It’s finally here- SPRING! I am so happy that the days are longer and we can start spending our evenings outdoors. Another thing to look forward to is spring cleaning (maybe not the cleaning itself but having everything clean) which brings me to my tips and tricks for cleaning your lights.
A few things to check for before you start cleaning
1. Make sure the fixture is turned off. I would hate for anyone to get zapped while cleaning their lights.
2. Check for brittle lamp cords or any loose/frayed wires, if you find any bring your fixture to us to repair and re-wire.
The best method I know is to vacuum your shades, use the brush attachment on your vacuum and start at the top of the shade vacuuming in downward motions turning the lampshade as you go. If you have not cleaned your shade in a long time you will notice a difference right away. This method can be harmful to older shades that have lost their elasticity so be cautious, if your shade is more than a decade old use a soft paint brush and gently brush the dust off the shade in that same downward motion I mentioned before. Another method is using a lint roller, again be careful that you don't have an older shade because it can catch the fabric and rip. But a lint roller can be a really good method especially on lampshades with a plastic backing.
Brass fixtures are another item that can be tricky to clean. The first step is to determine if it’s really brass and not just painted or plated to look like solid brass. The easiest way to do that is to hold a magnet up to the fixture; if the magnet does not stick it may have no brass at all or is only brass plated. Brass fixtures will often be finished with a varnish to protect the brass,. This layer is often removed when you are using cleaning products, and once you remove the varnish there is nothing left to protect your brass from tarnish. Just because there is some tarnish doesn't necessarily mean it needs to be cleaned. Tarnish may sometimes produce a desirable patina that enhances a piece. Antiques are especially vulnerable so if you have a valuable piece, consider leaving it uncleaned or having it professionally cleaned. You can always dust your brass fixtures with a feather duster or a soft cloth. If you want a deeper clean because the brass is simply dirty or oily, mix a mild detergent with warm water. Dip a soft cloth into the soapy water and wipe the piece down with the cloth.
Toothpaste works well to polish brass. Apply a pea sized drop onto a cotton cloth and rub in small circles. Rinse with clean water and buff the residue off.
A lemon half dipped in a plate of table salt will also remove heavy tarnish and leave a clean, but unpolished look to brass.
If you do a deep clean on your brass fixture and have removed the varnish, consider adding a layer of polyurethane sealer, varnish, or polymer-based car wax to the fixture to protect it. Follow the manufactures instructions of whatever product you choose to use.
Don’t forget that excessive cleaning can damage brass, think less is more in when it comes to brass.
The days are getting warmer and you may start using your ceiling fans more to help cool a room, now is the time to wipe down the fan blades, the top of the blade can collect a lot of dust during the winter months.
One of my favorite products for cleaning crystal, and by far the least amount of work for your bling is Clean and Bright. I have been stocking this product for years. It is a solution you can spray on your crystal and let it drip dry (I do recommend placing a towel under the fixture to catch the drops).
If you want to really deep clean your crystal use warm water and vinegar, this will get rid of any grease build up- you will have to rub the crystals down individually with the vinegar solution and for the very best result also dry them with a clean cloth. This method will make your crystals sparkle for months.
Please wash by HAND! I have had so many people destroy glass by putting it in the dishwasher. Automatic dishwasher detergent can scratch or dull the decorative design and coating on some glass. A lot of glass used for lighting is hand painted, this paint will not hold up in a dishwasher. Use a damp cloth with very mild dish soap to wipe down glass on your lighting fixtures. If you want to take the glass off the fixture to clean it TAKE CAUTION often time’s glass is not replaceable. We do have glass replacement companies and some manufactures will sale glass replacements but identical matches are hard to find!
Happy spring cleaning!!