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How to get rid of that hideous water stain on the ceiling and beautify your home

Try this quick stain removal method before jumping into a renovation

When you’ve worked hard to breathe life into your home by washing the walls and decorating your space perfectly, plumbing leaks or flooding are especially frustrating. Not only does water damage drywall, but it also leaves behind nasty stains on your ceiling, creating an eyesore in your otherwise pristine room. The good news? You may not have to replace the drywall or paint your ceiling to get rid of that water stain. This easy stain removal method can clean up your space without breaking the bank.




1 hour

What You Need

  • Misting spray bottle

  • Bleach

  • Water

  • Furniture/wall coverings

Water stain on the ceiling

Why are there water stains on my ceiling?

Stains can emerge due to flood damage, pipe leaks, or another source of moisture. The first step in removing this eyesore is to locate the source of the water and repair it. Otherwise, trying to repair the surface without fixing the underlying condition will leave you fixing the spot over and over again.

Once the leak is identified and remedied, you can move on to eliminating the stain.

Woman in striped shirt painting ceiling with an extended roller

Can you just paint over water damage?

Painting over a water stain can address the problem, but it only works after the source of the moisture is addressed. However, this method will cost more time and money than other more efficient strategies. If you don’t have the exact paint to the match ceiling, it will be difficult to find something that fits the precise color and texture of the pre-existing paint. You’d likely have to paint the entire ceiling again to achieve a seamless finish.

Woman cleaning while holding a spray bottle

How do I get water stains off my ceiling?

Want to remove those water stains without spending too much time and money? All you need is bleach, water, and a spray bottle.

Step 1: Bleach is a powerful chemical that can damage your belongings as well as your skin and lungs. Before mixing and spraying the bleach solution, take some precautions by covering furniture and wall art in the room. Be sure to wear clothes you’re OK with getting bleach on as well as protective gloves and even a mask.

Step 2: Fill a misting spray bottle with one part bleach and two parts tap water.

Step 3: Spray a light mist of the solution onto the stain and let it sit for about a minute.

Step 4: Spray the stain again and then let the whole treatment sit for up to 24 hours.

Step 5: If the stain is still visible after the waiting period, repeat the treatment for multiple days until the stain is gone.

Step 6: After cleaning, let the room air out for 24 hours before lounging in the space.

White ceiling with gray walls and white trim

Will you have to paint after bleaching a water stain?

If your ceiling is white, there’s a good chance you won’t have to repaint it after treating the stain with bleach. If, however, your ceiling is off-white, cream, or any other color, the bleach will lighten the paint in that area. If that’s the case, see if you have any matching paint you can use to cover the lightened area. Otherwise, you may need to repaint the entire ceiling.

Person with putty knife patching drywall

When should you avoid using bleach to eliminate a water stain on ceiling?

While the bleach method is effective at removing water stains, there are instances in which bleach will further the damage. If the moisture has caused the paint to peel or the drywall to crumble, the chemical may corrode the materials further. In these instances, you’ll likely need to repair the drywall and repaint it.

When your living space is renovated and decorated to your heart’s content, water damage can throw a big wrench in your plans for rest and relaxation. Aside from any costs related to repairing the moisture leak, you’re also left with ugly stains that distract from an otherwise beautiful home. Before completing a full renovation of your wall or ceiling, try this quick and easy method to save your ceiling as well as your time and money.

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