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How to Clean Light Fixtures Both Inside and Out

three rusted dangling black light fixtures hanging from a high ceiling

Aside from spreading light, there is one thing that all light fixtures have in common – they attract dust, dirt, cobwebs, insects, and more! The combination is not only unsightly but it also reduces the amount of illumination coming from the bulb. In other words, you’re not getting your money’s worth due to dirty light fixtures!

Along with other ceiling and wall fixtures, lighting is often overlooked when cleaning or, at the very least, lightly dusted from time to time. Nevertheless, if the fixtures are not cleaned thoroughly once in a while, the accumulation of dust, dirt, cobweb, and more, leads to a state of complete filth. 

Now, the question is: how do you clean different types of light fixtures? Well, fortunately, Maid For You have got all the answers you are looking for! Read on.

Precautions When Cleaning Light Fixtures

white light fixture against the backdrop of a white wall

Cleaning light fixtures present a number of potential dangers and therefore, must be carried out with basic safety precautions in place. Without taking these measures, you run the risk of injury, minor or severe. Along with the fact that you are dealing with an electrical unit, lights are generally installed at a height that requires the use of a ladder, and steady legs! 

Let’s take a look at the safety precautions one must follow when cleaning light fixtures inside and out:

  • Turn off the power supply at the distribution board before you begin; only the room/area where the light is will need to be turned off  
  • Double-check that the electricity has been cut off by flipping the light switch on
  • Make sure that the light has been off for at least an hour so that the bulb cools down
  • Always have a spotter when climbing up a ladder
  • Never use a wet cloth to clean the bulb and holder
  • Avoid spraying the light fixture directly with a liquid cleaning solution or water
  • For removable fixtures, unscrew them carefully and hand them to your spotter before climbing down the ladder
  • Handle fragile materials with extreme caution as dropping them from a height may cause serious injury

How to Take Down Light Fixtures

man in blue button up shirt removing cover from light fitting

You can clean a lighting fixture more easily and efficiently when it is taken down. This is a rather simple task but, of course, it requires the right knowledge and guidance if never done before.

Here are the steps to take down a lighting fixture:

WARNING: Make sure that the safety measures mentioned above are in place (refer to “Precautions When Cleaning Light Fixtures”) before cleaning or taking down your lighting fixtures.

  1. Unscrew/release the plate concealing the wiring inside the ceiling or wall.
  2. Remove the plastic caps covering the wiring for the light.
  3. Untwist the wires to separate them.
  4. Hold the light fixture firmly with one hand while you unscrew it from the metal holder.
  5. Lower the fixture and pass it down to your spotter.

How to Clean Different Types of Light Fixtures

man in blue shirt placing cover on light fitting

While deep cleaning methods will vary from one type of light fixture to another, the basic rule of thumb is to dust them at least once a week using a long-handled feather duster (preferably one with electrostatic fibres to prevent dust from becoming airborne). This will keep dust, cobwebs and dead bugs (entangled in web) to a minimum.

When the time comes to deep clean your lighting fixtures, inside and out, follow their respective cleaning guides below. 

Recessed Lights

Considering how compact these types of lighting fixtures are, they are very easy to clean and maintain. Moreover, since they are built into the wall, the inside remains relatively clean while the exterior generally encounters dirt and stains over time.

Follow the steps below to clean your recessed lights inside and out:

  1. Use your fingers to gently pull the outer rim of the fixture downward, thereby removing the fixture from the wall. If you would like to take down the fixture, the wires will need to be removed as explained earlier (refer to “How to Take Down Light Fixtures”).
  2. Clean the interior walls and around the bulb using a feather duster. 
  3. Dust the exterior with a cloth and then wipe it down with a damp cloth. For stubborn grime, spray a clean microfibre cloth with all-purpose cleaner, and wipe the surface thoroughly. 
  4. Allow the recessed lighting fixture to dry completely before fitting it back into the ceiling.

Chandeliers

Whether they are real or faux crystals, chandeliers are incredibly fragile and must be handled very carefully. If you are not fully confident about taking down your chandelier for a thorough clean, we suggest calling in a professional house cleaning service to do the job for you. Of course, you can also clean your chandelier without taking the entire fixture down, however, this is more tedious, time-consuming, and dangerous as you will need to spend more time up on the ladder.

Nevertheless, if you are up for the task, here’s how to deep clean a crystal chandelier:

  1. Put on a pair of rubber gloves to avoid leaving fingerprints on the crystals.
  2. Disassemble the chandelier by removing each strand of crystals (if it has a complex pattern, you might want to take a few pictures beforehand just for reference when reassembling it).
  3. Remove dust and cobwebs from the strands using a feather duster.
  4. A simple cleaning solution made from warm water and any mild detergent of your choice can be used to clean the chandelier. Dampen a soft, lint-free cloth in the cleaning solution, and wipe down each crystal.
  5. Lay each wiped strand of crystals down on a clean towel.
  6. Use a dry dust cloth to wipe the bulb/holder, and a damp cloth to clean the rest of the lighting fixture.
  7. Reassemble the chandelier and fix it back up before turning the power back on.

Glass Fixtures

Whether they are flush-mounted ceiling lights, wall sconces, or pendant lights, glass lighting fixtures get pretty dull and stained thanks to the dust, dirt, and dead bugs they are prone to. While regular dusting and a quick wipe down will keep the glass looking relatively clean, a deep clean is the only way to get the surface to shine again!

Take a look at these simple steps to clean your glass lighting fixtures:

  1. Unscrew/remove the glass shade from the fixture.
  2. Wipe it inside and outside to remove dust, cobweb, bugs, etc.
  3. If there is stubborn dirt or stains present on the glass, soak it in a warm, soapy solution for 10 minutes.
  4. Use a soft sponge or non-abrasive scrubber to clean the glass fixture.
  5. Rinse it thoroughly and wipe dry. Set it aside to air-dry completely.
  6. For the rest of the lighting fixture, dust it with a clean cloth to remove dirt, cobwebs, etc.
  7. When the glass shade is dry, fix it back up. 

Clean light fixtures, inside and out, mean brighter, energy-efficient lighting for the whole house! The added benefit is that they will last longer when properly cleaned and maintained in a timely manner. So, keeping the all-important safety precautions in mind, go ahead and start cleaning your light fixtures to brighten up your home!

Adriana Aziz is the operations manager at MaidForYou. With over 6 years of experience managing cleaning operations, she knows all the best hacks when it comes to cleaning residential and commercial buildings. With expert experience in managing house cleaning operations, interior design and logistics. She spends her free time with her family and as a freelance food critic.

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