Removing small water stain from ceiling

brian7972riJune 7, 2006

I did a search on "stain" and "ceiling" with no results; hence the question.

We have 3 or 4 small water stains on our swirl plaster ceiling due to heavy rains (and a leak that I located and repaired). Any ideas on how to remove these stains (aside from repainting - the room is 22' x 22' cathedral ceiling)...



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I don't know of a way to remove the stains, someone else might. If it were me, I would use Kilz on the spots and then paint just the affected areas. If you get a good match on the paint, with the swirl ceiling, the touched up areas should not show. I did this on a flat ceiling (no swirls, just drywall) and you could not tell where the touch up paint was.


    Bookmark   June 7, 2006 at 2:22PM
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Thanks, Todd. I've done a fair amount of researching and the consenus is that the only way to get rid of them is to cover them up with Kilz or something similar. I'm going to let the spots dry and give it a shot. Thankfully the areas are near the corner that's least noticed in the room.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2006 at 3:19PM
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My best trick is if the ceiling was white or whitish at one point, after using kilz, mix your white paint with some strong boiled tea. The tea helps add that "dinge" that tends to creep in years after painting bright white. If you can get the color close enough, feather out to help it blend in even more. This generally works for me.... but not always.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2006 at 8:43PM
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I had success with removing several small brown water stains from my living room ceiling by dabbing bleach on the affected areas with a sponge until the stains disappeared. It may take several applications. Be sure to cover anything that could be damaged with plastic and wear rubber gloves.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2006 at 9:28PM
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Thanks all - I found a product at Lowe's near the Kilz that comes in a spray can with an upright nozzle. It's specifically designed to spray water stains on textured ceilings (sorry, can is at home - can't remember the name, but it's obvious if you go where the Kilz is). It took me longer to tape off the area than to actually do the spraying. It came out fantastic (it has a stain blocker, too). I even think the white color is muted a bit so it doesn't look obvious. I was very pleased with the results...

    Bookmark   June 11, 2006 at 6:58AM
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I have fixed the water leak problem but need to remove the water stain. My ceiling is a "small popcorn" texture, so the color (white) and texture must be worked with. I've tried bleach to remove the stain and that works but the texture also rubs away. The stain blocker may cover it too but I still must match the color on the small areas to avoid repainting the entire ceiling! Any ideas? I may to eventually repaint the entire ceiling to have a quality appearance.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2009 at 12:37PM
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I found a product similar to the one mentioned by brian7972ri above. On the Home Depot site I searched for Kilz and there is a product called Kilz Upshot. It is a spray can with a vertical nozzle. It sprays a stain sealer on the ceiling. It says it's fast drying so you can paint within a half hour after using it. I'm going to try and locate some and give it a try. It lists the price at $4.98 a can.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2009 at 11:45AM
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I used ordinary Kilz on a textured ceiling with a brush but dabbed it on, with a vertical motion. No damage and it sealed it well. I then sprayed the ceiling with an airless sprayer. Looks fantastic.

Take a tip from me: Do all your ceilings before you move in, if you, like me just bought the place. Lots less masking. Then paint your walls, THEN move in, wish I'd followed my own advice ;)

    Bookmark   February 20, 2009 at 11:45AM
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I had a ceiling stain from a roof leak. I repaired the roof and sprayed the dry stain spot with Tilex, which contains bleach. It completely removed the stain. Be sure and cover any carpet or furniture to protect from over spray. This was a cheap and easy fix.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2010 at 10:21AM
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If you apply anything to a 'popcorn' ceiling (paint or bleach), I prefer using a 1" nap roller pad. It won't nock the texture off and reduces the chance of splatter. Painting over semi wet paint will pull texture off if you're not careful. Get enough paint in and on your pad and roll the excess off. Good luck.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2011 at 11:09AM
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thanks for the tips. i had a leak from the apartment above me and it left terrible stains on the ceiling in my bathroom. cant wait until i have my own house!

    Bookmark   May 22, 2011 at 2:07PM
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Simply mix bleach, in a spray bottle, 3 parts of water to one part bleach. Spray the affected area and allow to dry. Repeat until stain is gone.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2011 at 10:37PM
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I I tried detergent and then I tried bleach and neither of these worked. Then I used the Kilz Upshot as previously suggested. It worked perfect. Just followed the directions and after painting over the area u cannot tell there was a stain.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 8:29PM
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Bleach can only remove some stains.

It will not touch others.

The bigger problem is that you do not know until you try, and it can affect paint colors also.

That leaves you with a white splotch to then touch up.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 3:56PM
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I have read your post.First and most important step is to fix the source of the stain.Before you remove the stain, you will have to find what is causing the stain. usually, the cause is a water leak or the collection of water on your roof.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2013 at 5:45AM
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