How to Clean Tin Ceiling Tiles - Five Ways to Make Them Shine

Written by Milan Jara on 4th Jul 2022

Tin Ceiling Tiles

Are your ceiling tiles starting to look a bit dingy? If you want to know how to clean ceiling tiles, we offer a range of options.

While tin ceiling tiles may be low-maintenance and look gorgeous, you still need to know how to maintain them. Drop ceiling tiles become dirty after time passes and take on a dingy appearance. The amount of dirt will depend on the location of the metal ceiling.

How to Clean Ceiling Tiles

Tin Ceiling Tiles

There are a few methods to use when cleaning ceiling tiles. Sometimes, all it takes is a little dusting away of cobwebs with a feather duster. Depending on the location and how long they have been up, they may require a more thorough clean. Here are a few tips to help you get the job done.

Know Your Tile Type

Since you can’t move a ceiling and touching them is out of reach, the only two enemies of a ceiling tile are airborne dirt and gravity. Sometimes, if there is a leak, you will see a water stain or fingerprints if you had to adjust a drop ceiling. These are the only two factors that make ceiling tiles dirty.

For tiles directly attached to the ceiling or suspended from metal grids, simple solutions are available for ones that are damaged or loose. In this case, you may have to remove them because they are worn or decaying. In this state, they are fragile, so cleaning them may not be an option as they might disintegrate.

In this instance, you may need to remove and replace them. The good news is that this is a very easy job and doesn’t take much time.

When you want to clean your drop ceiling tiles, it matters what they are composed of. New tiles tend to have vinyl coatings that you can spray wash. Meanwhile, older tiles and ones created for full sound absorption are not coated. They will need a unique dry-sponge cleaner.

Use a Vacuum Cleaner

Some companies boast that their tiles are maintenance-free, but this doesn’t mean you don’t have to clean them. You can easily use a vacuum cleaner with a soft brush attachment once a year. This cleaning will need to be done more often in the kitchen due to smoke, grease, and odors. If you wait to vacuum until tiles are dirty, you are not cleaning them often enough.

Always Remain Safe

Cleaners sprayed on your ceiling can easily drip down into your eyes or run down your hands or arms. Therefore, wearing rubber gloves and safety goggles is a good idea. It’s a good idea to fold the ends of the gloves into your cuffs to collect drips so they don’t flow down your arms. Also make sure you have a stable, secure ladder.

Test to See if the Tiles Have a Coating

If the tiles are dirty and require more than just a vacuum, determine if they contain a protective plastic coating. To do this, dampen one cotton ball. Then, dab it on the ceiling. If the water on the cotton ball beads and drips off, there is a coating on the tiles. You can clean them by using a wet solution.

If the water soaks into the tiles, they are absorbent and require a moisture-free method of cleaning.

Tin Ceiling Tiles

Try Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is mild bleach. It will brighten and clean ceiling tiles that are washable. To do this, purchase ordinary 3% hydrogen peroxide at your neighborhood drug store. The solution should be one ounce of hydrogen peroxide with one quart of water and placed in a spray bottle. Once combined, spray it on the ceiling.

There is no need to rinse or rub the mixture. The peroxide will remove the dirt. All you have to do is allow the tiles to air-dry.

Additionally, cleaners with a peroxide base containing citrus oil plus surfactants will clean ceiling tiles. They will also remove or reduce odors like smoke. To clean smoke off your tiles, spray the cleaner over the ceiling. Allow it to soak for at least ten minutes. Once the time is up, wipe the mixture away using a damp cloth. Repeat if needed.

Trisodium Phosphate Treatments

This cleaner removes smoke film from tiles. The film found on these tiles is what contains the odor. To clean the tiles, mix a tablespoon of the cleaning mixture into one gallon of warm water. Dip a sponge into the solution while wearing gloves.

Wipe down your ceiling using the solution. Follow that with another sponge dipped in plain water. Avoid oversaturating the ceiling. The sponges should only be slightly damp. If they are soaked, moisture can damage your tiles. Portable fans pointed at the ceiling will help it dry quicker.

Dry Clean Using Sponges

You will not be able to use a wet solution on uncoated tiles. Wet solutions will just saturate and ruin them. Therefore, a dry-cleaning sponge or feather duster is required to clean them. This type of sponge is made of natural rubber and treated with specially formulated cleaners.

To clean the area, wipe the dry sponge across your suspended ceiling tiles with even, smooth strokes.

Hire a Professional

There are times when hiring a professional makes more sense. If your ceilings are too dirty, stained, or difficult to wash by yourself, you can hire a company that cleans suspended ceiling tiles. They will have special cleaners and equipment that make the work go faster.

A professional may also be a good call if there are strong odors or heavy smoking in the house. These things may cause tiles to be more difficult to clean since they soak through most material.


You can use various methods to clean ceiling tiles. The first step is always knowing what type of tiles you are cleaning and whether there is a protective coating. Always keep safety in mind.

These are a few methods to use when cleaning ceiling tiles. Sometimes, all it takes is a little dusting away of cobwebs. Depending on the location and how long they have been up, they may require a more thorough clean. Here are a few tips to help you get the job done.