Shine a light: How to clean globes, shades & fittings

Did you know: Dirty light fixtures don’t only dull a room, they actually waste more energy?

Yep, unclean lights and their fixtures can reduce light output by 50%.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t take much for lighting fixtures to gather dirt, dust and grime, but follow these quick tips  on how to clean all types of lights and fittings, and you’ll bring back the glow and maximise your wattage use in no time.

Light bulbs

Swear your globes are fading? They could just be dirty. Steam, dust and other airborne particles can stick to light globes causing them to reduce their output. Try this cleaning fix:

  1. Turn off the electricity before doing anything and wait for the light bulbs to cool. “Not only will this prevent burning your fingers but sudden changes in temperature can break the glass,” Elke says.
  2. Remove any light covers and detach the bulbs from the base.
  3. Using a dry microfibre cloth, wipe clean the bulb.
  4. If necessary, use a damp cloth but make sure not to get the metal parts wet. Just don’t spray cleaning solution direct to the bulb.
Light globes

Get the most out of your light globes with regular cleans. Picture: Getty

Ceiling fixtures

As ceiling light fixtures are regularly used they can become dirty fast. Here’s the good news – they’re easy to clean.

  1. Lay a towel in the sink as this will prevent any scratch damage.
  2. Fill the sink with warm soapy water – using a small drop of dishwashing detergent.
  3. Carefully remove the light fixture from the ceiling and immerse in the sink for 5 minutes.
  4. Remove and place to air dry on another towel.
  5. Before reinstalling, wipe clean the ceiling base with a wet cloth and gently wipe the fixture with a dry microfibre cloth.  

Pendant lights

Hanging light pendants are so very fashionable right now. Thankfully, their easy-to-reach status means you can mostly clean them without removing them.

  1. Turn off the light and let the bulbs cool.
  2. Using a mixture of ¾ warm water and ¼ vinegar, spray the outside of the pendant lightly and then wipe it with a microfibre cloth.
  3. Gently clean the bulbs and wipe the extension rods and cables with a dry cloth.
  4. For stubborn marks on the bulbs, return to Tip 1, for cleaning light bulbs.
Kitchen pendant lights

A striking statement, pendant lights will shine bright if cleaned right. Picture: Getty


The kings and queens of the light fixture family, chandeliers require weekly dusting with a microfibre duster – making slow rolling movements between the crystal droplets. Twice a year they need a thorough wash. 

  1. If the chandelier is small and light, take it down gently and lay on top of a towel on a table.
  2. With a damp microfibre cloth, gently wipe each droplet and polish with a dry cloth.
  3. For larger chandeliers, it’s highly recommended to engage a professional to remove, clean and reinstall.

“Cleaning these delicate fixtures is a long and tedious process but once completed you’ll be amazed by how they transform a room with their renewed sparkle,” Elke says.  

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