Texture-sprayed ceilings with the appearance of “popcorn” or “cottage
cheese” are very difficult to keep clean; cobwebs and dust around vents can be removed by holding the wand of a vacuum about an inch from the surface of the ceiling; however, more forceful action such as sweeping can remove the loose “popcorn” like texture. If an acoustic ceiling is discolored from age, however, there is really no way to “clean” it.
It’s not recommended to roll paint on an acoustic ceiling, as it is very porous. It will absorb a great deal of paint and it’s nearly impossible to achieve even coverage. Often, the entire layer of the “cottage cheese” texture will come right off on the roller, leaving a bare strip of drywall.
The most efficient way to paint a textured ceiling is with spray paint—a flat latex. It’s a difficult job, best left to a professional. One possible complication is the fact that asbestos was widely used in textured ceiling spray prior to 1980.
Service professionals can usually respray the acoustic ceilings in the average sized home in less than a day for about the same price as materials alone to paint it. It is also possible to have the entire acoustic layer removed and retextured like the walls, leaving them much easier to maintain, sweep and paint.