A chandelier can provide a sparkling focal point to any room and keeping it clean will maintain the refractive quality of the glass and enhance the sparkle it emits. Dust and grime accumulated over time turn the glass dull and cloudy, weakening the diffusion of light. Experts generally advise cleaning once a year. If you are lucky enough to own a large and intricate antique chandelier, seek professional help with cleaning. Simpler forms and smaller vintage chandeliers can be dealt with at home, provided they are safely accessible.


If the chandelier is of very simple construction, and the lustres easily detached, you can remove them from the main structure, wash in warm soapy water, dry and polish them before replacing. Ensure the electricity supply is disconnected first and photograph the chandelier before taking it apart. More complex forms are best dealt with in situ.

closeup of hands cleaning the chandelier
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You will need:

  • A sturdy step ladder
  • A dust sheet or blanket
  • Cotton gloves or microfibre cloths
  • Tissue/kitchen paper
  • Artist’s brush
  • A cleaning solution made from soapy water or vinegar or methylated spirit and water, or a proprietary chandelier cleaner
  • A spray diffuser

How to clean an old glass chandelier

  1. Disconnect the electricity to the chandelier.
  2. Place a dust sheet or blanket underneath to catch dirt and drips.
  3. Carefully placing the step ladder in a secure position beneath the chandelier, remove bulbs and discard any that are discoloured. Fill bulb sockets with tissue to stop moisture from entering.
  4. Moving the ladder round the chandelier, gently dust the dishes and glass drops using an artist’s brush or duster to remove loose dust and dirt. Avoid turning the chandelier on its fixing, as this can weaken its structure and cause damage.
  5. Spray the cleaning solution onto one of the gloves or cloths and, starting at the highest tier of the chandelier, gently wipe each segment of glass. Don’t spray directly onto the glass as the cleaner may enter the hollow arms containing electric wires, or react with the metal fixings and cause discolouration.
  6. Polish with a dry cloth or clean glove immediately before proceeding to the next section of the chandelier.
  7. When all the glass components have been cleaned, remove the tissue from the bulb sockets and leave the chandelier to dry thoroughly for several hours before replacing the bulbs.