What's the safest way to clean ceiling lights?

Before we start, first and foremost here we need to think health and safety. As you will most probably need to climb a ladder of some sort then always get some assistance. This is handy too for passing parts that you can easily remove without having to climb up and down the ladder repeatedly.

Most of us probably clean our ceiling light fittings rather less often than perhaps we should. When you consider that a dirty bulb and/ or shade can reduce the amount of light received into your room by up to 20 % then perhaps we should endeavour to do it a little bit more often. Not to mention the unpleasant view we might have of dust and dead insects slowly amassing over our heads.

That said obviously some ceiling light fittings are going to be much more easily reached and therefore cleaned than others. Okay, let’s begin. Before you climb your ladder make sure you have any tools you might need to remove parts that are removable for washing i.e. a small screwdriver. Also take a duster and a damp cleaning cloth with you so that you can remove any light dust and perhaps grime in-situ.

Take extreme care when removing light bulbs as over time they can become stuck in the fitting, use a cloth to protect your hands and fingers and make sure you know if your fittings are twist and turn, push fit or screw in. A lot of time and can be saved when you know this in advance. There is generally a fairly obvious way that your light fitting will dismantle and which parts can most easily be removed.

Firstly carefully remove lamp shades and any glass bowls or fittings and these should be placed on a clean, dry surface. If you have a glass chandelier, then the easiest way to clean it in-situ is to hang an umbrella underneath it and spray the crystals with a 50/50 mix of water and vinegar or perhaps an over the counter glass cleaner. The cleaning residue will drip into the umbrella and not onto your flooring or furniture. It might be wise to wear some eye protection and a coverall whilst you do this.

Allow the cleaner to drip into the umbrella and hey presto, a sparkling chandelier with minimal effort. Dust fabric or pleated shades with a lamb’s wool duster as this will remove and collect the dust more easily and use a soft dry cloth for more persistent grime. The brush attachment of your vacuum can be good for any fabrics and a damp toothbrush will reach even those impossible places where the dust seems to accumulate.

Glass or ceramic shades and fittings can be immersed in warm mild soapy water, as can any other removable fittings, and again a tooth brush can be used for those nooks and crannies. Remember NEVER immerse any electrical fittings from your light in water, they simply don't mix and are a potential or actual electrical shock hazard.

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