kept searching for answers on this. I had to discount mold because the
spots on the plastic shelves below still had the drips...very hard, no
growth or fuzz and no growth or fuzz or spots on the drywall on the
ceiling. I think this is the answer.
Thanks to all who replied.
The condition you described sounds like surfactant leaching. Surfactants
are surface leveling added to latex paint to improve its flow and
leveling. Under conditions of high humidity such as a bathroom these
surfactants can sometimes leach out of an uncured paint film. It will
look like someone shook a can of cola and sprayed it on the wall.
Surfactants can be removed if you wash after they first appear with warm
water and a sponge.
alkyd paints do not contain surfactants so use an alkyd paint instead of
the latex coating tends to extrude surfactant, leaving a slightly
brownish residue on the surface. This is termed "surfactant leaching," a
process whereby the resin surfactant starts to evaporate before the
water due to high humidity levels. These surfactants will easily wash away.