Recent Posts

Monday, January 14, 2013

How To Clean An Antique Crystal Chandelier (with bloopers :)

This antique crystal chandelier hung in my mom Nadine’s house for many years.

chandy 110-001

When we cleaned out her house no one else wanted it. There were even under the breath mumblings of “It’s ugly.”

I pleaded its case “It’s an art deco chandelier. With real crystals.”

No takers.

Lucky me. :)

It arrived safely in a box in November (Thanks Sharalyn!). I knew it would be a bit of a project. Possible rewiring, installation, the silver support bands really needed polishing and the crystals had not been cleaned in years.

chandy 037

I was SO eager to get it cleaned and hung as I had the perfect place in mind for it. The lavender guestroom.

Because this was the fixture that was in the room. (It came with the house.)

parisian party hats 077

A lacquered Victorian ceiling fan. Any takers?

parisian party hats 074-001

Given the chandeliers age and delicate condition I researched various cleaning methods before settling on what I felt was the best and safest way.

Note: You can also use this method on newer glass crystal chandeliers too.

For those of you who are old school and prefer photos, here is the layout. I used jewelry pliers to remove the crystals from the chandelier.

chandy 052

Lay the dirty crystals on a soft towel to protect the delicate glass.

chandy 054

Line a double sink or two plastic basins or pots each with a towel.

chandy 055

Fill one side with HOT water and mild detergent to clean the crystals.

chandy 065

Fill the other side with HOT water and 1/4 cup of ammonia to rinse the crystals in. The hot water helps prevent water spots. The ammonia provides a bit of extra cleaning and sparkle.

It should be noted that while the addition of the ammonia does provide unmatched sparkle, over the years it also darkens the pinnings (the wire hardware) on the crystals.

If this is something you wish to avoid then don’t add the ammonia to the hot rinse water.

As the pinnings on this chandelier were already dark I went for the extra dazzle!

chandy 066

Once you have washed and rinsed the crystals, dry them with a soft linen or cotton cloth. Do not use terry cloth to dry as the pinnings could get caught in the terry cloth loops and stretch out the wire.

Lay the crystal on a soft towel (terry cloth is ok) to protect it while you wash the rest of the crystals.

chandy 056

Here you can see the cleaned crystal on the left and the dirty crystal on the right. A truly big and bright improvement!

chandy 042

Safety tip: With old chandeliers it is a good idea to get the wiring checked by a lighting professional or electrician before installation. I am lucky that Mr. Décor possesses such skills.

Once the chandelier was hung I began attaching the clean crystals back on to the metal tiered hoops.

chandy 041-001

Ta Da!

chandy 110-002

A close up of the lovely Art Deco design. Much of the silver plating has worn away but I still love it.

chandy 106-001

At dusk.

chandy 115-001

Now for your Monday viewing pleasure,  a few bloopers.

Two right hands.

Rudi decides to bark in the backyard. Loudly. Continuously.

I am tongue tied.

Happy Monday!


Linking to:

The Charm of Home, Common Ground, StoneGable, Shabby Nest, Tatertots and Jello, Positively Splendid, The 36th Avenue,Jennifer Rizzo, BNOTP, ASTL, Someday Crafts

Savvy Southern Style


Shingle Cottage said...

Such a great tutorial,Thank you!
You are totally cute on film and i loved the last tongue tied blooper,that would be me. x

Audrey @ Neverending Decorating said...

That is a stunning piece, I love it and it looks so beautiful all lit up! Have a great week.

Kelley Dibble said...

Your treasure looks positively fabulous now! Good job!

Martha said...

How pretty! I thought you were going to give some easy secret tip! Sigh! But shining crystals are well worth the effort -- I love to see them sparkle!!!

Linda said...

Wonderful, Laura! These are excellent tips that I can use for cleaning my own chandelier, the one that hangs over our dining room table that my husband brought to our home from his prior one.

You continue to inspire me - over the weekend, I cleaned and organized under our kitchen sink (something that was badly needed for a long time), and I installed mats in our frig, and when Jim asked me what I was doing, I said "It's all Laura, Decor to Adore's fault", LOL ;) and of course, blog reader that he is, he knew exactly what I meant! :)

Seriously, you are the greatest!

Love, Linda

marty (A Stroll Thru Life) said...

You are so funny, I love this and I really do like the chandy. It is perfect for your guest bedroom. Lots of work to clean, but so worth it. Hugs, Marty

Sheila said...

I can't believe your relatives thought that was an ugly chandy, but aren't you the lucky one. I must say I'm a bit jealous! LOL. But really, it's simply gorgeous and you did a great job preserving your priceless possession.

Marydon said...

Beautiful chandie, Laura. I use the spray stuff at Home Depot, lay tons of towels out to protect everything & WAH-LAH! it sparkles w/no spots like diamonds.

Happy New Year sweet lady ~

Ceekay-THINKIN of HOME/Doublewide Decor said...

You are so funny showing your bloopers! I love when crystal is clean and shiney!!

Jill Flory of Sew a Fine Seam said...

Great video tutorial Laura - and I LOVE that you added the bloopers! So fun :) And I also want to comment on yesterdays post - CONGRATS on being back in school! I was just wondering recently if you were going to be taking classes again soon! Way to go! I'd love to take some myself - never thought I'd be saying that but I would love to take business classes. Just not sure I have time to add that to my schedule and budget right now. Hubby is even less convinced I have time - he keeps asking me how much more I think I can take on. adn he is probably right - I'm stretched pretty thin right now.

~ ~ Ahrisha ~ ~ said...

What a beauty you have there. I recently bought a chandy at auction and had to do a clean up on it too. It is so worth the work isn't it? Must do a post about mine too.
~ ~Ahrisha~ ~

Christine said...

You have the patience of Job!

Organized Island said...

Great tutorial. My mother had a few chandiliers and did this process and they came out sparkling! Very pretty!

openid said...

The chandelier is stunning. I bet the one's that passed it up will have second thoughts when they come to visit. :) Thank you for another informative and useful tutorial. I enjoyed the video and bloopers!
Your Friend,

Karen Albert said...

Dear Laura this chandelier id gorgeous, I must say that nothing escapes your expertise!

I was thinking of a spray bottle with cleaner over a towel on the deck!Ha!

2013 Artists Series

Cindy said...

What a beautiful chandelier!! Also loved the video and bloopers...confirms we are human!! ;)

Craftymoose Crafts said...

Lucky you is right!!! The chandelier is beautiful!

everythingsewing said...

I am so glad you saw the beauty in the chandelier. It reminds me of the chandelier in the farm house we used to own. I doubt it is still there, people just do not see how beautiful 'old' things are.

bobbie said...

That chandy is absolutely, breath-takingly gorgeous!!!
Lucky you!!

Bloggymom said...

Beautiful chandelier!!! It has lot so shine now!!

Vel Criste said...

Thank you! Although I dont have one in my home right now, someday, I want want one. Btw, you are a natural Laura - very telegenic!

Susan (My Place to Yours) said...

I'm so glad you saved this wonderful fixture! I've cleaned many a chandelier crystal, and your tutorial is "tried and true." Nicely done.

BTW - you've gone back to school! I was already wondering how you get everything done that you do; now you're really going to put us all to shame. :-) Good luck, my friend. I'm really proud of you!

Grace @ Sense and Simplicity said...

Lucky you - what a gorgeous chandelier.

Auntie Em said...

What a beautiful fixture! I love crystal chandeliers and the silver plating must have made this one even more amazing when it was new. I love the soft patina is has now with the layers of sparkle. My grandparents had a beautiful one in their formal living room and I can remember being so amazed at the sparkles and rainbows it gave off, especially at Christmas time with the lights.
Cleaning them is truly a gift of love to your home! :)

Domesticable said...

That chandy is gorgeous! Thanks for sharing this great tip. I want to do a vlog post but I hate the way my voice sounds. Great job!


Julie Tucker-Wolek said...

Love love love love how it turned out!!! Looks GORGEOUS!! And loving the videos!!!

Cristina Garay said...

What a beautiful chandelier! You did an awesome job!

chateau chic said...

Very tedious, but what a beauty when it's all sparkly again!
Mary Alice

Do you love him Loretta said...

What a great chandelier! I can't believe no takers! Lucky you : )

Liz Hockamier said...

Oh Laura! It is so perfectly shabby chic! I don't blame you for wanting it. It looks great. Thanks for the tutorial. :)


jode said...

I also own a vintage midcentury chandelier with *real* crystals. It's such a treat to look at every single day. Thanks for the tutorial; I was terrified to clean it.

Kathleen Cichowski said...

I'm interested in finding out how to clean the silver are at the top is there any special product I could find out on the market to polish also some of the hooks look old and frail any suggestions all the help , info you have to give me would be appreciated
thanks kathleen