How to Clean a Crystal Chandelier

We hope that you will enjoy your crystal chandelier for years to come. Maintenance is more simple that you would think: Use the proper wattage light bulbs and very, very lightly dust your fixture with a feather duster in between cleanings. 

What you need to clean your crystal chandelier:

  • Quilt, comforter, or furniture pad
  • Large bath towel
  • Plastic colander
  • Cheap paper towels, microfiber, or other low-lint cloth
  • Dish detergent
Never turn a chandelier – always work around it! If you are using a ladder, remember your ladder safety.

The first thing any King’s Chandelier employee learns is how to clean a crystal chandelier, and with some 200 creations in our showroom to keep clean, the knowledge is used quite frequently. What follows is a compilation of some of the techniques we have developed over the years.

Cleaning a crystal chandelier can be intimidating, but the shining result is well worth the time and effort. Most likely, you will not need to clean your chandelier more than once a year. In many cases, especially with new house constructions, once every two years will suffice. Before disassembling your fixture, always make a diagram of where all the removable bits of the chandelier belong. Take it from us: you may think you know where everything goes, but odds are you will find yourself scratching your head while staring at a mound of crystal. Safety first, so make sure to turn off the lights and give the bulbs time to cool. Place a thick quilt or comforter under your fixture to catch any prisms that may drop. You want to provide enough of a cushion to prevent anything that slips out of your hand from breaking or from scratching your table. Most importantly, do not turn your chandelier as you clean it. Turning a chandelier out of the ceiling is another way of finding yourself scratching your head while staring at a mound of crystal. Keep the fixture stationary while you move around it. If you can reach it, this is a good time to make sure the screw loop is tight.

Carefully remove all of the trimmings, placing the pendants in a plastic colander. Use a small amount of mild dish detergent and rinse the pendants well with hot water. The hotter the water - the fewer the spots on crystal pendants. Lay these on a towel for quick drying. To discourage tangling of the strands, use both hands to hold them (one hand at each end) and place them under running water. Move your hands back and forth so that all parts of the strands get clean. Again, use a small amount of mild dish detergent and rinse well. Lay these on a towel for quick drying as well. A clothes drying rack is an excellent way to dry the long strands.

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To clean the body of the all-crystal chandelier, we recommend first dusting your chandelier with a dry cloth. Using your favorite glass cleaner sprayed on to a cloth (never spray into the fixture), wipe and polish all pieces. Dusting first cuts down on polishing later. Do not forget to clean the bulbs. The less lint your cleaning cloth has, the better results you will have. Some popular low-lint choices include cheap paper towels, newspaper, or heavily worn cotton fabric. We actually favor the new type of very small nap, micro-fiber cloths that are available in either the automotive department or the household cleaning department of many home or discount stores. Return all hanging pieces to the fixture, working from the inside to the outside. A quick polish on each piece as you go will take care of any lingering drops of water.

Cleaning Our Solid Brass Fixtures:

We recommend that you remove the crystal trimmings and clean in the same manner as described for the all-crystal chandelier trimmings. However, the bodies of the brass chandeliers need only dusting with a dry cloth. Do not apply cleaner or brass polish to this brass.

We do not recommend the garden hose or dishwasher method. (Yes, unbelievably, we have had customers try those.) There are many spray and no-wipe crystal chandelier cleaners on the market, and these cleaners work well for those who do not have the means to clean their chandelier any other way; however, the old-fashioned method of dismantling is the most thorough and will provide the longest lasting results. 

If cleaning your crystal chandelier is more than you want to tackle, contact a local house cleaning service, lighting showroom, or electrical contractor for recommendations.