How To Clean Lamps 

Gloved hand cleaning chandelier.

How to 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. Here's how to clean lamps and lamp shades safely in your home.

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 clean lamps is weekly dusting. Once dirt or grime builds up, it gets more challenging to remove, especially in delicate shades like parchment or fabric.

Here's how to safely clean lampshades by material:

  • Beaded shades: Vacuum regularly to prevent dust buildup. Wipe occasionally with a damp cloth.
  • Fabric shades: Dust with a soft vacuum attachment; take to a professional if necessary.
  • Metal shades: Wipe with a soft, damp cloth.
  • Paper shades: Wipe; replace when they get too dirty.
  • Parchment shades: Dust; remove marks with an eraser.
  • Plastic shades: Wash in dishwashing solution.
  • Rattan shades: Vacuum often.
  • Silk shades: Leave it to the professionals.
  • Glass 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 without taking it down by following these steps:

1.  Turn off the lights. You might even want to turn this one off at the breaker.

2.  Take out all light bulbs. Use a soft cloth or paper towel, slightly dampened, to wipe bulbs clean of built-up dust and dirt.

3.  Fill two buckets with hot water. Add dish detergent to one bucket and ammonia to the rinse tub (second bucket) for added sparkle. Cushion the bucket bottoms with cloths.

4.  Remove the crystal drops and saucers and place in sudsy water. Either remove just a few crystal parts at a time, or make a diagram of what piece 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 clean. Use a cloth dampened with the wash water.

6.  Rinse and cloth-dry all parts. Gently, under lightly running water.

7.  Replace the parts and pieces quickly - before you forget where they go. Then replace the bulbs.


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