Safely cleaning light fixtures

As lighting design experts, we at The Light Center like to emphasize the importance of keeping your lighting fixtures in good condition around your home. 

During spring cleaning, it’s essential to pay close attention to all your lighting fixtures and bulbs. Over time, dust accumulates on shades and bulbs, dirt and grime build up on metal and glass fixtures, and bugs and debris can get trapped inside pendant lights and chandeliers. Taking the time to thoroughly yet gently clean your lighting will make a huge difference in your home’s ambiance and appearance. 

In this guide, we will walk through step-by-step tips and tricks for cleaning all the different components of your lighting fixtures. We’ll cover everything from wiping down metal surfaces to cleaning delicate crystal and fabric shades. We will also share some cautionary tales of what NOT to do, so you avoid damaging your beautiful lights. By the end, your lighting will look refreshed and renewed – just in time for summer! The glow of a sparkling clean fixture can truly transform the look and feel of a room.

Dusting and Wiping Down Fixtures

When dusting and wiping down lighting fixtures, use a microfiber cloth or other soft cloth to gently remove dust and dirt. Avoid using paper towels or harsh chemicals, which can scratch delicate surfaces. 

Go over all surfaces, including lamp bases, sconces, chandeliers, and ceiling fans. Use light pressure and short strokes to prevent damaging the fixture. For ceiling fans, dust the blades gently using a sideways swipe from the inner portion near the motor to the blade tips and not too much pressure to avoid imbalance. Clean both sides of the blade for thorough dust removal. 

Take extra care when dusting ornate lamps and chandeliers. Avoid putting too much pressure on decorative elements like crystals and beads, which can break or fall off if mishandled. Use a soft brush or duster to gently whisk away dust in crevices and hard-to-reach areas.

Regular dusting and gentle cleaning keeps fixtures looking their best and helps prevent buildup over time. But take a delicate approach to protect delicate materials and finishes.

Cleaning Lamp Shades and Fabric

Fabric lamp shades collect dust and dirt over time, so it’s important to clean them regularly. Here are some tips for properly caring for fabric shades:

  • Lamb’s wool dusters are the best source for cleaning shades with a gentle touch. Many lampshades can be lightly vacuumed using a soft brush attachment. Avoid vigorous motions that could damage the fabric. A soft, damp washcloth can remove moth stains or other discolorations from all fabric shades, while a pencil eraser or magic eraser can sometimes do the trick on white or light hardback shades. Always test a small area first.
  • When in doubt, it’s best to contact a lighting professional for cleaning advice based on the fabric.

Regular dusting and prompt spot cleaning helps preserve the beauty of fabric lampshades. Take care when cleaning to avoid damage. For thorough cleanings or restoration, consult a cleaning specialist.

Cleaning Glass Shades and Fixtures 

When cleaning glass shades or fixtures, it’s important to be gentle and use the proper materials. Avoid using paper towels, which can leave behind lint and scratches. Instead, use a microfiber cloth or duster. Avoid multipurpose cleaners, which may have chemicals that can damage finishes. We recommend plain water with no chemical agents.

Be cautious of any coating or finishes on glass fixtures. Some antique or art glass lamps have special coatings that protect color or add iridescence. Using the wrong products can strip the coating right off! When in doubt, use only a dry microfiber cloth to wipe down the fixture. A light dusting is better than damaging the piece.

And remember, never place glass from your lighting in the dishwasher!

Cleaning Crystals and Metals

When cleaning lighting fixtures with crystals or metal elements, take special care. Crystals can be cleaned with a specialized crystal cleaner, following the product instructions carefully. We carry a product called “Sparkle Plenty” to spray crystals and glass fixtures. Avoid using harsh chemicals like bleach or ammonia, as these can damage the finish on metal lighting elements. Instead, gently wipe metals with a soft microfiber cloth, taking care not to scratch any protective finish. 

Do Nots! 

When cleaning your lighting, there are a few things you’ll want to avoid:

  • **Never** put any lighting fixtures or components in the dishwasher. The heat, water pressure, and cleaning agents can easily damage finishes, fabrics, crystals, and other materials. Hand wash only with mild soap and water. Many glass elements are difficult or impossible to replace so caution is required to ensure they are not broken. It is best to clean with glass affixed to the fixture in most cases.
  • Use extreme care when handling or removing any glass elements like lamp shades or chandelier prisms. **Glass can easily crack or shatter** if mishandled. Work over a soft surface and have somewhere soft to set pieces if removed.
  • Avoid using harsh chemical cleaners on anything but LEDs or hand-cut crystal fixtures. The chemicals can interact with and **wear down metal finishes** and films on glass. Stick to mild, phosphate-free soap, water, and microfiber cloths for most cleaning.
  • When dusting, be very gentle around lamp blades and other movable parts. **Too much pressure can unbalance or break blades**. Use a soft duster and light touch.
  • On metal elements, stick to water and soft cloths if needed. Chemical cleaners may cause **corrosion or wear on coatings**. Gentle dusting is best for metals.

Focus on care, caution, and gentleness when cleaning your lighting to avoid damage.

Refreshing Your Lighting 

If your lighting fixtures are looking worn out, damaged, or dated, it may be time to replace them. Swapping out old fixtures for new ones can entirely transform a room. Consider the style you want to achieve and choose replacement fixtures accordingly. Our lighting store carries a huge selection of chic, modern options that can give your rooms a fresh updated look.

The spring season offers the perfect opportunity to rejuvenate your home with new lighting. Take advantage of spring cleaning to shop vintage finds, consign unwanted fixtures, or replace worn-out pieces. With some new lighting your rooms will feel lighter, brighter and ready for spring.

Shop the latest trends.

If during your spring cleaning you decide you want to refresh your lighting, we occasionally buy vintage or pre-owned fixtures or lamps. Email us a photo at In our area, we also recommend Consignments by Kristynn for consigning your used fixtures.

We hope these spring cleaning tips help you freshen up your home lighting. Let us know if you have any other questions – we’re here to help!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these <abbr title="HyperText Markup Language">HTML</abbr> tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>


Skip to content