How to Clean Light Fixtures

Light fixtures can set the tone for every room in the house, which is why it’s important to keep them clean. After all, dusty and grimy is probably not the mood you had in mind when you were selecting your chandeliers or picking out those Einstein bulbs.

Learn how to clean light bulbs and light fixtures so that your home is filled with a warm and welcoming glow.

Note: The first step in knowing how to clean light fixtures and light bulbs is safety. First, the bulbs themselves should be cool; hot bulbs may explode when touched or exposed to cleaning products. You should always make sure the power source is switched off or unplugged before you start cleaning. And when you’re working on fixtures with cleaning solutions, you should also cut turn off the power to the room. Make sure you or someone in your home knows how to operate your circuit breaker or fuse box before attempting this.

Light Bulbs

If you’re taking the time to clean fixtures, you may as well clean the bulbs. They only add a few minutes to the task, and all you need is a dry microfiber cloth.

  1. Unscrew the light bulb.
  2. Wipe dust away from the bulb using a damp microfiber cloth. A dry cloth won’t do the trick here because the heat from bulbs can bake dust onto the surface.
  3. Replace the light bulb.

Chandeliers and Pendant Light Fixtures

As you can probably imagine, cleaning a chandelier can be a time-consuming task, so it’s a good thing you really only need to do it once or twice a year. And if you don’t have the time to spare, you can always call your local Merry Maids for help with chandelier cleaning. Merry Maids uses a special crystal-cleaning formula that is sprayed on and left to drip dry. These products are also available online if you want to try them out yourself.

For dedicated DIYers, there are two methods of cleaning these light fixtures: with the crystals on or with the crystals off. Which is the best way to clean chandeliers? Well, that depends on whether you’d rather spend a long amount of time standing on a ladder or whether you’d rather reassemble your light fixture.

Below you’ll find instructions for the crystals-off method, which allows you to spend more time sitting down, rather than balancing. It’s also more or less the same method you’d use on ceiling fan globes or pendant light fixtures with globes or bell-shaped glass.

Note: Regardless of what type of light fixture you’re cleaning, this is a two-person job.

You’ll need:

  • Gloves
  • A spray bottle
  • Several microfiber cloths
  • Distilled white vinegar
  • Water
  • A ladder or stepstool
  • A blanket
  • A towel
  • A cleaning buddy

If you have a chandelier, take several pictures from multiple angles before you start cleaning. You’ll need these as a guide when it’s time to replace the crystals. If your pendant lighting has globes of different sizes, you may want to take pictures as well.

  • Turn off the light fixture and wait for all the bulbs to completely cool.
  • Set a folded blanket down on the floor under your chandelier or pendant light. This will provide a cushion in case any pieces fall. You’ll also need to set a towel on a nearby surface so that you have a place to lay chandelier crystals, globes and any other hardware you’ve removed.
  • Have your cleaning buddy steady the ladder so that you can easily reach your light fixture. Tip: Make sure your ladder is not set on the blanket, as this could make it wobble.
  • Carefully remove the crystals from your chandelier. Work from the top to the bottom so that you can keep them in order, and pass them down to your cleaning partner. You’ll use a similar process for pendant lighting, but you’ll need to take extra care to ensure you don’t misplace any screws or other hardware.
  • Remove any excess dust by wiping your crystals or globe using a dry microfiber cloth. With chandelier crystals, you’ll want to make sure you’re working in the order you set your pieces down on the blanket. Do everything you can to make reassembly easier. You’ll thank yourself later.
  • Combine one part vinegar to three parts water in a spray bottle.
  • Put on your gloves and spritz a clean microfiber cloth with your solution. Use this to wipe your crystals or globe. The gloves help prevent any smudges.
  • Use a dry microfiber cloth to remove any of the remaining solution and to buff out streaks. Your globe, crystals and hardware should be absolutely dry before you replace them.
  • Before returning the globe or crystals to their place, use a dry microfiber cloth or duster to remove any dust from the metal part of the fixture. For stuck-on grime, you can lightly moisten your microfiber cloth with a mixture of water and a few drops of dishwashing liquid.
  • Put your crystals or globes back into place, and restore power to the light fixture.
  • High five your cleaning buddy for a job well done.

Now you know how to clean light fixtures like a pro. Looking to brighten your home a bit more? Check out these instructions on busting dust and dirt from your lampshades.

Next > What Cleaning Supplies Do I Need to Clean My Home?