Cleaning the light fixtures throughout your home ensures that your bulbs put out the amount of lumens they should and keeps the ambiance bright. Built-up dust and grime can make bulbs appear up to 30 percent dimmer and, if the shades or covers are dirty too, you diminish the amount of light even more.
DO: Be Prepared Before You Start
Cleaning light fixtures will take some time, preparation and the proper tools. Doing all the fixtures in the home at the same time will make sure you have everything you need handy for faster cleaning.
When cleaning your lights, you’ll want to make sure the power to all of them is off to avoid any risk of shock. Make sure you position your ladder so the feet are flat on the floor to avoid tipping, and move it as needed so you aren’t trying to stretch to reach a fixture.
Tools and Supplies
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: Certain types of glass finishes, such as Scavo, can be clouded by detergents. Test a small, inconspicuous area before using a soap on your glass hardware.
DON’T: Be in a Hurry
Proper and safe cleaning of the lights and bulbs in your home isn’t something you can rush through. Give yourself enough time to clean everything thoroughly and safely so you can enjoy the beauty and avoid accidents.
DO: Know Your Fixture Type
Different types of fixtures require different care for the best results.
Clean chandeliers with the following steps:
- Remove the bulbs and wipe with a soft cloth.
- Note where each crystal goes for reassembly.
- Place any pendants, crystals and saucers in warm, soapy water.
- Wipe each piece gently and dry quickly to avoid water spots.
- Use a damp cloth to wipe down the base.
- Reassemble the pieces.
When cleaning flushmount indoor ceiling lights, remove the covers and soak them in warm soapy water. Remove and wipe down the bulbs, and use a damp cloth to clean the fixture. Clean and dry the covers.
You can clean most pendant lights in place. After wiping the bulbs down, use the damp cloth to clean the globes, cables and extension rods. If you have intricate fixtures, you may need to remove the globes and soak them in warm, soapy water.
Clean your ceiling fans by removing the globes and soaking them in soapy water while you wipe down the bulbs and fixtures. Carefully clean and dry the globes. Make sure you don’t try to use the blades to keep yourself steady while on the ladder. They can move suddenly, which can lead to accidents.
For recessed lights or LED ceiling lights simply remove and wipe the bulbs. Use a damp cloth on the inside and outside of the canisters and dry thoroughly.
DO: Clean Your Bulbs for Brighter Lights
You can safely and effectively clean all bulb types using a dry, soft cloth. Make sure you don’t try to scrub too hard to avoid shattering. The more dirty bulbs may require replacing.
Pro Tip: DON’T apply force to a tight bulb. Instead, cut a long section of duct tape, make it into a loop and apply it to the bulb so there is a handle on each side for easier twisting.
DO: Treat Each Shade with Care
Use the following tips for clean shades:
- Glass Shades – Use a soft damp cloth for light cleaning, or a gentle glass cleaner or soapy water for tough grime.
- Fabric Shades – Most fabric shades can be vacuumed gently to remove excess dirt. For serious stains, you’ll want to consider a dry cleaning product that you can use at home.
- Beaded Shades – Vacuum beaded shades frequently to avoid dust buildup. Use a damp cloth to remove stubborn spots, making sure to wipe gently and avoiding rubbing too hard on the beading.
- Paper Shades – In many cases you’ll be able to simply wipe paper shades with a dry cloth. If the dirt and dust becomes thick, you’ll need to replace it.
Pro Tip: DON’T put shades in a dishwasher or washing machine. Doing so will only ruin the shape and the material, and the cleaning solutions can cloud the glass and soldering points.
DO: Help Your Finishes Shine a Little Brighter
Light fixtures have different finishes, and there are plenty of home remedies to keep them clean. While most can be cleaned with a damp cloth, you can keep brass and painted bases looking great with a solution of mild soap and a cloth. Wipe bases made of metal or brass with a damp cloth. Metal and wood bases also benefit from a quick polish with lemon oil for added luster.
Keep Your Home Bright
Hopefully, this list of cleaning light fixtures shed some light on the task. The combination of clean bulbs and shades will enhance every room, and you’ll get more light and longer use from your bulbs. Easily accomplished in an afternoon, this DIY project will brighten your home and your mood once it’s done.