How to Clean Light Fixtures

Dust and grime can accumulate on your lights, diminishing their sparkle and beauty. Here’s everything you need to know about how to clean light fixtures to keep them shining brilliantly.

Smiling cleaning woman dusting ceiling light fixture

No one likes cleaning light fixtures, but neglect can increase indoor allergens and diminish their quality and functionality.

Today, we’re sharing steps for cleaning light fixtures, including specific instructions for outdoor lights, glass chandeliers, and exposed Edison bulbs.

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Steps to Clean Light Fixtures

removing a bulb from a light fixture as steps how to clean light fixtures

Before delving into the specifics of cleaning different types of light fixtures, let’s outline some general steps that apply to most fixtures:

1. Power Off

Always turn off the power before attempting to clean your lights. This minimizes the risk of electric shock and is a general rule of safety.

2. Remove Shades and Bulbs

Take out light bulbs and remove any shades, making accessing all parts of the fixture easier and ensuring a thorough cleaning. Dust can accumulate on the inside, causing the light to malfunction.

3. Dust Removal

Start by dusting the fixture with a soft, dry microfiber cloth or a duster, like these from Swiffer, to remove loose dirt and prevent it from smearing during the cleaning process.

4. Cleaning Solution

Prepare a cleaning solution of warm, soapy water. Avoid using abrasive cleaners, which can damage the light fixture’s finish.

5. Wipe Everything Down

Using a soft cloth or sponge, apply the cleaning solution and gently wipe down all parts of the fixture. Pay close attention to the intricate details and hard-to-reach areas.

6. Dry Thoroughly

Use a dry cloth to remove any excess moisture. Ensure that all parts are dry before reassembling the fixture. To avoid danger and to prevent potential damage, check that the light fixture is completely dry before turning it back on for your safety.

7. Clean Light Bulbs

Be sure to clean your light bulbs, as dust collects on them like on the rest of the fixture. Use a non-ammonia window cleaner, vinegar and water solution, or alcohol to remove built-up dust. Apply the solution to a microfiber cloth and wipe the bulb clean. Make sure the bulb is cool to the touch before cleaning.

How to Clean Specific Styles

Different light fixtures require different cleaning techniques, but for the most part, you can follow the guidelines above to ensure your lamps are well-maintained. Here are some specific cleaning tips for the various types you may have.


outdoor lights on an orange brick wall for how to clean light fixtures

Outdoor lights face a variety of elements increasing the overall wear and tear on them. Here are the steps to clean outdoor lights.

  • Remove leaves, bug stains, and other debris.
  • Make some mild soapy water and gently scrub the fixture with a soft brush.
  • Rinse thoroughly.
  • Allow it to air dry before turning the power back on.

Glass Chandeliers

cleaning a glass chandelier

Glass chandeliers are unique and timeless, requiring a delicate hand when cleaning them. Here is how to clean fragile fixtures like chandeliers:

  • Use a duster to remove any loose dust from the chandelier.  
  • Use a chandelier-specific cleaner or a homemade vinegar solution with a microfiber cloth and gently wipe the glass.
  • If any of the glass pieces are removable, you can soak them in a mild, soapy solution for 5 minutes, rinse, and air dry before reattaching.

Exposed Bulbs

Edison bulb on a string outside a brick building for how to clean light fixtures

Exposed Edison bulbs are a trendy addition to modern interiors. Cleaning them requires patience and care. Here is how to clean exposed Edison bulbs:

  • Allow the bulb to cool completely. 
  • Don’t use abrasive materials or strong cleaning agents. They can damage the delicate filament inside these special bulbs. Water only is the best way to clean them.
  • Dust, wipe down using a dampened cloth, and dry thoroughly.

Recessed Lights

recessed ceiling LED light over a white ceiling board

Recessed lighting can be hard to reach, but the cleaning is fairly simple. Here is how to clean recessed lights:

  • Grab a step ladder.
  • Use a vacuum cleaner with a short brush attachment to remove dust.
  • Clean with a damp cloth and a mild cleaning solution.
  • Allow to dry completely.

How to Clean Flush Mount Lights

removing flush mount light cover to clean

Flush-mount ceiling lights are the worst for collecting bugs. Keeping them clean and bug-free is simple.

  • Remove the light cover.
  • Dump bugs and debris into the trash
  • Wash the cover with warm, soapy water, rinse, and dry thoroughly.
  • Use a duster to remove dust from the light fixture itself.
  • Replace the cover.

Metal Light Fixtures

metal light fixture hanging from ceiling

Most modern metal fixtures have a protective coating to protect them from tarnishing, making keeping them clean much easier. Depending on how dirty it is, clean it in the following way:

  • Dust accumulation: Use a dry, clean microfiber cloth to remove dust.
  • Dirt other than dust: Use a damp cloth and warm, soapy water to clean it. Allow to dry or dry it with a dry microfiber cloth.

How Can I Ensure My Light Fixtures Stay Clean?

Regular wear and tear will happen naturally, but we have some maintenance tips to keep them clean

  • Establish a regular cleaning schedule.
  • Inspect for damage like corroded components and loose wires.
  • Hire a professional cleaning service for delicate or intricate fixtures.

Regardless of what light fixtures you have, keeping them clean will make all the difference in your day-to-day living. Regular cleaning not only enhances illumination but also prolongs the lifespan of your lights, ensuring they continue to shine bright for years to come.

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