Crystal chandeliers add a touch of elegance to any space. Many of today's fixtures have moved beyond traditional teardrop-shaped crystals to abstract modern shapes in acrylic, glass, or true crystal.
No matter the design or material of your chandelier, it will eventually get dusty and dirty. Cleaning is usually easy, but it is time-consuming. Set aside plenty of time for the job because you will probably want to get it done in one session.
How Often to Clean a Crystal Chandelier
Crystal chandeliers should be dusted weekly as part of your regular cleaning routine. When you're ready to dust, tackle the chandelier first so that any loose dust particles fall to the floor to be vacuumed away.
The location of your crystal chandelier will help determine how frequently it needs more than just dusting. Chandeliers in kitchens or bathrooms need to be cleaned more often because they can quickly become coated with particles of grease or spray-on body care products that attract more dust. Chandeliers in high-humidity climates also attract dust more quickly.
Most crystal chandeliers should be thoroughly cleaned seasonally or at least twice per year to keep them sparkling.
Equipment / Tools
- Sturdy ladder or stepstool
- Plastic tarp or drop cloth
- Microfiber cloths
- Digital camera (optional)
- Needle-nose pliers
- Spray bottle
- Padded moving blanket
- Sink or large plastic bucket
- Feather, lambswool, or microfiber duster
- White cotton gloves
- Commercial glass cleaner
- Isopropyl alcohol
- Distilled water
- Dishwashing liquid
How to Clean a Crystal Chandelier Without Removing the Crystals
Prepare the Work Area
Move any furniture or accessories that are directly under the chandelier. Place a plastic tarp or drop cloth on the floor to catch any drips that might ruin the floor or carpet.
Place a sturdy ladder or stepstool slightly off-center on one side of the chandelier where you can reach the crystals easily. Be sure to use a ladder that is tall enough so you can work comfortably.
Turn off the Fixture
If you are concerned about the safety of the wiring, turn off the breaker to that area of your home, but be sure you have adequate lighting to work. Turn off the wall switch and allow the bulbs to cool completely before you begin cleaning.
Dust the Chandelier
Use a feather, lambswool, or microfiber duster to remove as much dust and spiderwebs as possible. There is no need to push around loose dust as you clean. Dust the fixture, bulbs, and crystals.
Mix a Cleaning Solution
While you can use a commercial glass cleaner, a homemade mixture of one part isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol to four parts distilled water will leave the crystals sparkling. Mix the alcohol and water in a spray bottle for easy application.
Clean a Section of the Chandelier
After climbing the ladder, spray one cloth with a small amount of the glass cleaning solution. Wipe all sides of the crystal and then switch to a dry, lint-free microfiber cloth to dry the crystal. Do not spray the glass cleaner directly onto the crystal because it may harm the finish of the chandelier fixture. Before you move to the next section, wipe away any dust remaining on the fixture or bulbs with a dry cloth.
Do not leave the ladder in one spot and spin or rotate the fixture so you can clean each section easily. Spinning the fixture can damage wiring and compromise the sturdiness of the installation.
Move the Ladder and Repeat
Climb down, move the ladder to the next section, and repeat the cleaning steps until all of the crystals and the fixture is completely clean.
How to Clean a Crystal Chandelier With the Crystals Removed
If the crystals on the chandelier are very dirty, it may be necessary and easier to clean them off of the base fixture.
Prepare the Work Space
Place a padded moving blanket or comforter directly under the chandelier in case you drop one of the crystals as you remove them. Place the ladder on the blanket slightly off-center from the fixture. Turn off the wall switch or shut off the breaker. Allow the bulbs to cool.
In addition to a duster or dusting cloths, add a pair of needle-nose pliers to your apron pocket or bucket on the ladder. You may need the pliers to help unfasten the crystals.
Remove the Crystals
Working on a small section, remove the crystals from the fixture. Place them in a large pocket or bucket. Once the section is free of crystals, use a dry cloth to dust the fixture and bulbs before moving the ladder to the next section.
Wash the Crystals
Fill a sink or large plastic tub with warm water and a couple of drops of dishwashing liquid. Line the tub with a towel to help prevent any chips to the crystals.
Wash each crystal using a soft cloth or sponge. Rinse well with cool water and dry with a lint-free microfiber cloth.
Reassemble the Chandelier
Follow your photos to reassemble the chandelier crystals correctly. Wear a pair of white cotton gloves to help prevent smudges from fingerprints.
Tips for Keeping Your Chandelier Looking Its Best
- Dust the chandelier regularly to prevent a heavy accumulation.
- Do not use ammonia-based cleaners that can tarnish the finish of some fixtures.
- Consider changing the light bulbs while you are doing a thorough cleaning even if they still are working to save a trip back up the ladder!
When to Call a Professional
If you do not have a ladder that will reach the chandelier easily or if you are unsteady about heights, call a professional cleaning service.