solution.

7) Once you’ve applied a few coats of the solution, leave the stain.

8) After a few days the stain should be gone. If it’s still persisting, repeat the process a few more times. After a few applications the stain should disappear.

9) If the stain is proving particularly stubborn swap out the bleach solution for some mold and mildew remover.

And that’s all there is to it. If everything went according to plan you just saved yourself the effort of repainting your ceiling.

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