Many of our customers are installing stretch fabric ceilings in their homes for the first time. Generally, one of their first questions is, “How do I clean my stretch fabric ceiling?”
Good news is that stretch ceilings are extremely easy to clean. The bad news is that not everything is easily cleanable. We can be successful at removing some fingerprints and general dust and dirt but some stains can be more stubborn. Greasy, oily dirt can penetrate deep into the texture of the fabric and it may take extra effort to remove.
A beautiful feature of stretch fabric ceiling is that it is installed as a finished product and requires no additional painting or any other finishing. This means once the ceiling fabric is installed, it should be treated as a FINISHED surface. Modern ceilings often incorporate lights, sprinklers, cameras, fire alarms, and smoke alarms as well as all sort of sensory and audio/video equipment. This means that other professionals often have to install and/or service that equipment and coordinate that work with stretch fabric ceiling installation. Unfortunately, once in a while there’s going to be an electrician or an HVAC expert that would be so eager to get their work done, they would not notice how they got their fingerprints all over the ceiling.
Our project managers and installers take their time to explain this to our customers and other tradesmen. The best way to prevent damage is to avoid it. This helps a great deal and yet we still have had to deal with our share of stubborn stains on the fabric.
Stretch fabric ceiling manufacturers give us clear guidelines on how to take care of the ceilings. The official recommendation is simple: spot clean with a clean rag, soap, and water as needed. Followed by the caution: never use anything abrasive to clean stretch ceilings, especially if your ceiling has a printed design. While the ink is durable and will not come off with normal spot cleaning, it’s important to not scrub the fabric.
It does not void the warranty to use light duty clear cleaning solutions to wipe the fabric. A customer from Brooklyn removed the stains of dried up rusty water rings after a minor water leak from the apartment above with… drum roll… Clorox stain remover and microfiber cloth. Those stains contained rust so the customer experimented with both the bleach and non-bleach formulas and it worked! That said, most common stains and spots in your stretch fabric ceiling can be removed by a simple dampened microfiber cloth.
In case of water leaks from above, PVC ceiling membranes can stretch and hold water like a water balloon. Fabric ceilings can also hold some water, but they will not stretch like PVC. So the water will continue to flow and find the lowest point until the water the leak has stopped.
In many cases, simple water stains have been cleaned and no signs of water damage were visible. In case there was a lot of debris and rusty water, it may stain the material, and the material would have to be replaced.
Fortunately, stretch ceilings systems are interchangeable—old material can be gently pulled out from the track. The track can stay in place and be reused. Only the damaged ceiling material may have to be replaced, which would take no longer than a few hours and the ceiling looks brand new again.
There is a particular kind of fabric ceiling which must be treated with special care—that’s translucent. Translucent stretch fabrics are backlit with LEDs and show EVERYTHING. Needless to say, backlit ceilings and walls must be extra clean otherwise the lights illuminate every mark and fingerprint.
For the overwhelming majority of customers, there’s very little maintenance associated with their stretch fabric ceilings, and even when things do get dusty or spotted, cleaning your stretch fabric ceiling is generally no more of a hassle than any other kind of ceiling. If you ever have questions on how to care for your stretch ceiling, your installer or our support team are always here to offer solutions.