Do Popcorn Ceilings Cause Dust?

Last Updated on October 9, 2022 by Barry Gray

Do Popcorn Ceilings Cause Dust

A common question for homeowners worried about their health is if popcorn ceilings cause dust. You can still find them in many homes today, even though popcorn ceilings may not be as popular as they used to be. Regardless, if you have a home with popcorn ceilings, dust could be a problem.

So, do popcorn ceilings cause dust? Popcorn ceilings do not cause household dust naturally, but they are magnets for environmental dust. Any dust particles in the air will become attracted to the popcorn ceiling and probably stay there.

Additionally, any scraping or bumping on the surface of the popcorn ceiling will create dust particles of its own. No matter what type of ceiling you have, dust is inevitable. Considering how the popcorn ceiling is applied, it’s easy to see how dust can collect in the bumps and crevices. With a textured surface like popcorn ceilings, keeping the dust from building up can be difficult.

I also wrote an article “So what’s the point of a popcorn ceiling anyway?” – Feel free to check it out!

How Can You Clean Dust from Your Popcorn Ceiling? 

There are some simple ways to help keep your popcorn ceiling clean and free from dust particles. It shouldn’t take you long if you use a regular cleaning routine. If there is a significant dust build-up, the initial cleaning may take time. 

One important thing to do is to be gentle with a popcorn ceiling. You want to avoid scraping or bumping the surface, which can create scratches or breaks in the texture and cause particles to fall. If you’re not careful while cleaning, you could end up with even more of a mess than before.

You can clean a popcorn ceiling with one or more of these methods, depending on the build-up of dust and your current environment. 

Vacuum Gently with a Brush Attachment

You want to make sure you aren’t pushing on the ceiling surface at all to avoid breaking off small pieces or damaging it. Vacuuming will not eliminate grease stains or discoloration, but it is a solid first step before moving on to a more intense cleaning process.

Sweep Any Loose Dust and Cobwebs Off with a Regular Household Broom

If you do not have a vacuum with brush attachments to reach the ceiling, a regular household broom can gently remove dust particles and cobwebs easily. Be sure to wear protective glasses and a face covering while using a household broom as everything will fall below. 

Use a Lint Roller Across the Surface

This method can effectively keep the dust from falling but can be time-consuming with a small lint roller. 

Homemade Cleaning Solution of Water, Dish Soap, and Vinegar with a Soft Cloth or Sponge

Once you remove all the loose dust and cobwebs, you can begin to do a deep clean with a homemade cleaning solution. Mix the solution in a spray bottle and using a soft cloth or sponge, it will help remove any discoloration or stains from your popcorn ceiling. Ensure you are gentle as you dab the surface, so you aren’t scratching the surface as you clean. 

Once you deep clean your popcorn ceiling, finding the time to do a quick surface clean regularly will help keep dust particles from building up once again. 

Can Popcorn Ceilings Be Safe Options? 

Many homeowners want to ensure building products are safe. There are some concerns that popcorn ceilings are dangerous for a couple of reasons, including: 

  • Dust collection that enhances allergies and breathing issues
  • Older asbestos-based types of popcorn ceilings pose serious health risks if inhaled

Many homeowners have turned away from popcorn ceilings to avoid potential health problems. However, more recent installations of popcorn ceilings do not contain asbestos and can be quite attractive and useful. Some types of popcorn ceilings are paintable to help cut down on how much dust settles which makes it easier to clean. 

As long as you have a newer model of popcorn ceiling that is asbestos-free and you clean it on a regular basis, a popcorn ceiling is quite safe and can be an attractive solution for your home. 

Do Popcorn Ceilings Contain Harmful Asbestos? 

Popcorn ceilings were really popular between 1950 and 1980. They effectively hid any building imperfections and also acted as a noise barrier in rooms. At the time, however, they were made out of asbestos which we now know is toxic.

If the ceiling surface was damaged, it created inhalable dust, linking it to cancer and other breathing problems. It is still possible to have asbestos popcorn ceilings today, although they have stopped using asbestos since 1978. 

If you have an older home or have any concerns about asbestos in your popcorn ceiling, you can check it with a simple test. Homeowners can take a small sample on their own and send it away for testing or have a professional come in to do it. If you do have an asbestos popcorn ceiling, you have options depending on how you want to proceed. 

  • Have a professional service come in and remove your asbestos popcorn ceiling
  • Leave it undisturbed to avoid any harmful dust particles from being released

How you want to deal with an asbestos popcorn ceiling is your choice, but many homeowners will choose to get rid of it after it’s been confirmed. Considering the state of your popcorn ceiling before making a decision will help make your decision.

If your popcorn ceiling is in good shape and you don’t need to replace or repair it, you can leave it as it will not pose any health problems. 

How to Love Your Home That Has a Popcorn Ceiling

While some people are certain they don’t want a popcorn ceiling, it can look really good, assuming it was installed correctly. Popcorn ceilings help cut down on noise and give the home a warm look.

They hide any imperfections such as drywall mudding and taping of the ceiling area. Furthermore, you can save a great deal of time and money this way as opposed to an alternative smooth painted ceiling. 

You can paint over popcorn ceilings to easily match any room, just like you can with a smooth ceiling surface. Homeowners who want to save money can easily install popcorn ceilings themselves. If you are handy with home renovations or repairs and following a budget, a popcorn ceiling could be the right choice. 

Related Questions

How easy is it to remove a popcorn ceiling?

The difference between a regular or asbestos popcorn ceiling will gauge how much work it will take to remove it. If you had a test done showing positive for asbestos, you need to have a professional come in to remove your ceiling for you, which can be more costly than doing it yourself.

Popcorn ceilings that do not contain asbestos can be removed easily by scraping but will need quite a bit of cleanup afterward from the resulting dust and debris. 

Does a popcorn ceiling decrease the value of your home?

Although many homeowners swear against popcorn ceilings, you will find numerous others who prefer it. Popcorn ceilings are just a personal preference in design, as many home features are.

You don’t need to roll up your sleeves and get to work removing it if you don’t want to when selling your home. Often the time and expense of removing a popcorn ceiling aren’t worth the small value it could add to your home if the new owners prefer a smooth finish. 

Photo of author

Barry Gray

Hi, I’m Barry. I’ve loved woodworking and bringing things back to life for more years than I care to remember. I hope my passion for tools comes across loud and clear in everything you read here on The Tool Square.