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Cleaning a crystal chandelier isn’t as daunting as it may appear. These precious fixtures require a little more love and care than a desk lamp, but you can restore and maintain your crystal’s shine with common household products and a little know-how.
If your chandelier is still sparkling clean, simply dust the fixture with a lambswool or feather duster every few weeks. Keep your strokes light, since leaded crystal is softer than glass—even dust can scratch it. Be sure to walk around the fixture as you dust, rather than spinning it towards you. Twisting the fixture can strain the wiring or loosen its support.
Eventually, the fixture will need a more thorough cleaning, especially if it’s in a high-traffic area or kitchen. Mid-size chandeliers are still manageable at this stage, provided you have some clean, lint-free rags, isopropyl alcohol, and a little elbow grease.
Before touching the chandelier, follow rule number one: turn off the power to the room when dealing with a ceiling fixture. At least flip the light switch off and tape it so no one will accidentally turn the light on while you’re working. Set up an alternative light source to aid the cleaning. Once the chandelier bulbs have cooled, cover them with plastic snack bags and secure with a rubber band.
Fill a spray bottle with one part isopropyl alcohol and three parts distilled water. Spray on one section of the chandelier at a time, then wipe off with a white cotton glove or lint-free cloth, making sure you dry the frame as well as the crystal. This solution will clarify the crystal and help remove the haze, but is gentler than ammonia on crystal with a design or edge finish. Even so, gently wipe away after spraying and don’t allow the fixture to drip dry. This will help preserve the frame.
Try cleaning your chandelier every two to six months with the alcohol solution, depending on whether the fixture is in a high-traffic area or not.
If your fixture hasn’t been cleaned in a long time (or just needs extra attention), you can go an extra step before calling a professional. This is where a digital camera comes in handy, as you’ll need to remove individual pendants for a more thorough washing. Take pictures of the connections for reference later, then carefully remove the pendants. You may need a pair of needle-nose pliers to help disengage the pendants from the fixture.
Fill a sink with warm water and some gentle dish soap. Carefully wash each crystal piece and rinse in warm water to avoid any drastic temperature shifts. Set the pendants on a clean cloth to dry. Then simply rehang the pendants and enjoy your sparkling fixture!