How to Clean Dropped Ceiling Panels

Shelley Marie
A duster can help you make short work of dirty ceiling panels.

Dropped or suspended ceilings are meant to give a fresh or finished look to old or unfinished ceilings, but don't neglect the panels once you have them in place. They're made from a variety of materials, including fiberglass, plastic, mineral fiber and metal. The ceiling panels can build up debris from dust in the air, smoking or cooking and end up looking worse than what they were meant to cover without maintenance. Most drop ceiling panels are easy to care for and only require a light dusting and a mild cleaning solution. Some manufacturers recommend cleaning every four months.

Step 1

Lay drop cloths on the floor beneath the ceiling and any furniture that you want to protect from falling dust or drips. Put on safety glasses and dust mask before cleaning.

Step 2

Vacuum the ceiling with an extended nozzle and soft brush attachment to remove any loose dirt or debris. Another option is to dust the ceiling with a feather or static duster, but avoid those of low quality because they can snag on textured ceilings.

Step 3

Dampen a lint-free cloth or sponge with warm water and wring it out well. Wipe the ceiling tiles gently to remove light dirt or dust. For heavier debris such as grease or nicotine, mix a solution of 1 tablespoon mild liquid dish detergent into 1 gallon of warm water. Dip a cloth into the solution and wring it out well. Wipe the ceiling with the cloth, rinsing as needed in the bucket. After cleaning, rinse the tiles with a clean, damp cloth. Allow them to dry.

Step 4

Remove any remaining tough stains with a dry melamine sponge. Avoid rubbing too hard to prevent damage to the ceiling tiles.


Don't stand on the top step of a ladder. Keep kids and pets out of the area when working on a ladder.


Avoid soaking the ceiling panels with water or cleaning solution.