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4 Helpful Tips for Cleaning Light Fixtures

Best methods for clean your light fixtures like a pro

“See those cobwebs on the chandelier?” my friend Amy asked me one day. “Uhhh, I forgot to clean the light fixtures last month,” I off-handedly remarked to her. But I knew I hadn’t so much forgotten as I had procrastinated–the hated job of cleaning the light fixtures in my home. For people like me, sometimes we need incentives or easy steps to motivate me to clean my home.

Being a professional rental apartment photographer I get to step into beautiful homes every week. I see giant, very expensive chandeliers and of course, the people who own these apartments have people that do all the cleaning. I can’t afford that luxury.

After Amy asked me about my dirty chandelier, I knew it was time to get serious about the best ways to clean light fixtures in my apartment. Not only do clean lights make a home brighter, but also they are more energy efficient. Just make sure you hit the switch to the OFF position before starting. For this reason, many people like to clean light fixtures during the day, which makes sense. Therefore, here are some helpful hacks I have discovered for keeping various types of fixtures and light bulbs clean and bright.

1. Ceiling Fixtures

cleaning fixtures tipsFirst, assemble your tools and cleaning supplies to make quick work of dirty globes and grimy shades. You will need a screwdriver, a ladder, cleaning cloths, paper towels and a cleaning solution of 100% white vinegar. Depending on the kind of ceiling fixture, you may find a feather duster to be helpful, as well as cotton gloves, and an extra person to hand you needed supplies.

Second, position your ladder under the fixture and place a drop cloth to protect the floor from falling debris. Third, remove any screws that hold the globe or shade to the ceiling (this is where a helper can be especially useful). As you take the globe or shade down from the ceiling, turn it upside down on the drop cloth to get rid of insects and dirt that have accumulated.

Fourth, spray some of the vinegar-water cleaners on all sides of the globe or shade. This would be an excellent time to replace the existing bulbs with energy-saving LED light bulbs. Fifth, return the globe or shade to the ceiling and affix with the screws.

2. Pendant Fixtures

Before starting to clean, layout the drop cloth and position the ladder directly below the pendant fixture. Unscrew the light bulb from the threaded socket by reaching inside the pendant. Be sure to hold the glass securely. Then unscrew the shade ring to separate the glass from the socket, plus any screws that may attach the glass.

Using a soft cloth, apply cleaning solution and wipe the glass pendant until no dirt, fingerprints, or streaks show. Using the same steps backward, re-attach the pendant fixture and light bulbs.

3. Chandelier Fixtures

There are two modes of thinking about how to clean chandeliers. One method is to remove all the hanging decorative glass objects (or crystal prisms) and clean them away from the light fixture. The other method is to leave the glass objects hanging while cleaning them with a cloth.

Either way, the glass objects should not be directly sprayed with cleaner. Instead, spray the cleaning solution on the cloth to wipe on the glass objects. Personally, I prefer not to engage in the tedious work of taking off each decorative piece and then re-hanging it because it takes so much time.

As with the other two kinds of fixtures, throw down a drop cloth and position your ladder directly beneath the chandelier. This precaution can also help to cushion any crystal prisms that might accidentally fall.

Then take out the light bulbs so they don’t break while cleaning. In addition to cleaning the crystal prisms, you will need to clean the glass or metal frame fixture that supports the crystal prism. Use a damp cloth rather than directly spraying the cleaning solution on the glass or metal framework.

Replace the prisms (if removed) and light bulbs. Voila! Your chandelier is once again sparkly and bright.

4. Light Bulbs

cleaning know howWhen you are cleaning the light fixtures, don’t forget that the light bulbs should also be cleaned at the same time. Once you already have the cleaning materials assembled, take the extra time to clean, to dust or to wipe the light bulbs. Using the spray bottle, dampen the cloth and carefully wipe the bulb.

If you are cleaning compact fluorescent bulbs, you need to use extra caution because of their mercury content. It is important when you are decorating, to understand more about the range of light bulbs and the lighting choices you can have.

When Amy visited me the next time, she commented on how nice the chandelier looked after I had cleaned it. Although I had procrastinated, the job wasn’t really that hard, especially when using these cleaning hacks that I discovered. Next time you are tempted to put off cleaning your light fixtures or bulbs, try these tips to streamline your work. Your home will be bright and cheery with cleaner lighting.

Do you have any other ideas that have worked for cleaning your light fixtures and bulbs? What motivates you to tackle cleaning tasks and add value to your home? Please share your creative ideas with readers in the comments section.