Make lights sparkle to brighten spaces and conserve energy

Dusting regularly can prevent the buildup of grime that’s difficult to wash off. Thinkstock/bmcent1 photo
Dusting regularly can prevent the buildup of grime that’s difficult to wash off. Thinkstock/bmcent1 photo

As days get shorter and natural light is less abundant, interior lighting becomes ever more important. Chandeliers, pendant lamps, recessed lighting, and tableside lamps are most effective when they are clean. HGTV experts say dirty lights can give off up to 20 percent less light than clean ones. Dirty fixtures also waste energy.

Lighting fixtures that are within reach are easy to tackle, but what about those fixtures that hang or have multiple crystals, globes or bulbs? These tips can cut down on the time needed to give lights a thorough cleaning.

Stock up on the right cleaning supplies. Microfiber dusting cloths are smart choices because they can help trap grime and tend to be machine-washable and reusable. Extendable static-charged dusters are another handy item to have around, particularly for fixtures that are hard to reach.

Dust regularly. Dusting regularly can prevent the buildup of grime that’s difficult to wash off. Try to dust light fixtures weekly or biweekly. The more frequent the fixtures are dusted, the less time each cleaning session will take. Soft cloths can remove the dust from most bulbs and exterior surfaces. Lamp shades may need more attention. Use a lamb’s-wool duster to attract dirt so it doesn’t leave a residue on the lampshade.

Deep-clean at table level. Deep-cleaning at table level is more manageable. Remove any glass accents and set them out on a cushioned surface so they do not break. Soft cloths dampened with a vinegar solution should remove most of the dirt on chandelier crystals and the globes or outer glass coverings of other types of fixtures. Take a photo of the lighting fixture prior to cleaning so you’ll know how to replace removed parts correctly once everything is clean and dry.

If you cannot remove a fixture for cleaning, use a sturdy stool, a spray bottle with your cleaning mixture and a soft cloth to wipe away the dirt. Remember to place something absorbent beneath the light to catch any drips. Do not spray liquids directly onto light bulbs; otherwise, you can damage the bulb and the electrical components.

It’s best to exercise caution when cleaning lighting fixtures. Turn off the light itself and shut off the circuit breaker to avoid the risk of shock or burns from hot bulbs.


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