Fixture Fixes

We Shed Some Light On How To Best Clean Light Fixtures

Ever walk into a room and wonder “why’s it so dark in here?” The answer may not be in the quality of your lighting but rather the quality of cleaning. No shame in admitting it, many of us selectively ignore light fixtures which can be challenging to clean — especially delicate fixtures such as crystal chandeliers or globed items. 

But the fact is, dirty bulbs produce 30 percent less light than clean ones, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Banishing dust from your bulbs doesn’t have to be difficult. We shed some light on your lighting situation with a few fixes for your fixtures that will help brighten up your home one bulb at a time.

Regular Dusting

Light fixtures should really be dusted weekly. You can do this with the fixtures still in place by using a long-handled dusting tool that can reach ceiling fixtures, chandeliers and recessed lighting.

  • Crystal chandeliers should be dusted weekly anyway but once per year you’ll want to do a deep cleaning.
  • Ceiling fixtures should be carefully taken down and given a bath in a soapy sink full of water to clear dust, bugs and grime that are hiding just inside. 
  • Some experts advise avoiding the dishwasher method for cleaning glass fixtures like globes but others say it can be done — carefully — if placed in the top rack and secured. This would exclude anything with metal or wood trim that could be damaged by the dishwasher. Normal dishwashing detergent works fine for most of these fixtures, but a rinse aid might help non-frosted variety
  • Be sure to dust light bulbs with a dry cloth to avoid damaging the lamp with water. 

Fixture-Specific Fixes 

  • Recessed lighting should be dusted only after the light has been turned off for at least an hour. If you want to do a deeper clean, you can wipe the interior by first removing the bulb and wiping the area/bulb with a damp cloth.
  • Pendant lights, if easy to reach, can be cleaned in place. Again, be sure to first turn off the light and allow the bulbs cool. You can then spray and wipe the outside of globes with a microfiber cloth and cleaning spray. The bulbs and hanging components should be dry dusted. 
  • Ornamental fixtures may have delicate areas so have a feather duster handy or you can try a dry paintbrush which will get into any areas that aren’t removable.
  • The crystal chandelier can be cleaned without taking it down with a little bit of prep work. After turning off the lights and allowing cooling time, place a drop cloth beneath you to catch any dustfall and secure a step ladder that is comfortable and appropriate height. Use glass cleaner or a specific chandelier cleaner and a clean cotton cloth. From your ladder you can get to work by spraying your cloth and wiping down each crystal then drying it with a separate cloth. Wearing an apron to hold your cleaning tools is helpful while working from a ladder or try wearing two soft cotton gloves instead of using cleaning cloths, but keep in mind you may need multiple gloves if cleaning many crystals. 

Other Quick Fixes

  • Dryer sheets are cheap and work great for dusting bulbs.
  • Wearing goggles when dusting or spritzing overhead fixtures will save your eyes from falling dust and cleaning solution.
  • Built-up dust and grime may require a damp dusting with all-purpose cleaner. An old sock or the glove method both work well for this.