Giovanni Valle is a licensed architect and LEED-accredited professional and is certified by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB). He is the author and managing editor of various digital publications, including BuilderSpace, Your Own Architect, and Interiors Place.
Any homeowner knows that one of the most important aspects of interior maintenance is having clean, clear glass light fixtures. But over time, even the best-maintained fixtures can succumb to a build-up of fog and grime. If your light fixtures have seen better days, you must do everything possible to keep them from getting foggy.
To keep glass light fixtures from getting foggy, switch off the power at the mains. Next, remove any lamp shades or bulbs and wipe the glass with a clean, dry cloth. If the glass is still dirty, scrub it with a clean cloth soaked in a solution of equal parts distilled vinegar and water.
If you’re looking for ways to keep your glass light fixtures as clear as the day you bought them, you’re in the right place. This comprehensive guide will show you how to keep glass light fixtures from getting foggy in a few steps. I’ll also offer tips for preventing that in the first place, so stay tuned!
1. Gather Your Supplies
Before you begin cleaning your light fixtures, it’s important to gather all of the necessary supplies. In this case, you’ll need the following items:
- A ladder or step stool. This will come in handy if your light fixtures are placed out of reach.
- A bucket. Any old bucket will do.
- Mild dish soap. You’ll need this to create your cleaning solution. Avoid using harsh chemicals, as they can damage the glass.
- Water. This will be used in conjunction with dish soap to create a gentle cleaning solution.
- Soft cloth. This can be an old t-shirt or a cotton rag. Avoid using abrasive materials, as they may scratch the glass.
- White vinegar. This will be used as a spot treatment for particularly stubborn areas of grime.
- A toothbrush (or other small brush). This will be used to reach tight spaces and remove stubborn dirt.
2. Switch Off the Power
Before you begin cleaning, it’s important to switch off the power to the light fixture. That way, you can avoid being electrocuted while you’re working. Here are the steps you need to take:
- Find the fuse box or breaker panel. This will be located in your basement, garage, or utility room.
- Locate the switch that controls the power to your light fixtures.
- Flip the switch to the “off” position.
Remember, it’s always better to err on the side of caution. So, if you’re unsure which switch controls the power to your light fixtures, it’s best to shut off the power to the entire house.
3. Remove the Light Bulb & Fixture Cover
Once the power is off, you can remove the light bulb and fixture cover. That will give you better access to the glass, making it easier to clean. To remove the light bulb and fixture cover:
- Unscrew the light bulb from the socket. If the light bulb is stuck, you can use a little bit of WD-40 to loosen it.
- Remove the screws that hold the fixture cover in place. The number of screws will vary depending on the type of fixture you have.
- Lift the cover off of the fixture.
Caution: Ensure the light bulb has cooled before removing it from the socket. Otherwise, you risk getting burned.
4. Prepare Your Cleaning Solution
Now that you have all of your supplies and the light fixture is exposed, you can prepare your cleaning solution. To do that:
- Pour a small amount of dish soap into the bucket.
- Fill the bucket with warm water.
- Stir the water until the dish soap has dissolved.
5. Begin Washing the Fixture
With your cleaning solution prepared, you can begin washing the fixture. To do that:
- Start by wiping it down with a damp cloth to remove any surface dirt and grime. If the cover is especially dirty, you can wash it in the sink with a little bit of dish soap.
- Dip your cloth into the bucket and wring it out until it’s only slightly damp.
- Wipe the glass down with the damp cloth using circular motions.
- If you come across any stubborn dirt areas, you can use the toothbrush to scrub them away.
- Rinse the glass with clean water.
- Dry the glass with a soft cloth.
Tip: If your light fixtures are particularly dirty, you may need to repeat this process a few times.
6. Treat Any Stubborn Areas With White Vinegar
Even after scrubbing diligently, there may still be some areas of grime that just won’t budge. If that’s the case, you can treat those areas with white vinegar. To do that:
- Mix equal parts water and white vinegar in a bowl.
- Dip a cloth into the mixture and wring it out until it’s only slightly damp.
- Apply the cloth to the stubborn areas of grime and let it sit for a few minutes.
- Scrub the area with a toothbrush or other small brush.
- Rinse the area with clean water.
- Dry the area with a soft cloth.
7. Reinstall the Light Bulb & Fixture Cover
Once you’re finished cleaning, you can reinstall the light bulb and fixture cover. To do that:
- Screw the light bulb back into place.
- Replace the fixture cover and screw it into place.
Note: Ensure you reinstalled the light bulb and fixture cover before turning the power back on. Otherwise, damaging the fixture.
8. Turn the Power Back On
Now that the light fixture is clean and everything has been put back in place, you can turn the power back on. To do that:
- Go to your fuse box or breaker panel.
- Flip the switch that controls the power to your light fixtures to the “on” position.
- Switch on the light bulb.
Ways To Prevent Glass Light Fixtures From Getting Foggy
Now that you know how to clean glass light fixtures, it’s time to talk about ways to prevent them from getting foggy in the first place. To do that, you’ll need to take the following measures:
Keep Your House Well-Ventilated
One of the best ways to prevent your glass light fixtures from getting foggy is to keep your house well-ventilated. That way, the moisture in the air will have a chance to dissipate before it has a chance to settle on your light fixtures.
Here are a few ways you can improve the ventilation in your home:
- Open your windows on a daily basis, even if it’s just for a few minutes. That will help circulate the air and reduce the amount of moisture in the air.
- Install exhaust fans in your kitchen and bathroom. These will help remove any steam or odors that could be causing the problem.
- Make sure your vents are clear and unobstructed. If they’re blocked, that could trap moisture in your home and cause it to condense on your light fixtures.
Use a Dehumidifier
While high humidity may be good for your skin, it can wreak havoc on your home. Excess moisture in the air can cause condensation on windows and glass light fixtures, making them foggy and difficult to see through.
In addition, increased humidity levels provide the perfect conditions for mold and mildew to grow. Not only is this unsightly, but it can also cause health problems for you and your family. Additionally, excess moisture in the air can damage furniture and electronics.
To prevent such problems, it’s important to keep the humidity levels in your home under control. The best way to do that is to use a dehumidifier. That will help remove excess moisture from the air, preventing it from condensing on your light fixtures.
However, ensure you empty the dehumidifier’s water tank on a regular basis and clean it according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Otherwise, the dehumidifier will become a breeding ground for mold and mildew, defeating the purpose of using it in the first place.
Wipe Down Your Light Fixtures Regularly
Another good way to prevent your light fixtures from getting foggy is to wipe them down on a regular basis. That way, you can remove any dust or dirt that has accumulated on the surface of the fixture. Additionally, it will also help remove any fingerprints or smudges that could be causing the problem.
Here are a few crucial guidelines to help make sure you’re properly cleaning your light fixtures:
- Use a clean, soft cloth to avoid scratching the surface of the fixture.
- Make sure the cloth is slightly dampened with water before you begin wiping down the fixture.
- Gently wipe down the entire surface of the light fixture, being careful not to scrub too hard.
- Once you’re finished wiping down the fixture, use a dry cloth to remove any residual moisture.
- Repeat this process on a regular basis or whenever you notice your light fixtures starting to look foggy.
Here’s a quick video tutorial on how to clean glass light fixtures in your home:
Inspect the Fixtures for Damage or Cracks
If you’ve been noticing that your light fixtures are looking increasingly foggy, it’s important to inspect them for any damage or cracks.
Even the smallest crack in a light fixture can allow moisture to seep in and cause the problem. Therefore, it’s crucial to check the surface of your light fixtures for any cracks or chips.
If you do find any damage, it’s important to repair it as soon as possible. Otherwise, the problem will only get worse and could eventually lead to the need for a new light fixture.
Here are a few tips for repairing cracks in light fixtures:
- If the crack is small, you can try using clear nail polish or super glue to seal it.
- For larger cracks, you may need to use a clear epoxy resin.
- If the damage is too extensive, you may need to replace the light fixture altogether.
Check for Leaks in Your Home
Another common cause of foggy light fixtures is leaks. If there’s a leak in your home, that could be causing moisture to build up and condense on your light fixtures.
Therefore, it’s important to check for any signs of leaks, such as water stains on the ceiling or walls. You should also check under sinks and around windows and doors for any signs of leaks.
If you do find a leak, it’s important to repair it as soon as possible. Otherwise, the problem will only get worse and could eventually lead to serious damage to your home.
Ensure the Light Fixtures Are Properly Sealed
Another common cause of foggy light fixtures is improper sealing. If the light fixtures in your home aren’t properly sealed, that can allow moisture to seep in and cause the problem.
Therefore, it’s important to check the seals around your light fixtures to ensure they’re intact. If you notice any cracks or gaps in the seal, that’s an indication that the fixture is not properly sealed.
In that case, you’ll need to reseal the light fixture to prevent moisture from seeping in. Here’s how to properly reseal a light fixture:
- Turn off the power to the light fixture at the breaker box.
- Remove the globe or shade from the light fixture.
- Unscrew the retaining ring that holds the glass in place.
- Carefully remove the glass from the light fixture.
- Inspect the gasket for any damage. If the gasket is damaged, you’ll need to replace it.
- Clean the surface of the light fixture and the glass with a damp cloth.
- Apply a bead of clear silicone caulk around the edge of the glass.
- Carefully set the glass back in place and screw on the retaining ring.
- Reattach the globe or shade to the light fixture.
- Turn on the power to the light fixture at the breaker box.
Foggy light fixtures are a common problem, but that doesn’t mean you have to live with it. By taking the proper steps, you can keep your light fixtures looking clear and new.
When cleaning your fixture, use a clean, soft cloth to avoid scratching the surface. In addition, avoid harsh cleaners, as they can damage the finish. Also, be sure to take preventive measures, such as ensuring the light fixtures are properly sealed and checking for leaks in your home.
- Energy Star: Dehumidifiers
- Houzz: How To Keep Your Light Fixtures Shining Bright
- YouTube: Jack White: How To Clean Glass Light Fixtures in Your Home?
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