Easiest/best way to clean a chandelier?

My aunt has a fairly complex crystal chandaler in her living room. When she first got it, it was sparkling and colorful and all that, but after a few years it’s starting to get dull and dingy. Obviously, it’s cleaning time, and it looks like I might get drafted to do the job.

But what’s the easiest/best way to do it?

My first instinct would be to dismantle the chandalier one strand at a time, clean each strand, re-attach it, and repeat for the whole thing. Unfortunately, this sounds like an all-day job and a major pain in the tuckus…?

On the other hand, while browsing through Home Depot the other day, I saw a bottle of what was touted as chandalier cleaner – the idea is that you just spray it liberally on the chandalier, and it’ll dissolve/wash off/eliminate all the buildup you’ve got. You still need a towel or bucket to catch the runoff, but compared to the dismantle-and-clean idea, still not as big of a headache. But as a skeptical Doper, I wonder if this stuff is as good as it claims to be – there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch, is there?

So what’s the word, Dopers? How can I clean the crystal without driving myself batty in the process?

The recommended method by a manufacturer of crystal chandeliers. No matter how you slice it, if you want it to look good, it’s work. :wink:

I’ve done it before, many years ago, and I used a damp cloth. But the real trick was to do it with someone else, so you can talk while you’re doing it.

A neat trick is to use an umbrella hanging upside-down under the chandelier to catch the drips.

Personally I would go with the Home Depot method. If it doesn’t do a completely satisfactory job, it still has to make the job easier. qts idea of having someone else help you is probably the best advise you’ll get. :wink:

“Mother” knows best! Home Depot with all due respects is selling cleaner, not tender loving care.

Follow the manufacturer’s recpmmendations, and enjoy a conversation with a friend in the process.

This works:

Waterproof container(s)* (size depends on size of chandelier’s pendants)
Dishwashing soap (liquid OK, but I always use the other kind, usually Cascade)**
Very hot water
A ladder, chair, or something to get you within range of the fixture
Soft drying cloths

*I use Dixie cups, because I then don’t have to turn around and clean them.
**I know some purists who say white vinegar will do the job and is more environmentally friendly

Put a teaspoonful of Cascade into a cup (or whatever), fill with hot water until the dishwasher soap dissolveds Dip the pendant (or pendants, if arranged that way) into the cup (obviously, by raising the cup), soak for a few seconds, remove cup and use the cloth to dab up some of the excess moisture (although don’t worry about polishing it dry). Change the water/cup when you see visible grunge in it which, if it’s been a long time since the last cleaning, could happen with each dip.

You probably do want something underneath to catch stray drips.

Chandeliers are actually less hassle to clean than miniblinds.

As an interesting aside, my great uncle had a high vaulted ceiling with a chandelier. When he had his house built, he had them install a garage door opener above the finished ceiling, rigged to the light. This way, when he needed to clean the chandelier, he just pushed the remote and down it came. Worked quite well, too. Much safer than a ladder (he was over 60 when he had the house built).

Think “leaf blower”. :slight_smile:

Manufacturers of crystal, I believe, suggest against using hot water, as it can cause permanent discoloration. For instance, never put a crystal wine goblet in a dishwasher. It can permanently cloud.

I used to manage a movie theater that had a couple large chandeliers in the lobby. About every six months or so (or when I was bored) I’d climb up on a ladder, take off all the crystals/pendants, put them in a bowl, dump in some glass cleaner & water and one by one wipe them with a towel. I was usually able to do both fixtures in the time of one film (around 2 hours.) The advantage to taking everything down is that you can also give the frame a good dusting, and not have to worry about shorting anything out from spraying stuff up there. It really seems like more work than it is, but considering it doesn’t have to be done that often, and is something you can do while you talk on the phone or watch TV it’s not that big a deal.

One of my folks was cleaning a chandelier in a home, and was turning it around so he could get to each crystal. It eventually unscrewed the supporting rod from the base and the thing fell down so that it was only supported by a few thin wires. We were very luck the damn thing didn’t crash and break or hurt someone.

So, if you clean one of these things make sure it’s not slowly unscrewing!!!

I’ve not tryed the spray on stuff but have been told it works. If you do it by hand I’d go with the suggestion to take it apart and clean the crystals one by one. It sounds tough but it’s probably easier in the end. Just make sure you can put it back together (maybe take a digital photo or two as a “blueprint” before you dismantle the thing).

There are a number of commercially available chandelier cleaners that you simply spray in the general direction of the chandelier, although obviously the manufacturer recommends against this.

Anyone have any experience with the cleaners? Do they work as advertised?