Dusty grapes…

With all of the chandeliers we’ve hung over the years we field a fair amount of enquiries about how to keep them clean.

Recently we have gotten quite a few questions about the various chandelier cleaning sprays on the market.  If you haven’t seen them, these spays are a solution meant to be sprayed onto a chandlier while it is still hanging in place.  The piece doesn’t have to be disassembled and taken down but you do need to make sure that the power to the light is off.

Bellemead Hot Glass, Robert Kuster,Hillsborough NJ 08844
Bellemead Hot Glass, Robert Kuster,Hillsborough NJ 08844

Recently we decided to give one of the sprays a try and see if it would work well for us here at the shop.  There is a whole lot of glass hanging here and keeping it clean takes quite a bit of time.  Especially in environments like the shop, or kitchens, or outdoors, dirt can build up quickly.


Bellemead Hot Glass, Robert Kuster,Hillsborough NJ 08844
The dusty grapes hanging in place in the hotshop. After a few years of feather dusters it was time to give this cluster a more thorough going over…

For our trial run with these sprays we chose Brillianté brand spray based on the simple fact that we were able to buy it a gallon at a time.  The 20 ounce squirt bottle looked awfully small with the hot shop full of glass as a backdrop…

After flipping the breaker for this chandelier we set up this little pump sprayer, put down a drop cloth and set up two ladders.  We used two ladders because, as it notes on the back of the Brillianté packaging, you should avoid twisting a chandelier.  The electrical wires do not like the twisting!


The packaging said to let the chandelier drip dry for 30-60 minutes and then absorb excess moisture with a chamois.  In the heat of the shop, especially near the ceiling the chandelier wouldn’t stay wet for more than 10 minutes.  The first time we let it dry quickly, but we realized it didn’t have enough time wet for the solution to work. So, we tried a second time spraying it every 10 minutes for 30 minutes so it had plenty of time for the Brillianté to saturate.  Then we dabbed the drips off the tips of the pieces and let it finish drying.

Bellemead Hot Glass, Robert Kuster,Hillsborough NJ 08844
Those dusty grapes up close…


We left the piece turned off over the whole weekend and then gave it a look on Monday.  It definitely looks better.  Much of the surface dust had run off exactly as the spray had promised. But the chandelier was definitely not clean.


Bulk sized cleaner for the shop with our hnady pump sprayer...
Bulk sized cleaner for the shop with our hnady pump sprayer…

The environment of the shop creates a constant draft and air from the fields around the shop is sucked in through large doors constantly.  Also, the temperature changes as we turn furnaces off and on daily can vary by 100, this leads to really thick layers of condensation which kind of glues the dust down to things. This is pretty similar the situation of many of the chandeliers we’ve hung in restaurants.  For these chandeliers the only way to really restore their look will be a quick take down and re-hang.  That said the amount of dust the spray removed was astounding and it gave the surfaces it could clean (mostly those areas that were easily reached by our dusters on a regular basis) a very brilliant shine.




Bellemead Hot Glass, Robert Kuster,Hillsborough NJ 08844
After the spray… and a little additional elbow grease.


For home use and as regular maintenance this spray would be perfect.  For glass hung in more extreme environments there just isn’t a substitute for a gentle little scrub.  But, in those cases the re-hang does give us an opportunity to do things like check over wiring that may have been exposed to rain and snow, or fish out leaves or the occasional paper airplane.  We also tend to use these servicings as a time to look at the chandelier again and see if it needs a little refresh.  We often end up taking out a color and bringing in a new one or adding a new shape. Recently we have been transitioning many older chandeliers to LED lighting and we’ve begun to see some requests for color changing LED.


Over the next few weeks we’ll be showing doing just this type of service on a few unlit garden sculptures and we’ll have pictures of the whole process for you.  And, we’ll be assembling a chandelier made especially to feature color changing effects and showcasing a few that we’ve done this way in the past.