The Do's and Don'ts of cleaning your light fixtures

Progress Lighting offers lighting 101 and practical Do’s and Don'ts for maintaining beautiful lighting fixtures and extending the life of your favorite home lighting.

This post was originally posted on April 2, 2015, and updated on March 3, 2022

March has arrived, and it's time for spring cleaning. Don't forget your light fixtures as you create your "honey-do" list. Read on for some lighting 101 and practical Do's and Don'ts for maintaining a beautiful light fixture and extending the life of your favorite home lighting.

Before Cleaning Light Fixtures

  • Start by turning off the light fixture and, ideally, killing the power at the breaker box to prevent any potential shocks.
  • For light fixtures using bulbs other than LED, wait until the bulb cools off before attempting to clean the fixture.
  • Then, make a map or refer to assembly instructions for light fixtures with multiple components that you may need to disassemble before cleaning.

How to Clean Clear Glass Lighting Fixtures

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Image Credit: Lake and Lumber

Trendy clear glass shades on lighting fixtures look great, but they can be challenging to clean. Design influencer Melissa Tyler from Instagram's @lakeandlumber shares the following tips:

"I have tried everything to get a streak-free finish when cleaning my Penn Pendants (and other glass fixtures around the house)! But, what I have found to work best are microfiber glass cleaning cloths. These cloths allow me to clean and polish the glass without adding cleaner. They have even helped get the greasy film that can accumulate on kitchen fixtures off with ease!

I try to set aside time to clean my globes once a month to avoid too much build-up and ensure that it is a job that only takes a few minutes. Sometimes, you won't even realize how dirty your fixtures have gotten until you clean them!"

DO:

  • Clean glass globes once a month
  • Use microfiber cloths

DON'T:

  • Use abrasive cleaners or window cleaning fluid

How to Clean Polished Metal Light Fixtures

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Image Credit: Porch Daydreamer

For light fixtures with a polished metal surface:

DO:

  • Clean your fixture regularly with a soft cloth using plain water or a mild detergent soap
  • Use a non-abrasive paste or liquid wax to provide extra protection (Turtle Wax or other non-abrasive car wax)
  • Make sure any cleaning or polishing cloth is free of abrasive material

DON'T:

  • Don't use abrasive materials, abrasive cleaners or any products with ammonia or alcohol.
  • Don't use any glass or general-purpose cleaners, as most chemicals will damage the lacquer coating (i.e., Pledge, Windex, Endust, to name a few)
  • Don't use a rough textured cloth.

How to Clean Painted Light Fixtures

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For light fixtures that have a painted finish:

DO:

  • Clean your fixture regularly with a dry, soft cloth
  • If necessary, use plain water or mild detergent soap

DON'T:

  • Don't use any abrasive materials or cleaners, such as products containing ammonia or alcohol
  • Don't clean your fixture with a rough textured cloth.

Read how to plan the perfect lighting for your home here.


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