How to: Cleaning a Crystal Chandelier

Time for some background –

No less than a million years ago, my grandparents took this chandelier down from their dining room for some reason that I’m sure my grandmother is still trying to figure out. Every time she visits she talks about taking it back… it’s not happening, Dolly! (She’ll read this so I had to say it.) 🙂

ImageAnyway, it was the early 1990s & our entire house was Hunter green & other various  jewel tones. Counter tops, window treatments, carpet, everything. This chandelier was black with gold, wax “drips” on the candles so my dad spray painted it green to “match” our house & that, my friends, is where it all began.

Fast-forward to 1997 when we moved to South Carolina & the chandelier still worked with the décor of that house so it was installed there too.

Not to bore you with details but basically this chandelier is my sister is what I’m getting at so obviously, she moved with us to this house too. Before it was installed in this house, a coat of black spray paint was necessary. Hunter green was OVER.

Now, that was 2007 so I was in design school & couldn’t just leave it solid black so I finished over it with metallic silver paint, then color washed the entire thing with black so it looked like pewter & that’s the way it’s stayed & I’ve added the tear drop light bulbs from Restoration Hardware, as well. A splurge but they’re so classic & add a little something extra.

Wait a second, isn’t this a post about cleaning a crystal chandelier? YES! I promise you, I’m getting there.

So, here’s the thing. It’s kind of a show-stopper especially since our house isn’t a chateau nor is it a Jersey McMansion, it’s a pretty casual house but with little moments of glamour. Being that our entire living area is open, this chandelier is visible from most all of the rooms – you can imagine that we like to keep it clean since it’s really one of the first things people notice upon entering the house.

This is what happened today: I was all “I know how I clean the chandelier but I wonder how others do it.” So I grabbed my iPad, went straight past Go Google to Pinterest, where else & I couldn’t find a single, good tutorial on how to clean a crystal chandelier! Can you believe that? Especially since they’ve been trending for the last few years, you’d think someone would’ve done a post on it by now. Also, there was one person who said that they recommend a professional for cleaning a chandelier. Um, ain’t nobody got time… you finish the rest of that.

Anyway, here it goes. It may not be “right” but it’s how I’ve done it forever & it works.

To start, you need to remove all of the crystals. If you don’t know your sister chandelier like I do, you may want to make a list of where the crystals go, for instance, on the “leaves” of our chandelier, all of the crystals have pointed facets on each side where the ones that hang around the candles have a flat side. It’ll just make it easier to put it back together after it’s clean.

Now, place the crystals into a colander. We’re Italian so we have a few of those hanging around here.


Then, stop the drain in your sink & fill the sink with warm water & a few tablespoons of dish detergent, fully submerging the crystals.


Meanwhile, letting the crystals soak, go find an old towel or drop cloth to lay beneath the chandelier to catch the dust from the light itself. A natural bristled paintbrush will be your friend for dusting off your chandelier. I never use liquid on the light itself but the paintbrush manages to rid it of dust & spiderwebs with a relative amount of ease.


Rinse the crystals with warm water, using the hand sprayer. After that, spray the crystals, in the colander with glass cleaner – this is very important so that you don’t end up with spots on the crystals. Once they’re all sprayed, rinse them again with warm water using the hand sprayer.


ImageHere comes the time consuming part – if you’re still with me! Take a soft cloth, (I used a disposable, dish cloth this time but you can use anything that’s relatively dust free) & spray it with glass cleaner. Take each crystal, wiping them down with the cloth sprayed with glass cleaner, then dry with a paper towel & immediately hang it back on the chandelier with the paper towel covering the larger part of the crystal if you’re neurotic & hate finger prints as much as I do. Repeat this 30,000 times until all of your crystals are back on the chandelier & you’re done!


I know it’s time consuming & I know it’s kind of a pain in the ass but look how it sparkles when it’s clean! It’s worth it & really it only took about an hour from start to finish and there’s roughly exactly 64 crystals plus the one crystal ball that hangs in the middle of the chandelier.


Hopefully my run-on sentence of a post made sense & will help you in cleaning your chandelier!

Tweet me @JamieBertolini

Stay tuned for more – not more housekeeping posts though, promise!



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