7 Ways to Clean High Ceilings Safely

Alison Kasch
Written by Alison Kasch
Reviewed by Asya Biddle
Updated June 9, 2022
Luxury living room with nice ceiling
Photo: FOTOGRAFIA INC. / E+ / Getty Images

If dusting your tall ceiling has you in over your head, here’s how to get it done

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When you first fell in love with those vaulted ceilings, you probably weren’t thinking about what a challenge they’d be to clean. Luckily, with the right tools, you can still admire your ceiling without turning a blind eye to the dust. Use these seven tips to ensure your home stays clean and dust-free from the ceiling down.

1. Work From Top to Bottom

No matter the duster or the technique you use, some dust is bound to fall as you’re dusting the ceiling. If you save the ceiling for last, that dust will settle on your furniture, knickknacks, and all the other spots you just worked so hard to clean. Treat your ceiling as the start of your cleaning marathon, then work your way down to picture frames, furniture, and finally, the floor.

"Whatever type of duster a homeowner uses, a portion of the dust being removed from the ceiling or ceiling fan will fall through the air and onto surfaces below,” said Asya Biddle, Angi Expert Review Board member and manager of The Dustbusters, a family-owned and operated janitorial company in Williamsport, PA. “Always set aside time to clean those areas, too."

2. Opt for an Electrostatic Duster

For a high ceiling, an electrostatic duster is your best friend. Feather dusters only knock dust around, while microfiber requires direct contact to pick up dust. Electrostatic dusters grab more dust per swipe and hold on to it, reducing allergens in the home (and saving cleaning time).

If you’re not familiar with this wonderful tool, it’s a tall and fluffy duster that often has a rainbow of colors from top to bottom. The fine fibers use a static charge to attract dust like a magnet, allowing you to dust a larger area with way less effort. Simply twist the handle in your hands to fluff the fibers, then drag them through a plastic bag or across a TV screen to get them charged up and ready to dust.

3. Trade the Ladder for a Pole

Tall ladders aren’t a walk in the park—they can be dangerous, especially if you’re not used to them. What’s more, if you’re working with considerable square footage, you’ll be stuck climbing up and down repeatedly to hit the entire surface safely. These ladders can also be pricey if you don’t already have one in your garage.

Rather than chancing it with a ladder, pick up a telescopic cleaning pole at your local home improvement store. These can extend up to 20 feet or more, allowing you to keep your feet firmly on the ground as you work.

4. Wash High Ceilings With a Mop Attachment

If a basic dusting doesn’t scratch your cleaning itch, you can take it a step further with a mop attachment for your telescoping cleaning pole. After you’re finished dusting, protect your furniture with a plastic tarp and mop the ceiling with your favorite all-purpose cleaner. It might feel a little upside-down, but the results will make it worth the extra effort.

5. Wear Protective Gear

Dust and debris can fall from the ceiling as you dust—and the last thing you want is to have it falling into your eyes. Unlike dust, corneal abrasions and eye infections are nothing to sneeze at, so a pair of safety goggles is an absolute must. If you’re particularly sensitive to dust or prone to allergies, you may also want to don a dust mask to prevent yourself from breathing anything in.

6. Safety First

Losing a fight with a dust bunny that’s just out of reach can be frustrating (infuriating, even!). However, it’s important to stay mindful of your body’s physical limits. Nothing is worth severe back or neck strain, and there’s always another way to get it done.

If you choose to go the ladder route, it’s doubly important to prioritize your safety over a speckless ceiling. Leaning too far, stepping beyond a safe point, or losing track of your footing can all have serious consequences. Let the cobwebs go, or find a safer way to get them down.

7. Consider Hiring a Professional Cleaning Service

Workers cleaning white ceiling roof
Photo: Prapat / Adobe Stock

Dusting a high ceiling or cleaning tricky spots in your home can be a real feat (if not a huge pain). If you’re still having trouble, get in touch with a local house cleaning service that can clean high ceilings and take the extra stress off your plate.

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