How to Clean Hair-Dyed, Cigarette-Smoked "Nightmare" Bathroom Ceiling?

How to Clean Hair-Dyed, Cigarette-Smoked "Nightmare" Bathroom Ceiling?

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Tess Wilson
Jun 1, 2016

Q: I really hope someone can help me with this, because it's driving me crazy. We've been in this apartment 6 years and in that time, I've gone from being a messy 20-year-old to a surprisingly neat guy who actually enjoys cleaning. I keep up with problem areas, especially in the bathroom, but there's one thing I've been neglecting for a while now: the horrible, horrible ceiling [photo below]. My boyfriend and I are both smokers (yes we know it's bad, we're in the arduous process of quitting). Our roommate used to have a hideous habit of whipping her hair around after a shower like a dog, even after it'd been freshly dyed. Also, we're the dorks that sometimes burn candles or incense in the bathroom. In retrospect, I now know these are all baaaad ideas...

My mom recently gave me her Swiffer mop and it's been doing great on the previously dingy walls with just warm water and vinegar. The issue here though is the ceiling.

The picture is AFTER trying to clean it at least twice with the shower running, loosening all the crap up there and it's still a nightmare. It actually looks worse in person, as it vaguely resembles a worse-than-usual popcorn ceiling.

I'm at the end of my rope here. We don't have the option to repaint, and waiting for our apartment's office to put in the work order would likely take months, I just want this to be tolerable.

To further the issue here, I'm pretty short. Like, 5'7 on a good day short, and we have super high ceilings. Help? -Sent by NR

Editor: Reading NR's letter, I'd braced myself for a much, much worse ceiling than this, but I still totally understand the frustration. Readers, how can NR make—and keep—this high bathroom ceiling clean and pleasant to behold? Thanks!

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