Kick Off Spring By Cleaning Your Lighting Fixtures

What does your spring cleaning to-do list look like? Whether you’re wiping, dusting, vacuuming, scrubbing, organizing or all of the above, now’s the perfect time to plan a deep clean of all your home’s nooks and crannies. That routine should include cleaning light fixtures too!

With their delicate materials, precarious positions (you know, hanging from the ceiling!) and unique textures, cleaning many of the light fixtures in your home may seem like a daunting task. We’re here to help! This guide will walk you through the process of cleaning different types of lights and materials, including tips and tricks to make the whole thing a total breeze.

How to Clean Your Light Fixtures

From gold pendants to crystal chandeliers, there are many different types of fixtures, and no one way to clean them all. We’ve gathered a few tips for each type, as well as what techniques and products to use on specific materials.

Supply List: What You’ll Need to Clean Your Light Fixtures

Here are the supplies you’ll need for cleaning light fixtures big and small.

  1. Stepladder or ladder
  2. Screwdriver (for removing parts)
  3. Extendable duster
  4. Lint-free microfiber cloth
  5. White cotton gloves
  6. White vinegar
  7. Mild dishwashing soap
  8. Warm water
  9. Canned air
  10. Soft toothbrush

Cleaning Tips by Type:

Chandeliers:

This may seem like the most difficult type of light fixture to clean, but these tips can make cleaning chandelier light fixtures a simpler task.

Bagatelle 35 Inch 10 Light Chandelier by Schonbek
  • Turn it off: Before beginning, make sure the fixture is turned off.
  • Take it down, if possible: If you’re able to easily remove the chandelier from its hanging position, and lower it on the table or other surface below, doing so will make your life infinitely easier.
  • Remove hanging crystals: On a traditional chandelier such as the beautiful Bagatelle by Schonbek, there may be hanging teardrop crystals (or other hanging shapes/materials); for a deep clean, it’s best to remove these and clean them by hand, with gloves and a lint-free cloth. Take note (or snap a pic) of how they were affixed to your chandelier before you remove them, to make reassembly a much easier task.
  • Use a ladder or stepladder: For fixtures that can’t be lowered, use a ladder or stepladder to reach. When using a full ladder, always ask for a spotter to ensure the ladder stays in place.
  • Rotate yourself, not the chandelier: For round fixtures be sure to move yourself (or your ladder) around the chandelier as you wipe its surfaces with a lint-free cloth. Rotating the chandelier is dangerous and could damage the fixture, rod or base.
  • Dust, then wipe: Use an extendable duster to remove as much dust as possible before wiping with a lint-free cloth (certain surfaces may require a damp cloth).
  • Don’t forget the bulbs: If the bulbs themselves have a dirty film, a quick and gentle wipe can ensure they are reaching maximum brightness.

Pendant Lights:

The tips for cleaning chandelier light fixtures (above) also apply for ceiling pendant lights. Other things to consider:

  • Goodbye, grease: If your pendant lights are hanging in the kitchen, they may be clouded with grease from your culinary endeavors. Use a tiny bit of dishwashing soap and warm water on a lint-free microfiber cloth to wipe away greasy film.
  • Spray and wipe: For easily reachable pendants, spray with a gentle cleaning solution and wipe it with a lint-free cloth.
  • Don’t forget rods, cords and cables: You can wipe these clean with a dry cloth, extendable duster, or for braided cords, ropes or cables, try canned air.
Viewpoint 24 Inch Cage Pendant by Quoizel

Sconces and Flush-Mount Lights:

Follow the same tips as above to clean your ceiling flush-mount lights, in addition to this piece of advice:

  • Dust the drum: For drum or bowl-shaped flush-mount lights, be sure to remove the drum in order to thoroughly dust both the inside and outside. Built-up dust that’s close to a hot lightbulb (especially a halogen bulb) can cause odors and may even become a fire hazard.

Cleaning tips by material:

Cleaning Crystals:

  • Use a solution of mild dish soap and water to clean each individual crystal piece.
  • Wear white cotton gloves to avoid getting fingerprints on your newly cleaned crystals.

Cleaning Glass:

  • DO NOT place glass parts in the dishwasher. Make your own solution for cleaning glass lights by using 1 part vinegar and 3 parts warm water. Add to a spray bottle for ease of use.
  • Be sure to wipe the glass completely dry to avoid unsightly water spots.
Trinity 48 Inch 1 Light LED Chandelier by Hinkley Lighting

Cleaning Metals:

  • When cleaning metal light fixtures, pay attention to how the fixture is finished.
  • For copper, steel, brass, nickel or bronze finishes, use a damp cloth or a solution of warm, soapy water to wipe down the surface.
  • Specialty finishes (think rubbed bronze or gold leaf, like you’ll find on the Houdini Cage Pendant) are typically very delicate and should be wiped with a dry cloth only.
Houdini 28 Inch Cage Pendant by Corbett Lighting

Cleaning Complicated, Textured or Layered Surfaces:

  • Use a soft toothbrush to get into any hard-to-reach nooks and crannies.

Cleaning Light Fixtures: How Often is Enough?

Dust, dirt, grime, food particles, even hair and dead skin cells — they’re all floating through the air in your home and accumulating on the surfaces where they land. And for fixtures that have layers or textures, that dust, dirt and debris can become trapped, even with regular wipedowns.

All that buildup can dull finishes and dirty up glass, which may make your lights appear dimmer – it can even add up to wasted energy! That’s why it’s a good idea to do at least one deep clean per year — although we recommend a serious cleaning every few months and weekly dustings and wipings, if you can swing it. Doing so ensures your fixtures will be as pristine and sparkling as the day you bought them (at Capitol Lighting, of course). Brilliant!

Gemma 16 Inch Large Pendant by Fredrick Ramond

If you’re ready to spring clean your home from top to bottom, why not start at the top with the light fixtures hanging from your ceiling? After all, cleaning the light fixtures in your home is more than just a bright idea — it’ll literally make your home shine!

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