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Make Your Home Bright

With the sun rising late and going down early during winter, it is important to have the best light both during the day and night. Cleaning your lights will brighten your home and your mood once it is done. Hopefully, this list of tips for cleaning light fixtures will shed some light on the task. Your glass light fixtures should be cleaned on a regular basis so you can let as much light into your rooms as possible. The combination of clean bulbs and shades will enhance every room.

Safety Tips.

When cleaning your lights, you will want to shut down the power in order to avoid any risk of shock. Make sure you position your ladder, so that the feet are flat on the floor to avoid tipping, and move it as needed so you are not trying to stretch too far to reach a fixture. Pro Tip: DON’T apply force to a tight bulb. Instead, cut a long section of duct tape, make it into a loop and apply it to the bulb so there is a handle on each side for easier twisting.

Tools and Supplies.

Gather the following supplies and tools: Soft cloth; hot water; a mild glass-safe detergent, such as Dawn which works well removing oil; towels; and vacuum cleaner for fabric, rattan, etc.

KNOW YOUR LIGHT TYPE. Different types of light fixtures require different care for the best results.

Chandeliers. Hanging light fixtures should be dusted as often as the furniture. You can use an extendable microfiber duster or a simple feather duster. Once a month you should wipe the glass with a damp, fine-woven microfiber cloth, getting inside as well as outside of the glass fixture. Remove the bulbs and wipe with a soft cloth. After noting where each crystal goes for reassembly, place any pendants and crystals in warm, soapy water. After rinsing, wipe each piece gently and dry quickly to avoid water spots. Use a damp cloth to wipe down the base and then reassemble.

Flush Mount/Ceiling Lights/Recessed lighting. When cleaning flush mount lights, remove the covers and soak them in warm soapy water. Remove and wipe down the bulbs and use a damp cloth to clean the fixture. Clean and dry the covers. Track lighting should be dusted at least every two weeks to prevent a buildup of dust and grime on the tops of the light fixtures. Cobwebs tend to build up inside the heads around the bulbs.

Pendants. You can clean most pendant lights in place. After wiping the bulbs down, use the damp cloth to clean the globes, cables, chains, and extension rods. If you have intricate fixtures, you may need to remove the globes and soak them in warm, soapy water. Tip: For cleaning glass globes, pop them in your dishwasher. (Avoid doing this with any that have a special finish.) Place them on the top rack and let the dishwasher run through a complete cycle. If there are any spots on them, you can touch them up with a fine-woven microfiber cloth. The chains that are holding the lights can get a nasty buildup, especially in the kitchen where grease mixes with dust. You can use a few drops of a grease-cutting dish soap on a wet microfiber cloth to cut through the greasy buildup.

Bathroom Lights. Light fixtures in your bathroom can be very difficult to clean if they are not cleaned on a regular basis. The dust mixes with the steam from the shower and creates a thick paste that dries on the fixtures and can be hard to remove. Try to get into the habit of cleaning the fixtures as often as you clean the vanity mirror.

Hiding in the Hood. One light fixture that always gets overlooked is the one in the stove hood. This fixture usually has a plastic cover to protect it from spattered grease. The cover needs to be cleaned as often as your stove. Use a simple grease-cutting cleaner.

Lamp Shades. If you have light fixtures that have fabric shades on them, there are a few easy ways to keep the dust from building up. First, wipe the fabric with a clean, dry microfiber cloth, which will remove most of the dust. You can also use a lint roller to capture the dust without spreading it on the surface below. If there is a severe buildup on the shade, remove it from the fixture and use the dusting brush attachment on your vacuum to remove all the buildup. Use a damp cloth to remove stubborn spots, making sure to wipe gently and avoiding rubbing too hard. You can clean a paper shade by simply wiping it with a dry cloth. If the dirt and dust becomes thick, you will need to replace the shade.

Ceiling Fans. Clean your ceiling fans by removing the globes and soaking them in soapy water while you wipe down the bulbs, fixtures, and blades. Carefully clean and dry the globes. Make sure you do not try to use the blades to keep yourself steady on the ladder. They can move suddenly, which can lead to accidents.

Outdoor Lights. Outdoor light fixtures need to be cleaned regularly. We sometimes overlook them since they are out of sight when we are doing our cleaning. Use a broom or leaf blower to remove insects and spider webs around the lights. The glass light fixtures can be put into the dishwasher to remove dirt and grime.

Cleaning light fixtures throughout your home ensures that your bulbs put out the full amount of lumens and keeps the ambiance bright. Built-up dust and grime can make bulbs appear up to 30 percent dimmer and, if the shades or covers are dirty too, you diminish the amount of light even more. Just doing these tasks will help alleviate the darkness of our winter days.


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