Chandelier Cleaning

100% Cotton Reversable Gloves

Hello all,
Recently I had the pleasure and benefit of shadowing a chandelier restoration and cleaning professional in nearby Virginia. I spent part of a day watching him work and asking him questions and we interacted via e-mail for further interaction. He specializes in restoring and cleaning of crystal chandeliers.

In a nutshell, here are the do’s and don’ts that were communicated:

Do’s: Always inspect all chandeliers prior to cleaning them. Always lay down a movers pad or a clean blanket to protect both the surface below the cleaning and you the cleaning company from breakage of prisms, pendants, etc that can and will fall from improper attaching. Use a fiberglass step ladder where possible to reduce the possibility of shock during cleaning process. Try to find a local company that has replacement part for crystal and various types of chandeliers. Turn off the lights prior to cleaning after making sure all the bulbs are working. Assess each cleaning situation and price according to height, accessibility and cleanliness.

Don’ts: Never spray any solution directly onto a chandelier, it can cause corrosion or damage the electrical components. Never spin any chandelier for any reason as it will cause wear and tear on the connection to the ceiling. Be gentle, never rub crystal pendants, ornaments, prisms, etc harshly, gently rubbing them will do the job and minimize the possibility of damage. Do your homework and never use abrasive cleansers that can damage the various materials chandeliers are made with.

My current process: I clean the feet of my 12 foot step ladder prior to bringing it in the home and then carefully carry the ladder in always mindful of the tail swing as I manuever it to start my inspection. I set my ladder where I want to start and then lay out my movers pad around the area underneath the chandelier. Turn on the lights to the chandelier and climb up and inspect. I look to make sure all the bulbs are working and look for missing pieces. If there are missing pieces I tell the customer to both protect my company and to offer to replace the parts at a marked up rate along with an additional labor charge. After inspection is complete I turn off the lights to the chandelier and attempt to light the area around the chandelier as best it can be lit via other sources. Start at the top and work downward. Use the 100% cotton gloves: Cara Disposable Cotton Therapy Gloves, 24 Pair - Medium - then use crystal cleanser (for crystal chandeliers) or a 50/50 DI water/isopropryl alcohol mix and spray one glove on both sides prior to climbing up the ladder so that it is wet. I keep the other glove dry and use what is referred to as the “Two glove method” of cleaning chandeliers. This method is used (especially on crystal chandeliers) for better control and to minimize the dragging of a bulky rag through tight bead work arrangements thus reducing risk of breakage. Wet with the wet glove and carefully dry with the dry glove and turn the gloves over when dirty and change them out periodically. I also use microfiber rags and Zep 40 spray cleaner on some glass chandeliers. (ocatagonal glass)

Clearly cleaning chandeliers is not rocket science. However, things can get sticky if you do not take the time to inspect and use the right cleansers and safety methods. Chandeliers are an expensive item within a home and the care and cleaning should be taken seriously.

I’ve just come from MWCoA - I had a deja vu moment :smiley:

Have you ever cleaned those lanterns up high? I have a hard time of making them smear free.

1st off Karl, your blog Rocks bro! Just started reading it and am impressed.

Secondly, I do almost exclusively residential so if the lighting is hanging from the ceiling and can’t be reached with a 12 foot step or via an extension near the wall…I won’t be the guy doing it. In terms of getting a shining finished product, I have had good results. It is tedious and sometimes strenuous work going over and over a section that refuses to come clear.

Again, nothing magical just tedious.

That is basically my approach to cleaning them. A 12’ step is the way to go. I have heard horror stories about companies putting a 24’ ladder against a foyer wall. Not good. I used to use ZEP a few years ago but it kept getting more and more expensive. I used to but it from Home Depot in the three pack. They seemed to have stopped selling it that way. I currently use Spray Away. Nice clean smell that foams to give you good hang time to get it off. Spray the insides, do a basic wipe down then follow with a clean towel.

I have dropped a beveled piece before and broke it. It was an odd size. Cost me $80.00 to have it hand made. Lesson learned. I emailed a chandelier cleaning company about 5 years ago and the owner told me along with other things, to use a sleeping bag to break the fall if you drop something.

May have to get some of those gloves- sounds like a good idea and looks professional. Best of all, it shows you care. Good tip.


Thanks Dwight!

I always get the 24 foot lanterns. Usually they have a balcony - so I tie it off there! Strip washers are too big - so I usually go for a microfiber combo or scrim. But when the lights go on - it don’t look good.

Great info Dwight, thanks for sharing.

I haven’t clean any of those crystal chandeliers yet, but got a lot of light fixtures on foyers and use the Spray Away as Steve mentioned, great smell, cling for cleaning and streak free.

12FT ladder here too, recently bought a used one, really sturdy since it was reinforced with some metal braces. Bought it from a ladder repair company (never though that existed)

Got a link to the Spray Away Carlos?

I bought a 4 pack at Sams Club for $7.00 and some change. One of my guys told me he saw it a Walmart too. Its easily found in the states.



Dwight, Sam’s club is the place to go as Steve mentioned. 4pack for around $8.
Sorry I didn’t post sooner, you guys wake up too early for me :slight_smile:

And is Spray WAY (not away) here’s a link for 'ya

Do you take the pieces down and clean them individually or is the proper way to clean them while they are hanging? How do you price chandelier cleaning? Is it by the piece, by the estimated hour or just by the hour?

I cleaned on last year with the home owner, I was at the top of the ladder and took each piece down and handed it to her, she cleaned them individually then I replaced the pieces. It was tricky.

I was wondering the same thing about pricing a job like that as well as cleaning while hanging or disassembling???

We don’t clean chandeliers because they are time consuming, and expensive to replace. We do clean alot of hanging light fixtures though. They usually take 15 minutes, and we charge $50.

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thats how we do it, it is tedious but looks great when done. One of us taking it apart/putting back, other washing, drying. I charge $125.00 and up depending on how large lite is or how many pieces. there have been ones ive turned down, didnt even want to try to tackle them. I sometimes take a digital pic if im not sure im going to remember how it gets reassembled. Great ideas about the pad on floor and the gloves.

Next time I do a chandelier I’ll have to try this as recommended … thanks :slight_smile:

We just had a job this past week cleaning 3 large crystal chandeliers. We used 1 part isopropyl alcohol to 3 parts distilled water as our cleaning solution. We would put about a 4" diameter circle of solution in the middle of a huck towel, clean the crystal pieces and use the outside dry area of the towel to dry and buff to a high gloss shine. It wasn’t that time consuming and those chandeliers looked like brand new diamonds…amazing!
we also use the sprayway foam spray for coach lights or smaller plate glass chandeliers, but for crystal I loved the results we were able to achieve.

Here’s both the tech sheet and the MSDS, encase your interested to know what’s in the can.

I have 13 buildings with 1 Chandelier located in each building’s foyer. I need to come with a price for them. What would you price these out at? There is 24 pieces of glass/crystals in each one. So, from reading this I should use Zep 40 or Spray away to clean them. What would you charge? Any ideas would be welcome.

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