How to Clean a Chandelier

Chandeliers are known for being beautiful and intricate, and those very qualities make the task of cleaning one seem less than desirable. The work is well worth the reward, however, as the result will be absolutely stunning. Here’s what to do.

How to Clean a Chandelier (Dry Method)

Avoid worries of moisture entering the electrical components of the light by cleaning and polishing the components without using liquids.

What You Will Need:

  • Ladder
  • A minimum of two microfiber cloths
  • Windex or other glass cleaner

The Cleaning Process:

  1. Make sure the light is off and the bulbs are cool before you get started.
  2. Set the ladder up so that it is sturdy. Be sure that it is high enough to comfortably reach the chandelier.
  3. Start at the top and work your way around the fixture, moving from top to bottom and from the inside out.
  4. Spray Windex on one cloth and wipe each piece of glass with it.
  5. Use the second cloth to polish the cleaned glass.
  6. Clean or replace microfiber cloths when they become dirty.

How to Clean a Chandelier (Wet Method)

This method is much faster, but you’ll need to take your time with the preparations.

What You Will Need:

  • Ladder
  • Plastic sandwich bags
  • Rubber bands
  • Chandelier Cleaner
  • Plastic sheeting or tarp

The Cleaning Process:

  1. Make sure light bulbs are off and cool before beginning.
  2. Spread the tarp or sheeting under the chandelier to capture drips.
  3. Set the ladder up so that it is stable.
  4. Climb the ladder and secure a plastic bag over individual light bulbs by tightly wrapping a rubber band around the fixture beneath each bulb.
  5. Spray the entire fixture with Chandelier Cleaner, making sure to thoroughly wet the chandelier from every angle.
  6. Allow the chandelier to drip dry.
  7. Carefully remove the tarp.

How to Clean a Chandelier Piece by Piece

For the most thorough clean possible, take the chandelier apart and hand wash it piece by piece. Here’s how:

What You Will Need:

  • Ladder
  • Thick blanket
  • Pencil
  • Paper
  • Digital camera (recommended)
  • Mild dish detergent
  • Very hot water
  • Plastic colander
  • Lint free cloth

The Cleaning Process:

  1. Do not start working until the lights are off and the bulbs are cool.
  2. Set up the ladder in a stable position.
  3. Put a thick or folded blanket under the fixture to catch and cushion any pieces that you may drop.
  4. Before you begin to disassemble the chandelier, it is highly recommended that you take pictures of it from several angles in case there are any questions about how to put it back together. If that isn’t possible, use the pencil and paper to sketch the major design details out to serve as a reminder.
  5. Remove pieces one by one, laying them out carefully on the blanket.
  6. Once all of the pieces are down, transfer a few to the plastic colander.
  7. Rinse them under very hot water.
  8. Use a very small amount of mild detergent over the pieces.
  9. Continue to rinse until all soap reside has washed off.
  10. Lay the pieces out on the lint free cloth to let dry.
  11. Continue until all of the components have been washed.
  12. Allow to air dry, or polish with a lint free cloth.
  13. Reassemble the chandelier.

Additional Tips and Advice:

  • If possible, check the manufacturer’s website for cleaning tips for the specific product that you are cleaning.
  • Vinegar will work in the place of dish detergent, but it is not recommended to allow it to come in contact with metal or brass pieces of your fixture.
  • Clean metal elements with a special cleaner or polish made for the type of metal that you have. For more information, see our articles about cleaning metals.
  • For best results and to make work easier, dust before washing.
  • When you put a chandelier back together, work from the inside out with the center pieces going back together first.
  • Don’t forget to dust the light bulbs when you are finished!

Comments

  1. Tia says:

    This is from two gentlemen from an age when you would rent a tux to mingle with high society in NY:

    They said to lay a sheet down, get a bottle of gin, put it in a spray bottle and start from the top down, and spray the heck out of it! Your crystals will be brilliant!

  2. Buck says:

    Instead of spreading a tarp, hang an umbrella upside down from a safe point on the chandelier – it will catch the drops.

  3. Kristi says:

    I was told on a tour to my state capital, that the chandeliers there were cleaned by workers wearing white cotton gloves sprayed with cleaner. Go over the crystals with dry gloves to polish after cleaned. Gloves are changed if they become soiled. I don’t have any chandeliers, so I’ve never tried it, but it sounds sensible.

  4. Susan says:

    I just bought a custom chandelier. I love it, but am a little worried about cleaning it. I think that maybe a dishwasher might work? It cleans my other crystal. Any ideas?

  5. Anna says:

    Don’t put any glass you care about in the dishwasher. Dishwasher detergent is very caustic and will scratch your glasses and your crystal chandelier.

  6. Colin says:

    I believe a mixture of water and ammonia works. Blow loose dust off with compressed air; spray the glass with the solution. Finish off spraying 100% purified water and allow to dry.

  7. Irma says:

    Surprisingly enough, Avon Bubble Bath is known to clean chandeliers and light fixtures!

  8. Wilkinson says:

    We have been cleaning chandeliers for over 60 years. Our recommendation – warm water and washing up liquid. Simple as that. Wipe each element over carefully and then wipe it dry with a lint-free cloth. So-called professional cleaning sprays leave residues, which can damage metalwork and, in fact, attract dust.
    Make sure to take care with older pieces as they are more easily damaged and can be harder to replace.
    Hope that this helps you all.

  9. Sheila says:

    Wilkinson, what is washing up liquid?
    Thanks.

  10. Rose says:

    What is washing up liquid?

  11. Melanie says:

    Rose,
    Dish liquid (Dawn, etc.) is often called “washing-up liquid” in the UK.
    Source: Cambridge Dictionaries Online – Washing-up liquid.

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