How to Keep Your Light Fixtures Shining Bright

Try these 9 tips for cleaning pendants, sconces, track lighting and more

1. Don’t forget to look up.Hanging light fixtures should be dusted as often as the furniture in the room. 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.

2. The chains that bind. When cleaning hanging light fixtures, don’t forget to clean the chains that are holding the lights. These can get a nasty buildup, especially in the kitchen when grease mixes with the dust. You can use a few drops of a grease-cutting dish soap on a wet microfiber cloth to cut through the greasy buildup.

3. It’s OK to be shady. 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.

4. 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 or the cover will become covered with grease and not let the light come through completely. Use a simple grease-cutting cleaner.

5. Don’t get bogged down in the bathroom. 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. If you make it part of a systematic cleaning, you’ll never have to worry about that thick buildup on the tops of the bathroom lights.

6. Rinse cycle. A quick tip for cleaning the glass on a wall sconce is to pop them in your dishwasher. Place them on the top rack and let the dishwasher run through a complete cycle. Try not to put them in with greasy pots and pans. Your dishwasher will clean off the dust and film that has accumulated on the glass. If there are any spots on them, you can touch them up with a fine-woven microfiber cloth.

7. Recessed radiance. Recessed lighting should be cleaned by removing the lightbulb and dusting inside the recessed area. Turn the lights off and let the bulbs completely cool. Remove the lights and use a dry microfiber cloth to capture the dust inside the fixture. Make sure to wipe the area carefully so the container is not loosened. Recessed lights are usually held up in the ceiling with spring-like hangers that can be difficult to reconnect.

8. Keeping track. 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. These can be dusted with an extendable feather duster. Make sure you dust in and around the lightbulb. Cobwebs tend to build up inside the heads around the bulbs.

9. Take it outside. 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 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.

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