Do you know all the places where you waste energy? We may think we know where all the energy wasting hot spots are, but have you thought about dirty light bulbs?
Dirty light bulbs and fixtures not only waste energy, but if you’re selling your home in Albuquerque, they can detract from the cleanliness of your home when it’s being shown.
True, cleaning light fixtures isn’t everyone’s favorite job. You need a stepladder and a steady hand. But it’s a necessary task that should be done at least every few months.
Dirty bulbs shed 30% less light than clean ones, says the U.S. Department of Energy. Add a dusty, dead-bug riddled cover, and you’ve got an automatic dimmer, whether you want one or not.
Light bulbs have much longer lifespans than they used to, thanks to LED and CFL technology. So obviously they’ll get dirtier and need cleaning from time to time.
Wipe bulbs with a dry cloth, not wet. Water can get into crevices and damage electronics. Also, don’t spray cleaning solutions directly onto the light bulb, which could damage the bulb. Turn off the electricity to the fixture before messing with the bulbs.
Bugs and ceiling fixtures go together like PB&J and is just as messy (and far less tasty). Remove fixtures and soak in a sink with soapy water. Dry and shine with a microfiber cloth.
Don’t put glass fixtures in the dishwasher. The glass is not designed to be dishwasher safe and can damage both the fixture and the dishwasher.
Dust with a long-handle duster, such as a Swiffer, that traps dust and cobwebs. For a more thorough cleaning, wipe the insides of canisters and the bulbs with a microfiber cloth or a slightly damp rag.
Before cleaning, make sure the electricity is off and the bulb is cool.
Dust the lights on ceiling fans when you clean the fan blades. When a bulb goes out and you have to climb a ladder anyway, clean globes and bulbs with a microfiber cloth. If the globes are really dirty, take them down and clean with soapy water or a cleaning solution.
When removing or returning globes or bulbs, be sure not to steady yourself by grabbing fan blades, which will turn if touched.
Tricks of the Trade
1. Dryer sheets are low-cost alternatives to microfiber clothes. They’re great for dusting bulbs.
2. Wear goggles when dusting or spritzing overhead fixtures to prevent dust or cleaning solution from hurting your eyes.
3. If you’re having trouble removing the bulb in a recessed light, cut a 12-inch strip of duct tape, and fold it over the bulb so that the ends act like handles that are easier to grip than the glass.