Styled, Staged & Sold

Bringing you the latest home design and staging trends. From REALTOR® Magazine.

What's Causing Those Stains on the Ceiling?

Look up. Notice any smudges or stains on your property listing’s walls or ceilings? An unlikely source may be causing it: Candles.

Candles can actually leave gray, soot deposits on surfaces, according to Bob Schacke with Home Inspection Experts. You might notice it on the ceiling, walls, or around picture frames.

“Candles in glass jugs are the biggest soot generators,” Schake notes. “The jug limits air flow to the flame and this inhibits combustion, causing extra soot.”

So does that mean you have to say good-bye to candles to avoid stains to your walls?

Not necessarily. Battery-operated candles are gaining in popularity and can be one alternative to avoid the flame altogether. Or, Schacke recommends buying high-quality candles and keeping the wicks trimmed to about a quarter inch so that the flame is better controlled.

And if black smoke is already on the ceiling, you should be able to clean it off. First, try to vacuum any loose particles off, and then use a dry sponge or a sponge with cleaner to remove the rest of the stain.

Guidelines at eHow suggests wiping the ceiling with one-teaspoon of TSP--Trio-Sodium Phosphate--and a gallon of lukewarm water. Products are also sold by retailers that can help remove smoke stains off ceilings or interior walls.

Potential buyers will most certainly be viewing properties up and down so make sure to look your listings’ up and down as well, ensuring the ceiling doesn’t dampen any first impressions.

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