SO. THAT SPRAY ON CHANDELIER CLEANER. DOES IT WORK?

Blue is the most loved colour around the world.  Blue!  Even among women in Thailand.   Women everywhere as a matter of fact.  That’s right.  The favoured colour among the majority of women in the world is not pink or purple or polkadotsparkle.  It’s blue.

Blue.  The colour of earth’s essential elements.  The water, the sky, the Windex.  As long as we have those 3 things we can survive any attack.

chandelier-cleaner-diy-1

 

We like our cleaning supplies.  We like how they smell like lemon or lavender or my personal favourite, the sweet, sweet smell of bleach.  In fact it was the smell of Windex that led me to figuring out a way to clean my crystal chandeliers without  having to wipe every single crystal.

I’ve had at least one chandelier in this house since I moved into it and at one point I had 3.  One in the kitchen, one in my laundry room and one very large pink one in the dining room.  The one in the kitchen was always a total mess and to clean it I’d put some of the larger crystals in the dishwasher and the rest in the sink to hand wash.  It was a pain, I hated it and therefore I never did it.  A crystal chandelier loses a bit of its charm when it’s covered in grease and cat hair.  Unless you’re one of those avant garde types.

I’ve known about spray cleaning chandeliers for years but I’ve never bought the stuff for fear it would be money wasted.  But for the sake of this blog and science, 4 weeks ago I went out and stole some from my local hardware store.  I walked in, I created a diversion by throwing a plaid shirt at a guy with a beard who was looking at screwdrivers and screaming OH MY GOD IT’S BOB VILA.  30 seconds later I was strolling out with a bottle of Sparkle Plenty and the store manager was taking a selfie with a very bewildered man.

Once I got home I looked at Sparkle Plenty, sniffed Sparkle Plenty and confirmed what I thought.   It smelled like Windex.  I then tried Sparkle Plenty on half of my chandelier.

 

easy-way-to-clean-a-chandelier

All you do is spray it on your chandelier (a lot … you have to spray so much that it’s actually dripping off your chandelier) and the dirt supposedly drips away.  Repeat until the water dripping off of the chandelier is clear.

It worked.  Like, it actually did what it said it was going to.

In a world where most things don’t do what they claim they’re going to do this was almost too much for me to handle.

I had to take a nap.  Also I was extremely tired after my busy day of dodging cops and browsing Google for some of the more delicate gang tattoos.

After a bit more research I came up with a recipe for a DIY chandelier cleaner that would cost a mere fraction of what the Sparkle Plenty would have cost had I paid for it.

Sparkle Plenty is around $12 for a 32 ounce bottle.  Which really isn’t all that much and if you insist on actually purchasing things as opposed to stealing or making them yourself because a 32 ounce bottle would last a long time. I can highly recommend Sparkle Plenty.  BUT … I wanted to try to make my own.

Most cleaning products are made up of distilled water and a bunch of other stuff.  Often either ammonia or isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol).

chandelier-cleaner-3

 

Because I had both things on hand, I mixed a concoction of 1 part rubbing alcohol with 3 parts DISTILLED water.  After checking the MSDS and online ingredients of Sparkle Plenty I discovered the main ingredient is distilled water.  The reason for that is distilled water will evaporate without leaving any mineral spots on the crystals. See?  Everything is better once it’s distilled.  Just ask barley or rye.

I took my homemade chandelier cleaner over to the other half of my chandelier and started spraying just like I did with the Sparkle Plenty.  The results were exactly the same as far as I could tell.

The one difference I noticed is that the Sparkle Plenty seemed to have something in it to make it a tiny bit thicker. It didn’t drip off quite as quickly as my homemade chandelier cleaner.  Something that made it almost a bit glycerin-like, but I don’t think it actually contains glycerin.

Point is, drip dry chandelier cleaner works whether it’s store bought (stolen) or made.

INSTRUCTIONS

  1.  Cover the floor or table underneath the chandelier with towels.
  2.  Turn off the light.
  3.  Cover the lightbulbs and sockets with plastic so the spray doesn’t get in them.
  4.  Spray the chandelier continuously until the drips coming off of it are clear. Not gucky.

wrapping-chandelier-bulbs-for-cleaning spray-cleaning-chandelier diy-chandelier-spray-cleaner

If your chandelier is a total disaster, like the one in my kitchen that was covered in 10 years of french fry grease, then you’re gonna have to hand clean your chandelier by spraying a microfibre cloth or glove with chandelier cleaner or warm soapy water and rubbing each crystal clean.   That’s just the way it is and you’re going to have to suck it up, but I’m sure you can because you’re tough, you’re resilient, you’re part of the gang.

Once you do that horrible job one time, you’ll be able to maintain your chandelier by just spraying it with a chandelier cleaner.  I’d say maybe 3 or 4 times a year.

The smell will immediately transport you back to sitting in a chair at the mall, while the most qualified of all medical professionals, a teenage girl working in a junk jewellery store, wipes your earlobes with a cotton ball soaked in rubbing alcohol before slamming your lobes into a rusty old hole punch she grabbed from her pencil case.

So the choice is yours.  Store bought or homemade with Isopropyl Alcohol.  They both work.  The store bought cleaner will cost you $12-$15 for 32 ounces.  The homemade cleaner will cost you $1.85 for the same amount.  A 32 ounce bottle will last for several chandelier cleanings.

(These costs have been calculated assuming that while you may have a sticky chandelier, you do not have sticky fingers)

 

49 Comments

  1. Karen, your posts are always so apropos!
    I just bought an antique chandelier… And I am so looking forward to hanging it. Maybe you have some ideas and info about hanging light fixtures?
    Cheers,
    Kristin

  2. Robert says:

    Who’s Bob Vila?
    Also totally convinced me of never owning a YUGE chandelier since someone has to clean it up and 3 to 4 times a year seems to much to even consider it

  3. Hmmm… I wonder if that would work on other glass things, like this tricky window with bird poo on it? Guess not…

  4. nanxy says:

    Where I used to live, there were roaches, Windex kills roaches on the spot. Now, where I live, I have great big flies, big shit flies, the worst kind. Windex is also very effective. I bet if you got a big sprayer full of Windex or Dawn with distilled water, your chandelier would be awesome. I don’t like bleach. If Windex or Dawn doesn’t do it, it doesn’t get done. Well, I have to include Oxyclean, it’s pretty great also. Ok, Ok, I have isopropyl alcohol that is 70% or 99%, do you have a preference?

  5. TucsonPatty says:

    Several times over the years I have seen helpful household hints telling us to use an upside-down umbrella hung from the middle of the chandelier, to catch the drips. I was hoping to see is that really worked! Thanks for the new cleanser recipe! Will it also work on pimples, as demonstrated in “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”? ; )

  6. Maria says:

    My aunt taught me another trick about this. To catch the drips, hang an umbrella upside down underneath the chandelier.

  7. Pat says:

    Bob Vila and This Old House! Classic! There is always a home made version of stuff out there like that famous toilet spray so your poop smells pretty. Made that for Christmas gifts. And that window cleaner that you attach to your hose so you don’t need to go up a ladder for top windows, made it. I am a “Karen” follower who has learned from the guru that there is always a way to make your own stuff! Thanks for all the inspiration.

    • Cred says:

      Hey Pat, would you have the link to or the recipe for that window cleaner you attach to a garden hose? Where do you get a bottle like that, that you can attach to a hose?
      I have a couple windows that I can only reach by ladder, this would be a helpful DIY.

      Cindy

      • Pat says:

        Hi Cindy,
        I am overseas right now and have the link on my computer back home. Sorry. Try googling some variations on the theme. I used the old bottle from the store purchased product I had used up. Now I am thinking about what I will use if that one fails. Wish I could be more help.
        Pat

        • Pat says:

          To Cindy,
          P.s. After reading Cathy’s comment with shampoo, water and isopropyl rings a bell but use dish detergent instead. Something like that. Cannot recall any ratio.

      • Stephanie Hobson says:

        I need that recipe too!

  8. Melissa says:

    Well done sticky fingers!! Now I can buy that chandelier in confidence knowing I’ll be able to clean it!

  9. Jack Barr says:

    How to date oneself. In my youth Sparkle Plenty was the beautiful baby daughter of B.O. Plenty and Gravel Gertie in the old Dick Tracy comic strip……. certainly not just a mixture of distilled water and isopropyl alcohol dripping from a chandelier.

  10. Sherry says:

    Oh my gosh! I’m so excited too meet someone else who gets giddy over products that actually do what they say they do! I feel a it’s a life changing event whatever the actual product is. Fire sine reason, my friends and family find this amusing…

    Great post as always, though I agree with Robert. There are no giant chandeliers in my future. They are beautiful but I prefer to visit and let someone else have the responsibility for cleaning!

  11. Sheryl says:

    This is such a timely post! I just bought 5 sets of glass doorknobs at the flea market yesterday, for a project. I wasn’t looking forward to polishing my new, old knobs, so I will try this before I waste my elbow grease on them. Thanks Karen!

  12. Marilyn says:

    Well I will try that as the cleaner I bought at the lighting store is useless ! I have never seen sparkle plenty ..I have used the old school method and I have two chandeliers ..

  13. Mary W says:

    The post I’ve been waiting eleven years for! I have lots of “antique white painted metal flower petals” on mine so hopefully it won’t rust before drying. I really don’t care, though. The rust would cover the dust. Gee, they are very similar words! Lesson learned: Life is either dusty or rusty. LOL

  14. Alena says:

    Ha! I had my own experience with Windex yesterday, but not so good one.
    I needed to find a spray bottle (to spray a plant). I had a few spray bottles in the past and they all stopped working after a while. But I usually save empty bottles from whatever that comes in a spray bottle, like Windex etc. So I fished out an old Windex bottle from the basement and because there was about half a teaspoon of Windex still left in it, I sprayed it on my kitchen window (right above the sink) that always gets splashed on a lot, and a living room window that has traces of my dog’s nose art. I rubbed the windows with a paper towel and to my horror, it resulted in a thick fog like film coating the window pane. Then I tried vinegar to get the film off – it helped only a tiny bit, but not a lot. It took two more applications of another cleaner (one of those ‘green’ cleaners) to get it completely off.
    Old Windex no good?

    • Kasia says:

      love that you call it your dog’s “nose art”! I’ve never heard anyone else use that phrase. My dad used to say that about all the prints left on his car windows. thanks for that memory!

  15. Cred says:

    This makes me want a chandelier just so I can clean it. It used to be my job when I was a kid- I always expected I would damage the fasteners on the end of the crystal string. I loooove that sparkle plenty actually works- when a product does what it says it will, I’m usually happy to buy it but I just can’t resist a DIY sub. And when they work just as well as store bought, I feel like I’m sticking it to the man.
    I feel a great deal of satisfaction when I have a cleaning hack for something that is a pain in the butt, like cleaning windows. I do mine inside and out several times a year and it makes you look like a cleaning superstar (I’m far from it) because others rarely do it. Clean chandeliers would have the same effect.
    Wish I could put your cleaner to use maybe I’ll find something else it works for.

  16. Cathy Reeves says:

    Years ago a coworker gave me this window cleaner:
    1 gallon distilled water, pour out 16 oz .
    Add 2 Tbs Prell shampoo and 16oz Isopropyl Alcohol.
    I’m not sure any old shampoo works; I found Prell at a dollar store or Walmart, I don’t remember.

  17. Jasmine says:

    If this works I will love you forever. (I already like you a lot, so there’s that). I have a Swarovski chandelier with 649 crystals. I know that because it takes me hours to clean each and every one while wearing my gloves and I’ve counted them. By the end my neck, shoulders and arms are seized, but I can’t stop looking up because it’s so beautiful. I go through this a couple of times a year. If I can spray it I promise I will do it more often. I had heard that these things don’t work, but I’m trusting you on this one Karen. As soon as the weather gets back to normal (there’s SNOW here in Victoria and the whole city has ground to a halt), I will hit the hardware store!

  18. Kathy Houk says:

    There is a twist in your brain that is joyfully funny. Bob Vila in a hardware store, too good.

  19. Gretchen Sexton says:

    Genius!
    (Now all I need is a chandelier…I love yours!)

  20. Kelli says:

    Such a simple fix…now if I only had a chandie or two. Of course I don’t count my chandelier earrings, but it might do the trick there too.

    So speaking of cleaning years of greasy, fur covered guck from things…can you give tips on that next? I collect teapots, and also have a cat. My teapots are atop my kitchen cabinets, so naturally they all have a lovely film of grease, dust and ick on them. Is there an easy cleaning and degreasing fix for them other than taking them down one by one (about 20 of them ugh) and washing by hand??? I await your answer with baited coffee breath.

    • Laurie says:

      Kelli, try straight rubbing alcohol. I use it on my stainless stove hood. The dusty grease comes right off!

    • Louise says:

      I say use that cleaner with the hose that Pat mentioned.
      Of course, cleaning up the kitchen after that might be more trouble than pulling down and cleaning each teapot! 🙂

  21. Christie says:

    OMG! You totally took me back to the mall where I got my ears pierced. Then one earhole grew back in, and my mom repoked it with a large darning needle!!! And then I promptly passed out on the bathroom floor! Probably why I don’t have any other piercings… okay – there’s other reasons, but you get it…

  22. Wendy says:

    Karen, the alcohol in the cleaner sounds good. However. I’m an ammonia fan and I use it to clean just about any filmy/greasy formerly shiny thing.
    A big bonus with ammonia is that it also shines most metals. I see that the little metal clips holding the crystals up are still dark after using alcohol cleaner. If you use about 2-4 tblsp ammonia (depending on the grease level) to a litre of distilled water (make the solution very warm), I bet you a green egg laying chicken that it will work better!
    I have managed apartment buildings for 20 years and have learned a few great cleaning tips.
    Extra tip: Soak that heavily greasy metal screen under your stove hood in 50/50 ammonia/water .. 10 minutes and a little go-over with a small brush .. ta da! sparkling clean!
    I could go on. Really, an amazing grease cutter with no residue and it’s environmentally friendly. And cheap, even without sticky fingers.

    • Wendy says:

      By the way, in my daredevil youth, I pierced my own ears with a darning needle poked through into a raw potato. I used alcohol for the needle. 🙂

  23. Kathleen HARTZELL says:

    So, on the topic of cleaning…..why do the top shelves in my (sliding door) closet get so dusty? Actually, any clothes not worn in some time get dust on shoulders. Where does it come from – the doors are almost always closed????? Trying to find some travel supplies I think I inhaled about a quart of ancient dust…….and found an old hat. Dusty hat.

    • Nancy W says:

      Dust is teeny. It gets through every little hole. And your clothes themselves make dust…every time you get something out of the closet, or put something in, you are creating dust. (insert dust to dust comment/joke here)

  24. Kari says:

    My favorite color is blue. It’s so calming. I wonder if this would work on car windows. It may be too messy inside the car. I have all the ingredients so I’m gonna find out, lol. If it’s a fail I can still use it on my chandelier.

  25. Anne says:

    Our mid-century modern home came with a fabulous chandelier that was coated in 50 years of nicotine. Testament to the world of modern medicine that the previous owner managed to live that long. No amount of hand scrubbing in hot soapy water could clean it. Until I found my husbands motorcycle parts cleaner and it cleaned those crystals into sparkly brightness with zero effort on my part. I think the name was something manly – like Purple power – and, well, the container was emptied on my project and the evidence destroyed. Smile. Our chandelier looks better than the motorcycle!

  26. Renee says:

    Careful using alcohol or the like on the teapots if they are hand painted (not glazed) on the outside at all. The paint will melt off. I have a Snoopy cookie jar that has silver & red painted on top of the glaze, and my Mom (trying to be helpful) sprayed it with Windex, and….you can guess why that area is not only clear white glaze.

  27. Magali says:

    Another tip for a chandelier that is a big mess is to unhook the crystals and stick them in the dishwasher. That’s what I did with mine! It used to belong to my grandmother and had went through a house fire. The crystals were covered in soot and they came out perfect! (I put the crystals in the utensil baskets with the top down. And if your chandelier is very elaborate be sure to snap a pic of it first!)

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