So we got rid of the popcorn ceiling that had asbestos. Now my wife is worried about the particles that might still be lingering in the air. How long until it settles down? Wet-mopping, HEPA vacuuming and opening the doors/windows will help? I sealed the vents. Should I still be worried about residue in the ductwork?

  • 2
    You said you sealed the vents, there should not be residue in the ducting. If you performed removal and did not use HEPA vacuum and wet removal methods, and ventilate thoroughly, then I would say your wife has legitimate concern. Commented Aug 16, 2016 at 6:17
  • Asbestos removal or cleanup is typically something you want to leave to a professional. They know what they are doing, and you can research their other clients to ensure they are knowledgeable and competent. Commented Aug 16, 2016 at 15:42
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    Although asbestos is really bad it is quite easy to abate. If you sealed your vents properly there isn't a big concern. I have watched abatement companies work and it is common sense. Get it wet, clean up. Now air quality... get it tested if you are concerned. Remember asbestos is in the air outside too - so you will need to measure both. And also realize that 99% of the asbestos cases are from people who worked with asbestos and talked about asbestos "clouds" while working. Also ask a local abatement company what their acceptable particle rate is for after clean up.
    – DMoore
    Commented Aug 16, 2016 at 18:16
  • DId you wet scrape? If so, not much asbestos should have become airborne.
    – DA01
    Commented Dec 4, 2016 at 19:22

4 Answers 4


If you had the ceiling removed by "professional certified removers" then you are free of asbestos. They should have sealed everything up, including vents, etc. before starting and all the particulates were pulled out of the air as the removal was done.

Now on the otherhand if you did it yourself or hired some shady under the counter removal company, your probably exposed already so nothing you do now will matter much.

There is a bit of hope in that the asbestos used was probably long grain(Old terminology, now they are classified by color.) rather than short grain. Long grain is less toxic than short grain but can still cause cancer, etc.

Cleaning everything, ducts, Furnace, filters, air conditioners, rugs, walls, floors, household items, etc., etc., etc. will help remove residual contamination, as will leaving all windows and doors open. Once spread all over your home asbestos is hard to impossible to remove completely.

Use masks if you do the cleaning yourselves and a water vacuum to clean the rugs.

It will cost a small fortune to have an asbestos removal company do a whole house clean. Also in many states doing asbestos removal yourself is illegal. So if you removed the ceiling yourselves don't get pro's in after the fact as its way too late and way too costly.

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    Merely having it done by "professionals" does not in any way ensure it was done properly or completely.
    – mmathis
    Commented Nov 2, 2016 at 20:06
  • Conversely, in many states doing (many types of) asbestos removal yourself is completely legal.
    – DA01
    Commented Dec 4, 2016 at 19:24

As long as it's not airborne u r ok. If you removed it wet, and disposed of it, you can breathe a sigh of relief. ;*) Check your vents for sure, with a wet cloth, but just enjoy your new place. If you are really worried, you can paint your vents. Encapsilation, i. e. Covering it up is another way of living with it safely. Signed, KC, not a professional but we learned things in 60 + years


Get an air test, as that will tell you for sure how much asbestos is floating around. There are companies that do this sort of testing (for a few hundred bucks or so) or you may be able to get a kit to do it yourself and send to a lab to analyze.

They should take several readings from both inside and outside, as you want to compare the inside readings to the ambient levels outside. They should also used some kind of forced air system, like a blower or fan, to stir up dust while taking the measurement, as this will provide a more realistic measurement of the air quality.


All of your approaches are probably the only options...there's nothing else I can think of. Regarding the ducts, if they were sealed, the only way some asbestos could get there would be via intake, if there was asbestos in the air generally. So it would go in and out and the proportion of asbestos in the ducts would be the same as out of the ducts. In other words, I don't think a duct cleaning would be an improvement, if that's what you're considering.

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