How to Deep Clean Light Fixtures
From Making a Home: Housekeeping for Real Life (Better Homes & Gardens)
Regular cleaning will keep your lighting sparkling and make your home appear cleaner!
Table and Floor Lamps: Always unplug the lamp before attempting to clean it. Remove the lamp shade and the bulb, and once the bulb is room temperature, wipe the dust off the bulb. Lamps are made of many different materials. If waterproof, wipe with warm, soapy water and a microfiber cloth. Wipe again with clean water and dry with a dry cloth. Replace lampshade and light bulb and plug in the lamp. If your brass is non-coated brass, nickel, or chrome, dust with a soft cloth and polish with a cleaner made for that specific metal.
Lampshades: Remove the lampshade and place it on a solid surface. Vacuum the shade with a vacuum whose suction has been adjusted to light suction and use the soft brush attachment. Other options for cleaning lampshades include using a feather duster, or a soft, clean paintbrush. Do not use a lamb’s wool duster as the lanolin from the wool may stain the fabric. Wipe plastic and metal shades with a slightly damp cloth. Metal shades are prone to rusting, especially around the rivets, so dry quickly and thoroughly. Silk shades, antique shades and those with delicate trims should be dry cleaned.
Ceiling and Wall Lights: Dusting ceiling lights, track lights, canister lights and sconces regularly with a feather or polywool duster will help keep them bright. Removable glass and plastic shades can be washed with warm soapy water, but dry well before replacing them to avoid water spots. For sconces and track lighting, turn off the electricity at the breaker box, then wait for the bulbs to cool down before cleaning with a slightly damp cloth. Dry thoroughly before turning on the power.
Crystal Chandeliers: For regular dusting, use a feather or polywool duster. To deep clean, turn off the power at the breaker box and, when cooled, remove and wipe the bulbs. Place several blankets and a plastic drop cloth on the floor under the chandelier or over the dining room table – the blankets help cushion the fall of any crystals that may drop while you are cleaning and protect the floor. Mix a solution of one part rubbing alcohol (or non-sudsing ammonia) to three parts water. Use distilled water if you live in an area with hard water. If your chandelier is caked with dust, thoroughly dry dust the chandelier with a microfiber cloth or duster – do not use a commercial dusting product as that will leave a residue. While you are dusting, look for problems such as loose wiring or corroded crystal attachments. Once those problems are addressed, cover sockets with plastic sandwich bags and gently spray down the chandelier using the recipe above. You can let the chandelier drip dry or wipe it down with a dry microfiber cloth.
Brass, metal and Other Chandeliers: Dust with a feather, polywool or lambswool duster. Turn off the power at the breaker box and remove the bulbs when cool. Clean the chandelier following the instructions given for table and floor lamps. Replace the bulbs and restore the power.