Ceiling Cleaning FAQs

Why are flyspots SO hard to clean from ceilings?
The reason flyspots are so hard to clean from ceilings stems from the way houseflies eat.
A housefly lands on food and vomits on the food,
this vomit is very acidic and breaks down the food. It then sucks up the vomit and broken down food, (flyfacts) so when it poos this is very acidic as well, when this sits on ceiling paint for a while it actually burns into the paint. When you try to wipe the fly poo off the surface, unless it is very recent it will not budge.

Why do I get unsightly rub marks on my ceiling when I clean off fly poo?
As mentioned before (above) fly poo, being acidic, burns into the paint, so when you use more vigorous rubbing and/or a harsher cleaner or textured cloth you will actually rub through the top layer of typical matte ceiling paint leaving shiny rub marks in the surface which are particularly noticeable when the light hits it at low angles (like early mornings)

How can I clean fly poo from my matte ceilings without damaging it?
You can try using hot soapy water applied with a soft sponge but it is a very slow, messy and laborious chore that is exceedingly tiring. The only practical, quick way we know to remove fly poo without damaging the surface is to flush it out with up to 180 degree centigrade steam at 6 to 8 BAR power.

How do I fix the rub marks from my ceiling?
Unfortunately the only way to fix rub marks is to re-paint the ceiling.

Can I simply just paint over all the fly poo?
Well you can but you will probably find that most of the fly poo will actually burn back through the paint you apply because it is acidic unless you clean it off first. There are sealer paints that you can apply first which should stop the fly poo burning through. Even professional painters have trouble with fly poo: paint-talk.com

Would re-painting with a semi-gloss, low sheen or similar wipeable paint be easier to clean and keep looking good?
The answer to this is yes and no. The advantage to painting ceilings in matte ceiling paint is that it doesn’t reflect the light so you do not see all the surface blemishes of the ceiling like gib joins, screw heads and uneven finishes. These and any other surface blemishes tend to show when using any other kind of paint so you lose that perfect ceiling look of matte ceilings.

Yes, you can rub off fly poo without damaging the paint but you can still usually see where you wiped because the moisture dries on the surface leaving a mark. It’s a bit like a car, you can wipe off tar or road dirt with a wet cloth but you will see the wipe marks. The best bet is to wash the whole car and dry the wet off with a chamois or towel. Unfortunately the same holds true with most semi gloss ceilings.

Why do I have so many flyspots on my ceiling?
The average housefly poos every every 5 minutes that is 12 times per hour! That means if there is a housefly in your home as you go to work an 8 hour day and it’s still there when you get back it’s probably distributed over 100 flyspots all over your house! Just think how many there would be if there was a few of them!!
If you leave windows open at night with the lights on that will attract flies. If you leave food out or rubbish bins full and unsealed it will attract flies. If you don’t clean up immediately after your pets it will attract flies.

How do I keep my ceilings looking perfect?
Grease:  Make sure your hood works well, has a clean filter and vents to the outside.

Mould:  Ensure attic has adequate insulation, bathrooms have an efficient extractor fan and that you have good air movement through the house.

Fly poo:  Letting no flies into your house is the best bet. Which means either keeping all doors and windows shut and using a heat pump/air conditioner, if you like lots of fresh air, install flyscreens on the windows you open the most. Some people use automatic insect sprays but they do not kill the flies immediately.  Since flies poo about every 5 minutes that can result in a lot of fly poo on the ceiling before they die and lie rotting on your window sills!
If, despite your best efforts, you still have dirty ceilings don’t be tempted to clean them yourself and damage the paint get them professionally cleaned and save yourself a costly re-paint.

 We have yellow sticky stains where our automatic fly spray has been hitting the ceiling – Can you get rid of that?

Unfortunately the chemicals in those fly sprays stain on contact and are so strong that they burn into the paint and cannot be removed by ANY method. It is a pet peeve of mine that the manufacturers do not warn consumers that they are SO damaging to paint. You cannot even paint over them because it bleeds right through – However a painter friend says that if you sealcoat over it with Zinseer Shellac based primer before painting it will stop it bleeding through. If you want to use the automatic insect sprays please make sure that the spray is not facing a wall or ceiling. In my opinion fly screens to cover windows or doors that you often open for ventillation is far more preferable to using toxic chemicals in the home anyway because the sprays do not kill them immediately but a housefly, on average does it’s “business” on average every 5 minutes so if an automatic fly-spray takes an hour to kill a fly by then it has left 12 flyspots on your ceiling!!  Why not just stop them entering the home in the first place?

Do you use chemicals or bleach on the ceiling?

On 95% of the ceilings we clean we use NO chemicals at all. We  use de-ionized water superheated to over 160 degrees centigrade at up to 10 BAR power through our unique ceiling mops. On the 5% of extremely soiled ceilings we may pre-spray with a mild detergent supplied by Ecostore:

http://www.ecostore.co.nz/products/multi-purpose-cleaner

 

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  5. You will most likely not have to paint and so save many hundreds of dollars!
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