Here is a compilation of our top cleaning and maintenance advice to keep your fixture looking great year after year. (Please take note: If the manufacturer provided cleaning instructions with your fixture, use those instead. These are general recommendations in the event that your fixture didn’t come with any care and upkeep guidelines.)
In general, the “secret” to keeping your lights shining bright is regular cleaning. By “regular,” we mean at least a couple of times a year if you can manage it.
Why Should You Regularly Clean Your Light Fixtures?
Regular cleaning prevents dust and debris from accumulating, allowing you to clean delicately (and possibly expediting the task a little). Additionally, it’s crucial to regularly clean areas like bathrooms and kitchens because of the high humidity and odors from cooking.
What About Safety?
Preserve safety at all times. Make sure the light fixture is turned off before starting any upkeep or cleaning. If the fixture is permanently installed, switch off the circuit breaker rather than just the light switch. To make sure no electricity is flowing, doing this is always the safest option. Make sure to unplug any table or floor lamps.
How to Clean Different Types of Light Fixtures
The experts at Destination Lighting have developed the best cleaning advice for various types of lighting, including recessed ceiling lights, glass fixtures with yellowed lenses, and greasy light fixtures.
Before You Clean
Gather the following supplies and tools before you get started:
- Soft cloth
- Plain water
- Mild, glass-safe detergent
- Warm water
- Vacuum for fabric, rattan and beaded lamp shades
Pro Tip: Detergents have the potential to cloud certain glass finishes, including Scavo. Before using a soap on your glass hardware, test a small, discrete area. If you want to clean stained or yellowed glass light fixtures, think about giving them a soak in white vinegar.
DON’T: Rush the Process
You cannot rush through safely and properly cleaning your home’s lights and bulbs. Give yourself enough time to thoroughly and safely clean everything to prevent accidents. After finishing, you can admire your entire home’s lovely brilliance.
DO: Know Your Fixture Type
For the best results, different fixture types require different maintenance.
Clean Fabric Lampshades
Try using a lint roller or microfiber cloth to remove dust from a lampshade first. If that doesn’t work, carefully use a vacuum cleaner with an upholstery attachment to get rid of stubborn dust or dust that got caught in a pleated shade’s folds.
Apply diluted liquid soap to a soft cloth and gently wipe the shade down to spot-clean fabric shades. Then, follow up with a cloth dampened only in water to help rinse the soap out of the fabric.
- Pro tip: Before wiping down your shade with a damp cloth, make sure it’s made of fabric and not paper. Water and paper don’t mix well, as we all know. Paper shades should only be cleaned using dry methods.
Clean Glass Lampshades
Glass shades should be cleaned using a soft, dry cloth (microfiber works well for this). Be gentle, especially when using textured or painted-finish shades. In the event that you scrub too hard, these may come off.
If a dry cloth isn’t working, dampen it with some liquid soap that has been diluted in a lot of water. After using the cleaning solution, rinse it off the glass by wiping it down with a cloth dipped in clean water.
- Pro tip: Be cautious with glass cleaners! Glass with painted or textured finishes can be damaged by the chemicals.
Clean Metal Pendant Lights
While routine dusting will help to keep general dust and dirt at bay, over time grime and residues can build up, especially in high-use areas like the kitchen, and oxidization can happen. At this point, it’s time to give your metal pendant lights a more in-depth clean:
- First, remove the bulbs and place them on a stable, lined surface
- Carefully remove the pendant – if necessary, take a photo to help you later with reassembling
- Dampen a lint-free cloth in some warm water
- Gently wipe over all surfaces of the pendant, taking care to get into all those nooks and crannies
- Buff the pendant with a dry, lint-free cloth
- Wipe down the fittings and cables
- Give the bulbs a wipe – if using a damp cloth, avoid the metal base
- Allow everything to dry fully
- Carefully replace the pendant
- Reinsert the bulbs – replacing any that are damaged or discolored
Take a moment to admire your magnificent metal pendant light before standing back.
Clean and Care for Metal Components on Light Fixtures?
Metal parts can be cleaned most effectively with a soft, dry cloth or a cloth dampened with a mild solution of liquid soap and water (do you sense a pattern here?).
A lot of fixtures have been lacquered to protect the metal finish from wear and tear over time, so take care not to remove or harm the lacquer. In general, stay away from metal cleaners and chemical cleaners because they can harm the finish or remove a fixture’s lacquer.
Clean Crystal Light Fixtures, Like Chandeliers
Carefully use a feather duster to maintain a crystal fixture. For a more thorough cleaning that will restore crystal to its original shine, do the following:
- Take each crystal out of the fixture slowly.
- In a water and liquid soap solution, clean the crystals.
- To prevent any water spotting, thoroughly rinse and dry the crystals.
Important note: Avoid using spray cleaners or other cleaners marketed as crystal cleaners. Over time, these can harm the chandelier’s metal finish.
- Pro tip #1: To make it simple to put the crystals back where they belong after cleaning, some crystal manufacturers offer trim diagrams that show exactly where each crystal goes on the fixture. To avoid frustration later, take lots of pictures of the fixture being disassembled with your phone if you don’t have access to a diagram.
- Pro tip #2: Lay a soft blanket or towel down in front of the crystal fixture before you start cleaning it. This prevents any crystals from breaking or chipping if they fall while you’re cleaning.
How to Clean: Flush Mount Ceiling Lights
Take off the covers and soak them in warm, soapy water to clean flush mount indoor ceiling lights. Use a damp cloth to clean the fixture after removing and cleaning the bulbs. Prior to reinstalling, clean and dry the covers.
Clean Pendant Lights
Most pendant lights can be cleaned right where they are. After cleaning the bulbs, use the damp cloth to clean the extension rods, cables, and globes. If your fixtures are intricate, you might need to take the globes off and soak them in warm, soapy water.
Clean Ceiling Fans
While cleaning the fixtures and bulbs on your ceiling fans, remove the globes and soak them in soapy water. The globes should be thoroughly cleaned and dried. While on the ladder, avoid attempting to use the fan blades to maintain your balance because they have a tendency to move suddenly and could cause an accident.
Clean Recessed/Can Lights
Simply take out and clean the bulbs for LED ceiling lights and recessed lights. The canisters should be cleaned both inside and out with a damp cloth, then completely dried.
Final Words: Keep Your Home Bright
This list of methods for cleaning light fixtures in various locations should have clarified the task. Every room in your house will look better with the combination of neat lights and shades, and you’ll get more light and bulb life. Cleaning light fixtures is a DIY project that can be completed in an afternoon and will make your home and your mood better for weeks.