9 Genius Hacks To Remove Stains From Your Walls And Ceilings

Cleaning your ceilings can be a pain with the lack of easy access, but when you have serious stains in these hard-to-reach locations, it can feel impossible to get the ceilings looking good again. It doesn't all have to be elbow grease and hours of scrubbing, though; cleaning your ceilings and removing stains can be made relatively easy with a few clever hacks. 

To start off, there are a few ways to easily clean walls and ceilings. Always start by dusting first, and for ceilings, put something down so that nothing drips onto your floors while you're cleaning. Dusters and Swiffer mops are great for high-reach cleaning, and cleaning wipes, vinegar, baking soda, and Magic Erasers come highly recommended as a starting point for stain busting. If the basics fail on the tough stains, though, don't despair. There are several ways to get out different types of stains and mars on your ceilings without hiring a professional or going at it with a new coat of paint.

Use enzyme detergent to remove mildew

If you have mildew on your walls or ceilings, particularly in places like the bathroom, it's likely that you've tried all kinds of different cleaners to get rid of it. If you're not having success, there's one surprising hack that may just help you; enzyme laundry detergent. You can blot the mildew stains with the detergent before rinsing it with clean water. It is important to note that not all laundry detergent is enzyme detergent, with the ability to target stains such as mildew. Check the label and instructions on your detergent before using it on the wall, and if there's any doubt in your mind as to whether or not it's safe to use on a wall or ceiling, do a small test patch first.

The reason that enzyme cleaners work well on mildew is that they go after the root of the problem and cut the mildew off from its food source –usually body oils and soap scum. This should not only help get rid of mildew stains but prevent new growth as well. 

Use toothpaste to clean up crayon

Toothpaste is notorious for having tons of DIY uses, but you may not have known that getting crayon off of your walls is one of them. It is important to note that you should not use gel toothpaste for this and that baking soda-based toothpaste seems to work best. A toothbrush can also be useful in scrubbing crayon off the walls, but if you don't have one dedicated to cleaning, a wet cloth works too. Scrub in circular motions, and not too hard; you don't want to take paint off the wall, too. Wipe everything down with a wet rag when you're finished to get rid of any left over toothpaste. 

Crayon can stand up to other cleaners because it's waxy, so unique hacks to get rid of it are oftentimes necessary. Use white toothpaste to avoid staining your wall, and most especially do not use charcoal toothpaste, or you're likely to have a whole new set of wall-stains on your hands. 

Make baking soda paste to rub out tough marks

If you have some tough marks on the wall that even the more robust cleaners can't seem to make a dent in, you'll need to try the baking soda paste hack. It's incredibly easy to make; all you need is baking soda and water. Using a one to two ratio (twice as much baking soda as water), mix the two ingredients together until they form a silty paste. Once the paste is ready, simply apply it to the marks you're trying to remove. Let it sit for a little bit to soak in, roughly an hour works well, and then return and wipe the paste away. Once it's off, use a wet cloth or sponge to wipe the area down, removing any leftover paste.

If the mark is still there, but shows signs of coming off, let the area dry and then repeat the process until the wall is clean. 

Use tea tree oil for sticky residue

The only thing worse than a stain is a sticky stain. Whether it's left behind by a removed sticker, some sugary food concoction, gum, or from a child who got a little to excited with a science project, it's bound to be an annoyance to get rid of. It can be discouraging to try wiping it off with a cloth only to see that little fibers from your cloth have now been added to the mix without removing anything else. That's where tea tree oil comes in.

Tea tree oil is a natural antibacterial oil, so it does wonders for cleaning and leaves a pleasant scent behind. It's also anti-adhesive. For small sticky stains, a few drops of oil on a cotton ball can work wonders. For larger areas, dilute it with water and use a microfiber or lintless cloth to gently rub the adhesive away. You may want to dab some on to thicker coats of stickiness and let it sit and soak for a moment before coming back to scrub, but for thin layers, the process is nearly instant. 

Cut through grease with chalk

Grease and oil stains are a pain, especially in the kitchen. Chalk is super absorbent, and with its' open-cell structure, it can easily get rid of stains. Not just on walls and ceilings, as it works well on clothes, too, but having it on hand in the kitchen can save your walls from looking grimy.

Fresh stains are the easiest to get out, but with diligence, you should be able to work out the older stains as well. Begin by blotting excess oil and grease with a towel, until the area is as dry as you can get it. Then, using white blackboard chalk — colored chalk, like sidewalk chalk, can leave pigments behind and create a new stain — completely cover the area by simply drawing on the wall. Let the chalk sit and absorb for ten minutes, then wipe it away. You can repeat this process as needed, but don't grind the chalk into the wall or press too hard, as you could damage your wall or rub the grease deeper into it. 

Use fabric softener to clean your walls

Another great way to get rid of stains on your walls, ceilings, and even baseboards is the laundry softener hack. Using one part water and one part fabric softener, create as much cleaner as desired and pour it into a spray bottle. Spray the stain, and then simply wipe it away with the help of a microfiber cloth. 

This is a great option for those on a budget, or for those who need to clean fast and don't have time to get other supplies. If you don't have a spray bottle on hand to make this DIY cleaner in, you can mix a small amount in a dish and then dampen a cloth with it before using the damp cloth to gently rub the stains on your walls. It isn't likely to leave streaks or residue on the wall, and it will leave a pleasant smell in its wake. 

Use a piece of bread to remove fingerprints

If you have stale bread that you want to throw out, you may want to do a bit of cleaning around the house with it first. As incredible as that might sound, bread does wonders for getting rid of fingerprint stains, and stale bread works best. Find those pesky stains and dab at them with the stale bread, though not with enough force to make your bread crumble and get crumbs all over the place. To prevent crumbling and subsequent crumbs, you can dab a bit of water onto the bread first to get it damp. 

The bread works much like a sponge when absorbing grime and oils left from your hands, and the soft surface won't scratch or pit your walls. While it works much in the same way that a microfiber cloth does, using this hack is a great way to get a little use out of something that would have otherwise gone to waste, and it's perfect for those who don't have a microfiber cloth on hand.

Use sunscreen to remove permanent marker

While the "permanent" part of "permanent marker" may fill you with dread when it gets applied to your walls, it's not entirely true. There are countless hacks to get rid of permanent marker, and sunscreen may be one of the more unexpected, and successful, of them. Especially since sunscreen is gentle enough to use on your walls without fear of stripping your paint.

For this hack, all you have to do is spray some sunscreen on the marker and then wipe it away with a paper towel. Ensure that your sunscreen isn't mixed with any kind of tanning agent or body coloring agent, as that can damage the wall further; kids' sunscreen is almost always a safe bet. Hold a towel under the area you're spraying with sunscreen, as the ink could bleed and run. You may have to repeat this a few times to completely be rid of the mark. When you're done, wipe away any sunscreen residue with a cloth dampened with soapy water. 

Use bleach and water to remove water stains

Nothing can make a home feel older than its years, and more run-down, than unsightly water stains on the ceiling. Though common, these stains can be hard to get out, and since they are often the result of repairs on the home, they often come at a time when the budget just doesn't allow for hiring a professional cleaner.

Thanks to TikTok's 2-ingredient hack, though, water stains on the ceiling can now be a thing of the past. Before you begin, be sure that you lay down a tarp to protect your floor or furniture, and since you will be working with bleach, eye protection, gloves, and a breathing mask come highly recommended since you may have bleach drip down on you. 

For this hack, simply mix equal parts bleach and water in a spray bottle. Spray the stain, and let it sit for a moment. Wipe the solution off once it has had a chance to sit, and the stain should go away. For tougher stains, you may have to do this several times, but the bleach should eat up any bacteria causing the discoloration and remove the stain completely.