One question our lighting professionals get all the time is on the proper way to clean a chandelier eg. crystal chandeliers. After many years ofchandelier cleaning guide answering these inquiries, we’ve decided to compile all our tips into one handy guide. Below we’ve listed the various components of the average lighting fixture and the methods to clean them without damaging the material.

Fabric Shades

What you’ll need:

  • Lambs’ Wool Duster
  • Vacuum with Brush Attachment (Optional)

When cleaning your paper, fabric or silk shade, opt for a lambs’ wool duster instead of a rag. It will not only pull and catch dust better than a rag, but it also be much gentler on the shade. For very dirty shades, you can use a vacuum cleaner with the brush attachment instead for a deeper clean. However, we’d suggest keeping the vacuum at the lowest setting possible.

Glass Shades and Components

What you’ll need:

  • Soapy Water
  • A Container large enough for the component
  • A Soft Cloth
  • Paper or absorbent pads

Glass, especially dirty glass, requires a much more thorough cleaning. First, fill a container with soapy water. Then,

remove the glass piece from your fixture and submerge it in the water for at least ten minutes. Once that’s done, rinse thoroughly and leave to dry on paper or absorbent pads. If required, give the glass one more wipe with a dry, soft cloth or paper before placing it back on your fixture. Be sure the parts are dry before replacing them, as you do not want moisture lingering on your lighting fixture, crystal chandeliers.

Lightbulbs

What you’ll need:

  • A Soft Cloth

It’s important not to use any liquids when cleaning your lightbulb, crystal chandeliers. If they’ve become dusty, simply wipe the bulb down with a soft cloth to strip off the dust. It is important to do this regularly, as dusty light bulbs give off much less light!

Fluorescent Tubes

What you’ll need:

  • A Clean, Damp Cloth.
  • A Soft Cloth

As opposed to regular light bulbs, fluorescent tubes can be cleaned with a damp cloth (Water or surface cleaner, depending on necessity). Simply wipe down the surface of the tube with the cloth, then wipe again with a soft, dry cloth before returning it to its’ fixture.

Recessed Light Cans

What you’ll need:

  • A Clean, Damp Cloth.
  • A Soft Cloth

Same as the fluorescent tube, wipe down the inner curves of the can with a damp cloth, then follow up with a dry cloth.

Cleaning a Crystal Chandelier

Quick Note: In all cases, never rotate your chandelier, crystal chandeliers as you clean it, always work around the fixture. Turning it can slowly twist the electrical wires until they eventually break.

Maintenance (For Slightly Dusty Chandeliers, crystal chandeliers)

What you’ll need:

  • A Lambs’ Wool Duster.
  • Furniture Pads or an Umbrella.

Typically, all you need to do is maintain your crystal chandeliers to keep it sparkling is a semi-regular dusting using a lambs’ wool cloth along the outer perimeter of the fixture. Before you begin, we suggest setting up some soft pads underneath the fixture in the case that any crystal strands are accidentally knocked off the fixture in the process. If you do not have any pads, a little trick you can use is to hang an umbrella upside down on the fixture to catch any crystals, providing that the umbrella is large enough to fill the space beneath the fixture. Once done, wipe down the outer perimeter of the fixture with your duster until all the dust has been displaced.

Regarding Frequency- It is impossible to determine just how often you should dust your chandelier. The rate at which dust accumulates is different for every household, possibly ranging from every three months to up to a year. Our suggestion is to see how long it takes for your chandelier to get unacceptably dusty, and set that as the standard going forward.

However, if your chandelier has gotten dirty to the point where a duster cannot remove the dust, then it is time for a comprehensive cleaning, as detailed below.

Deep Cleaning (For Caked-In Dust and Dirt)

What you’ll need:

  • A Lambs’ Wool Duster.
  • Furniture Pads or an Umbrella.
  • Ziploc Bags
  • Rubber Bands
  • A Large Plastic Container
  • A Crystal Cleaning Solution (Specialized cleaner recommended, alternatives offered below)
  • Ammonia-free, Non-Alcohol Surface Cleaner
  • Microfiber/non-lint Cloth, or Paper Towels.
  • A drying line (Optional)

Once the time has come to give your crystal chandelier a top to bottom cleaning, it is important to practice the following steps:

  1. Cut the power to your chandelier for safety.
  2. Set up pads or an umbrella underneath the fixture to catch any crystals that may fall during the next step.
  3. Remove ALL detachable crystal and glass components, setting them into a plastic container.
  4. Cover the bulbs and sockets with Ziploc bags, then secure with rubber bands. Do not use tape!

First, cleaning the crystals- we highly recommend using a specialized crystal cleaning solution. You may have read about other methods using soapy water or a water/vinegar solution. These do work, but various factors such as varying soap brands or incorrect proportions of water and. vinegar,  they can yield inconsistent results when it comes to tarnishing the pins.

Fill your plastic container with your preferred cleaning solution and submerge the crystals within. Let them sit in the solution for at least five minutes, but no more than fifteen, until the dust has been stripped. Then, remove each crystal one by one, wiping each of them thoroughly with a non-lint cloth or paper towels. Afterwards, you can either leave them to dry on an absorbent pad or, ideally, hang each crystal on a line to drip dry. Whichever method you choose, leave the crystals to dry for at least two days. The last thing you want to do is hang damp crystal strands on your fixture, as trapped moisture can easily tarnish the chandelier’s finish.

DISCLAIMER: Do not follow the instructions below if your chandelier is brass. To clean a brass frame, all you should have to do is dust or dry with a cloth. Do not expose your brass frame to any cleaning solutions or moisture!

While the crystals are drying, now is a good opportunity to clean the frame. To do this, apply an ammonia-free, non-alcohol surface cleaner to a soft cloth (Never spray directly onto your chandelier) and wipe down the frame until clean, then follow up with a second wipe using a dry cloth. Be sure you’ve covered the bulbs and sockets before this, as you absolutely do not want to get any moisture in your sockets! To clean your socket covers, either remove the socket covers and clean separately or only use a dry cloth.

If your chandelier has crystals attached to the frame, it is best to try cleaning those parts with a fully dry cloth, only using one dampened with a solution if necessary. Any moisture getting trapped between crystal and frame can tarnish the finish.

Repeat: Be very thorough in drying your chandelier frame!

Once everything has dried, you can re-dress your fixture and relish in the brilliance of your newly-sparkling crystal chandelier! Want a guide to clean your lights? Visit here or to get live updates here

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