how to clean lamps

Clean lamps and light fixtures allow you to get all that expensive wattage you're paying for.

If you haven't thought about cleaning the lamps and light fixtures in your home lately, it's time you saw the light.

How about a few passes with a duster occasionally or an occasional vacuuming of those neglected lampshades? Consider yourself enlightened.

How to Clean Lamps of Dirt and Dust

To care for table lamps, sconces, and ceiling lights, carefully remove the shades so you can clean the bulb and base.

Next, clean the bulb and base with a damp, clean cloth. Polish dry with a second clean cloth.

To clean washable lamp covers, immerse them in hot soapy water in a sink, bucket, or bathtub (for larger light covers).Wash them gently, rinse thoroughly, and polish dry with a clean towel or rag.

The secret to keeping lamp shades clean is to dust them weekly. Once dirt or grime builds up, it gets more difficult to remove, especially on delicate shades such as parchment or fabric.

Here's how to safely clean lamp shades by material:

  • Beaded lampshades: Vacuum regularly to prevent dust buildup. Wipe occasionally with a damp cloth.
  • Fabric lampshades: Dust with a soft vacuum attachment; take to a professional if necessary.
  • Metal lampshades: Wipe with a soft, damp cloth.
  • Paper lampshades: Wipe; replace when they get too dirty.
  • Parchment lampshades: Dust; remove marks with an eraser.

  • Plastic lampshades: Wash in dishwashing solution.
  • Rattan lampshades: Vacuum often.

  • Silk lampshades: Leave it to the professionals.
  • Glass lamp shades: Wash in dishwashing solution; rinse and dry thoroughly.

How to Clean a Chandelier Without Taking it Down

If you have a chandelier, you can wash it yourself piece by piece, following these steps:

  • 1. Turn off the lights. You might even want to turn this one off at the breaker.
  • 2. Take out all bulbs and wipe them off. Use a soft cloth of paper towel, slightly dampened.
  • 3. Fill two tubs with hot water. Add dish detergent to the wash tub and ammonia to the rinse tub for sparkle. Cushion the bottoms of the tubs with cloths.
  • 4. Remove the crystal drops and saucers and put them in the sudsy water. (Either remove just a few crystal parts at a time or make a diagram of what goes where so you don't have a chandelier jigsaw puzzle to contend with when it's time to put it back together.)
  • 5. Wipe the base of the chandelier. Use a cloth dampened with the wash water.
  • 6. Rinse and dry all parts. Gently, under lightly running water.
  • 7. Replace the parts quickly before you forget where they go. Then replace the bulbs.

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› How to Clean Lamps and Lamp Shades