Crystal chandeliers are like fashion models...

sapphire6917April 10, 2013

...beautiful to look at but high maintenance! I know many of us on GW are crystal chandelier owners and I have to ask this question - how do you keep those suckers clean? Now I know why it was mainly wealthy people that had them because they also had staff to clean them.

I have one flush mount one in a guest bathroom and, after two rounds of cleaning, I have changed my mind on the master bathroom and closet lighting and reduced my dining room lighting plan from three chandeliers to one, much simpler, center chandelier. If I hadn't already bought one for the parlor, I would have eliminated that one, too!

I used to be so captivated by the HGTV reveals and the magazine photos with the chandeliers over the bathtubs and in the kitchens but now all I think is 'Who's cleaning that?'. Greasy, dusty crystals can't be fun.

So, what's your cleaning routine for the chandeliers? Is there a product that makes cleaning them a snap? Or, are you waiting for any hint that they're out of fashion so you can snatch them out?

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Air in a can. lol. When I can remember, I use that once a week. It's good for anything higher up, and also for silk flowers.

I'm glad you did this topic though, because it's time for me to handwash each crystal, which I only do about once a year. Thanks to the air in a can. :)

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 7:09AM
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I've used a product called Sparkle Plenty (linked below). Just spray it on and it drip dries clean. Just need to put a bucket or towels under it. Very easy.

With proper ventilation in my kitchen, they never get greasy.

Here is a link that might be useful: Sparkle Plenty (available at lots of places not just here)

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 7:35AM
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I'm a big fan of those small disposable lens cleaners you can buy at CVS. Get a box of those to see if they're more convenient than your normal cleaning method.

The cleaning solution evaporates quickly (it's mostly alcohol), the wipe material absorbs dust & grime without streaking, & leaves no fuzz behind. The wipe is sized just right for maneuvering around a chandelier.

They work great on eyeglasses, smudged cellphones, touchpads, LCD monitors, and camera lenses. I keep a supply in my purse & in the house because they're so useful.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 8:05AM
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I used Sparkle Plenty on the one in my old dining room before I replaced it (it was nothing special and not our style).

There's a fellow in our neighborhood who cleans fine antique crystal chandeliers for a living, and he says not to use it on anything that is really fine. If I used it anyway, he advised me to put a plastic drop cloth (I used an old shower curtain liner) and a thick layer of newspapers down under it, and to stuff tissues into the cups to keep them from collecting too much stuff, which you can then use to wipe out the cups after they are wet with spray. The rest will drip clean.

Leave the bulbs in, and screw them down tight. Tape the light switch in the off position to make sure nobody turns it on accidentally (or turn off the breaker). Wear gloves, and spray mightily and thoroughly.

I only did this a few times a year, because it seemed to me that the spray was hard on the wires that connected all the crystals, but don't take my word for that.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 8:09AM
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I've been told that the sprays cause deterioration in the metal parts of the chandelier and, therefore, should not be used. I wipe each piece of crystal with a soft cloth dampened with Windex, being careful not to touch the metal parts. It's time consuming, but I am very attracted to sparkley things. :>)

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 8:57AM
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I don't use anything but a slightly damp microfiber cloth, then follow with a dry one, if needed.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 9:00AM
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I am saving my sons' cotton marching gloves for that purpose. I was told to just use a spray bottle and spray it onto the glove, not the fixture. This is the method Schonbek recommends, so I will stick with it. I really don't want the added chemicals in my house if I don't' need them. My dealer did also suggest having a pro clean them periodically. I just have two and the one in the dining room recently had all the crystals removed and rehung. The bedroom one is newer and about due for a good cleaning, but we are also getting ready to remodel that bathroom.

Here is a link that might be useful: Schonbek cleaning and care

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 9:21AM
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I like everyone else's ideas better than mine.

So I now vote against myself!

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 9:49AM
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I have an antique crystal chandelier in the library and brownysmom is right. I used to clean it about every couple of years with the drip spray but I realized too late it was causing the fine wire the beads were strung on to rust. Sure did sparkle otherwise. From then on when needed I dust and then wash by hand. It's a chore, and I always have to be careful not to break the strands of beads. Don't even try to clean the tiny, beebie sized ones at the very bottom inside, because in the first place I can't reach them even standing on the tall ladder.

But since you brought it up, my chandelier is due for a good cleaning; put that on the Spring cleaning list. ugh.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 10:12AM
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Every spring my grandmother used to take apart her ornate dining room crystal chandelier and clean each piece by hand. When done, she'd carefully hang all the crystals - and always have several left over! Could never figure out where they were supposed to go! We grandkids thought it was the funniest thing! There was a drawer in her kitchen filled with them. You'd think after a few years the chandelier would start to look a bit bare, but it never did!

Thanks for bringing that memory of my nanny back today. It made me smile!

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 11:14AM
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Purplepansies, that's a lovely story.

Another good use for digital photography ... take lots of photos before you take the durn thing apart, and you have a better shot at having fewer bits left over!

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 11:22AM
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If you are building or remodeling and are planning on installing a large chandelier, it is probably worth looking into getting a chandelier lift. Much easier, safer and convenient to clean at waist level than risking life and limb on a 20ft ladder.

My previous house had a chandelier in a 20 ft high foyer. Luckily I could use a hook to reach it from an upstairs balcony and carefully spin it around to clean it. It wasn't crystal, so not too hard to wipe down.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 11:31AM
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Thanks for all of the tips, everyone! Doesn't sound like I'm going to get away from cleaning each piece by hand.

Schoolhouse, that is one lovely chandelier!!!

Kitchendetective, I, too, am a lover of all things sparkly but, until I get a rich husband or a cheap housekeeper, I will cover my eyes the next time I'm in a lighting store.

I will be on the lookout for those wipes!

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 1:41PM
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Sapphire69, thanks for bringing up this topic. I use a weak solution of mild soap and water, rinse with clear water, and dry with a paper towel. Through all these years no harm done. The real PITA to me is the tiny individual wires which spread open here and there to catch the drying towel I am using. Microfiber cloths might help with that to reduce catching. For years I've puzzled over how to solve this problem -- glue the wire ends together? Use a tiny sodering iron? (Does one exist?) If someone could solve this problem I'd be forever grateful.
Schoolhouse, zowie!!! that is some chandelier!!!! Love it, but I'd never want to be the one to clean that baby. I'll think of you the next time I'm tempted to grumble while cleaning mine.

This post was edited by Texasgal47 on Mon, Apr 15, 13 at 1:49

    Bookmark   April 14, 2013 at 10:59PM
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Two *thin* cotton socks, one on each hand. ;o)

    Bookmark   April 15, 2013 at 2:09AM
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