How to Clean Light Fittings

Maximising Visible Light Output

Luminaires come with directions on how to fit them, but they very rarely contain instructions on how to clean lighting fittings and lamp shades. Surprising when the slow build up of dust and dirt accounts for a loss of one-third of light output before the dirt becomes noticeable, according to consumer information from The Lighting Industry Association.

Therefore, cleaning our luminaires regularly not only keeps them as good as new, it also assists in achieving maximum efficiency of the light source.  If you’re in the process of selling your property keeping the luminaires clean, both indoor and outdoor, maintains the value of the luminaire and in turn the value they add to the property.

Steps to Keeping Your Lighting as New

First and foremost ALWAYS SWITCH OFF AND IF POSSIBLE DISCONNECT THE ELECTRICITY SUPPLY BEFORE REMOVING ANY PARTS THAT REQUIRE CLEANING.

There are so many cleaning products on the market that it is easy to pick up a duster and a can of polish, however an abrasive, chemical product should never be used for cleaning luminaires, unless it is a suitable specialist cleaner. Using chemicals on the metal finishes of a luminaire is one of the main culprits in creating a tarnished finish.

Cleaning the Luminaire

The best formula for cleaning the metal components of your lighting is a couple of lint-free cloths and a solution of water and a few drops of washing up liquid or other mild detergent. One of the cloths should be soaked in the water and wrung out until just slightly damp. Using this cloth wipe over the metal surfaces of the luminaires. Dry immediately and buff with the other, dry, cloth.The luminaire should NEVER be immersed in water. Always make sure the luminaire is COMPLETELY dry before reconnection and switching on.

Cleaning the Lamps (Light Bulbs)

Ensure that the lamps have completely cooled before removing them from the fitting – lamps should always be removed from the lampholder before cleaning. Simply wipe the lamp with the slightly damp cloth and immediately dry. Be very careful not to wet the lamp cap.

Glass Shades

Allow the glass shades to completely cool before removing. Glass shades should be removed from the fitting and cleaned in a warm water and washing up liquid solution. Ensure they are completely dry before replacing them. Never put glass shades in the dishwasher.

Fabric Lamp Shades

This really depends upon the quality of fabric used and how the shade was produced. It is a good idea to check the manufacturer’s instructions first and always try a test patch before applying to the rest of the shade.

Next, check if the shade edging has been glued or sewn? If the shade is completely made of fabric with sewn edges it may be sponged gently with cool water. Using hot water many affect any glue used on the trimming. Ensure that the sponge is wrung out well before gently applying.

The metal framework of the shades are generally covered to protect against rust, however if the frame is damaged in any way rusting may occur and mark the fabric. Be sure to thoroughly dry the framework to prevent any rusting.

Some shades are paper or card backed and should not be cleaned with water as this will damage the integrity of the shade. These styles may be cleaned by brushing with a very soft brush, dry-sponging or even with the upholstery attachment of the vacuum cleaner.

Some fabrics are much more delicate than others, for example silk is much more delicate than cotton, so any cleaning should be undertaken very carefully and gently.

Cleaning Crystal

There are specialist cleaners on the market with which to clean your crystal chandeliers, however some of these cleaners can tarnish the finish of the metal components of the luminaire if not used correctly. Caution needs to be taken when spraying these cleaners around the lampholders and the lamps themselves. It is imperative to ALWAYS follow the instructions to the letter on the cleaning product if you decide to use these.

An easy way to clean crystal chandeliers is to use a white fabric glove with a small amount of mild detergent solution to gently wipe over each cluster of crystal. Again make sure that they are thoroughly dried before switching on the luminaire.

Always use gloves to handle crystal as the oils on our skin can impede the beauty and sparkle of the crystal. Quality crystal chandeliers often contain a pair of such white gloves to dress the chandelier.

Small chandeliers could be cleaned at home but large and complicated chandeliers may benefit from a specialist cleaning company.

If you would like further information on cleaning any of our lighting please do not hesitate to contact us.

 

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