Most of our attention is on surfaces or items at eye level or lower, such as on tables, or the flooring in your home. But when your eyes go up, you might start to notice something frightful… damaged ceiling tiles, and causing you to think “Oh, no, it’s mold!”
It’s probably not. Most likely what you are seeing are damaged ceiling tiles from some type of water leak or moisture intrusion.
Ceiling tiles are usually made from plants, minerals, gypsum, clay, other natural materials, so are very absorbent and show stains easily. Some are made from synthetic products and might not have as many stains from water leaks or moisture intrusion.
Here are a few steps you can take to restore those damaged ceiling tiles. But remember that replacement might be a final option.
Take pictures of your ceiling first, just to avoid the frustration of fitting them back, especially if some tiles are of different sizes. Vacuum your tiles, removing as much dirt and debris you can, which will be concentrated on the topside of them.
You have to be careful now. Over wetting is an issue. In a typical spray bottle, use warm water and a few drops of dish detergent. Mist the tiles until they are damp and use white cloths to clean the surfaces. Use more detergent on heavier deposits of soil. Allow the tiles to dry.
Set the tiles out that still have stains. What you are going to do now is bleach away those stains. Don’t use chlorine bleach. Get some household hydrogen peroxide, easily found at a grocery store or pharmacy. Hydrogen peroxide is a safe bleach that will slowly remove stains. Mist the peroxide, using it straight (no dilution) over the stained areas of the tiles, and with a soft brush, work the solution into the tiles. The remaining stains often disappear in a few hours. If you see some progress, repeat the process.
Besides replacement, painting your tiles is an option, but you may lose some acoustical ability, since some tiles are designed to absorb sound. It’s a decision you will have to make.
And, of course, for any restoration work, such as cleaning of items that are damaged by water intrusion, call your favorite restoration company. After all, it pays to call a pro!