HOW TO PUT THE SPARKLE BACK INTO YOUR CRYSTAL CHANDELIER

It’s been a while since you had installed that stunning dining crystal chandelier. By now you are quite used to the stately aura it ads to your place. Your family and guests are also quite used to it and to the heavenly spice of light that the chandelier casts onto the glasses, plates and the cutlery set-out on the dining table.

However recently, you have noticed something has changed. The fixture just doesn’t look like a million dazzling stars anymore. The crystals seem duller, dimmer, and dingy. What has happened to them? Can something be done to put the sparkle back into your crystal chandelier?

The answer is yes! You can make it shine like it did the day you put it up. The reason the crystals in your fixture don’t sparkle the way they should is that they are now covered with a very fine layer of dust, grime, and other floating air particles, which, have accumulated on it over time. Here are some tips on how to restore the shine and beauty of your crystal chandelier and how to maintain it in sparkling clean condition.

The secret to restoring the good looks of your chandelier is simply cleaning it. There are several methods you can use to do it. Let’s take a look at some of the most common ones: the dry method, the spray and drip-dry method, the glove method, and the removal of the crystal method.

SAFETY FIRST

Whatever cleaning method you will use make sure you do it in a safe manner. Remember, you want to see the sparkle again in your chandelier, not the sparks caused by electricity, or in your eyes, as a result of falling off your ladder. But humour aside, always turn off the light switch, and if you can, the breaker on the electrical panel. Put some painter’s masking tape on the switch as a reminder to keep it in off position. If you easily get dizzy or you have problems keeping a balance while on a ladder, you may want to invest in an inexpensive, collapsible scaffolding.

PRECAUTIONS

Your crystal chandelier is a very delicate piece of decor. Remember to treat it gently and with proper care. The crystals can break easily if they fall on something hard and can be scratched if not handled properly. The finish on the brass chandelier frame can be wrecked with chemical cleaners. Therefore you should always:

• Use only a dry cloth to dust any brass elements on your fixture’s body.

• Use soft, cotton cloths only for cleaning crystals.

• Use mild soap only, or specially formulated cleaners for cleaning the crystal chandelier.

• Never spray any cleaning solution on the chandelier, except for specially formulated for that purpose cleaners.

• Lay down an old thick blanket, or something similar, under your chandelier to absorb the fall of any falling prisms and prevent them from breaking.

• Allow light bulbs to cool before starting the cleaning.

• Work your way around a chandelier – never spin or turn it in any direction.

• Make a diagram, or take some pictures of your chandelier before you start disassembling it.

THE DRY METHOD

The dry method is nothing else but dusting your chandelier with a soft feather or lambswool duster. You should use this method every couple of months, or whenever you see haziness appearing on the fixture. Doing it regularly will minimize the need to use other, more labour intensive methods. You can also do some dusting just before any wet cleaning.

THE SPRAY AND DRIP-DRY METHOD

This method involves using a special chandelier spray, which makes the cleaning quick and easy. It is intended for regular cleaning and refreshing the shine of the crystals, but not for removing a heavy grime build-up. If your chandelier was not being cleaned for a long time (few, or several years) you might have to use the glove method or even the removal of crystal method.

• Firstly, remember to turn off the light switch and make sure to follow the safety points and precautions outlined earlier in this article in addition to any safety recommendations that came with your chandelier, ladder, or any product or equipment you will use.

• Use plastic sandwich bags to cover all the candelabra light sticks and bulbs to protect them from getting wet. Wrap the bags around the candlesticks and secure them with rubber bands or a piece of tape around the bases.

• Place a plastic sheeting underneath the fixture to protect the floor or a table that may be underneath from getting wet. You may also place a towel to help absorb the excess of solution which will drip from the fixture.

• Generously spray the fixture with the chandelier spray (make sure you do not inhale the spray mist and work in the well-ventilated room).

• Allow fixture to drip and completely dry out.

• Remove the sandwich plastic bags covering the candlesticks and wipe down the light bulbs.

THE GLOVE METHOD

Although this method implies using cotton gloves to clean the chandelier, you may also use cotton cloth if you don’t have gloves. This method is a bit more labour intensive than the spray and drip-dry method, but is less messy and provides better results.

• As mentioned already, we start with safety first. Remember to turn off the light switch and refer to the safety points and precautions, outlined earlier in this article.

• Set up the ladder in a way that will give you easy access to one side of the fixture without the need to turn it.

• Spray one glove with a glass cleaner, or the chandelier spray (mentioned in the previous method). With the sprayed glove carefully wet and wipe each prism then immediately dry it with your dry glove. Work your way from top to the bottom.

• Change the position of your ladder to comfortably reach the other side of the fixture and continue the cleaning.

• Clean the frame of the fixture and wipe down the light bulbs. Any brass elements should only be dusted with a dry cloth.

THE REMOVAL OF CRYSTAL METHOD

This method delivers the best results and is almost a must in the cases when your crystal chandelier was neglected for some years and needs a good thorough wash.

• Safety first – you know the drill by now. Remember to turn off the light switch and refer to the safety points and precautions, outlined earlier in this article.

• If you don’t have a diagram, showing how to put the pieces back together then make one, or take several pictures, both from far and up close. Don’t start taking apart your fixture without it.

• Prepare a place where you will put all the prisms removed from the fixture. Make sure it is lined with towels or other soft material.

• Set up the ladder in a way that will give you easy access to one side of the fixture without the need to turn it.

• Remove light bulbs and the prisms a few at the time, being careful not to scratch them. Place them in the prepared beforehand place. You may arrange them in a way that relates to their position on the fixture.

• Place a few prisms at a time in the basin of soapy water and wash them carefully one by one. Make sure that the basin is lined with something soft, such as a towel, or a piece of cloth.

• Rinse each piece under clean water and immediately wipe each prism dry with a clean, soft cloth. Set them on the dry towel.

• Using a glass cleaner sprayed onto a cloth, working section-by-section, wipe the body of the all-crystal chandelier. Dry it right away with a soft dry cloth. Any brass elements should be only dusted with a dry cloth.

• When you are done, replace the prisms working from the inside to the outside of the chandelier.

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