From Late Medieval to Present Day
Crystal Chandeliers were first utilized in the vestibules and dining rooms of the Gentry in the 15th century. Besides their practicality, these ornate forms of lighting were sought after by the wealthy as a statement of prestige and elegance. Guests of the Nobility had something to admire when conversations at dinner became a tedious inquiry into titles and landholdings whilst ladies, dripping in all their exquisite finery, would turn their envy from other females in the room, to regard the spectacle above and concede that the chandelier – with its beautiful arms of light refracting crystal prisms- outdid them all.
Fast forward six hundred years or so and one will find that the use of crystal chandeliers is no longer limited to the homes and palaces of the affluent. In fact, due to the various types now available (authentic crystal and glass), crystal chandeliers now feature in many modern homes.
Want Them Seen – Keep ‘em Clean
A crystal chandelier can lower the tone of a room if it does not sparkle, whilst a build up of grime and grease over time can mean irreparable damage to your chandelier’s precious crystals. To prevent this from occurring, first determine if your chandelier needs a quick clean or a deep clean. (A gentle run of your finger or a soft tissue over the arm of the chandelier can tell you this in an instant: the darker the grime- you know its serious cleaning time!)
Chandeliers in areas that generate more dust and grease, such as the kitchen and hallway, will generally need a deep clean every six to nine months. For Crystal Chandeliers in all other rooms a heavy duty clean every nine to twelve months will suffice. If you cannot recall the last time your Crystal Chandelier was cleaned or if the flies no longer hover beneath your chandelier when the light is turned on- then this is an indication that your crystal chandelier is in need of some immediate cleaning.
Prep at the Start
Before a quick or deep clean of your chandelier, it is important to switch off your power supply and remove the bulbs to prevent electrical shock to you and damage to your lights.
Remember to have an alternative light supply – so that this can highlight any dirt spots on your chandelier that you are likely to miss when working under natural light.
Take a photo of your chandelier or have the manufacturer’s instructions on hand as this will save you valuable time when piecing your chandelier back together.
Next, place old rugs, blankets or sheets beneath your chandelier to limit the spread of dust in your work area. (Your aim here is clean the lights not the floor!)
Also, open a window or two to let dust particles out, providing it is not too cold.
Don old clothes and an apron to maintain your own cleanliness and wear a dust mask if your nasal cavity is particularly sensitive to dust.
Use a steady ladder to aid your cleaning – again, you want to avoid all injury to your person.
Softly Does It
Soft is the key word when cleaning your crystal chandelier. You should use soft gloves or cloths to prevent the abrasions that harder cleaning tools can leave on the delicate crystals and beads of your chandelier.
Tissue use should also be avoided. Tissues can be employed sparingly at the start when trying to establish how dirty your chandelier is but should be discarded afterwards, as tissue fibres can build up on the chandelier, which can attract more lint and dust and will essentially damage the light bulbs.
Use soft cleaning liquids like washing up liquid or white vinegar, which is a natural and inexpensive product that can be found in the home.
Avoid harsh chemicals and the use of the dishwasher when doing any type of cleaning of your chandelier- as this can strip the crystals of its strength, colour and natural shine and will ultimately lead to its premature decline, which will require you to splash out on a replacement chandelier.
Spray a liberal amount of your desired soft cleaning product (three to four squirts will do) onto your cloth or glove- never directly on your chandelier as even the gentlest products can strip the metal or brass parts of your fixture.
With gentle circular strokes, begin to wipe each crystal and finish with the arms of your fixture till gleaming.
With a spare DRY glove or cloth, wipe dry the crystals and the metal parts with the same gentle circular stroke motion.
Remember, no product should be applied to metal or brass fixtures. These can be wiped with the soft dry glove.
Wipe bulbs with the dry cloth and carefully replace them. Switch on the lights and be mesmerized by the dazzle of those crystal prisms!
A Deep and Meaningful
This is the thorough way of cleaning your crystal chandelier- so please ensure you have time as well as patience to see it all through!
You will need to carefully remove all crystal and beads and spray and clean the arms of the chandelier as described above.
Next, fill a basin with water and add two liberal squirts of your desired soft cleaning product before swishing each crystal or bead in the water. Do this individually to get an effective clean, and use a glove if your skin is prone to dryness from prolonged water use.
Rinse off each crystal or bead with cool water and carefully set each piece to dry on a soft towel. (These should be left to dry overnight to avoid droplets of water entering the electrical parts of your chandelier when you replace the crystals)
Crystals and beads should be left to dry in an area that is not in direct sunlight or heat and free from any interference that could lead to damage or breakage. (It’s easier to buy a new crystal chandelier than it is to buy the odd crystal that is compatible your twenty-year old chandelier!)
Next, carefully replace each crystal and bead as per the manufacturer’s diagram or as depicted in the photo you took earlier. Now, replace the bulbs and switch on the lights.
Be assured by the renewed compliments of guests or by the return of the flies buzzing in a happy circle under your chandelier, that your crystal prisms are sparkling clean and are refracting gorgeous light.
For a range of high quality, competitively priced home cleaning services designed to leave your home sparkling like the crystals on a chandelier be sure to call the team from Starlet!