Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Shining A Light on Light Fixtures for Ease of Cleaning

We all need light. We don't need extra house cleaning chores. Before falling head over heels in love with the design of a light fixture, step back and look at it carefully. Does this light fixture take standard bulbs? How will I change the bulbs? How do I clean this light fixture? Will I need to dismantle it in order to clean it? What room of the home am I thinking of putting this in? Is this a room such as a kitchen or bathroom that gets dirty easily? How much time are you willing to spend cleaning it so it looks good, two hours a week, a month, a year? If  its too much work you will grow to hate it. If you choose only based on looks, it may be equivalent of purchasing a race horse to plow your fields. It may look good but it is not very practical.  Examine these two fixtures .
A chandelier requires disassembling in order to clean it. Once a month you will need to remove all the crystals and wash them one by one, so as to not break them. This will take an hour or two of cleaning, then you will need to dry them and then reassembling the chandelier.

A school house light will require dusting with an extendable Swiffer type wand or climbing on a ladder with a dust cloth. Overall it will take less than 5 minutes to clean. Choose a light fixtures that you like with full awareness of the time and effort it will take to clean and maintain it. Sometimes in our quest to have an easy to clean home we must make compromises between what is easy to clean and what is attractive to us. I love old homes and while I am willing to compromise on many things to make my home easier to clean I am not willing to replace my vintage 5 panel doors with slab doors even though they are easier to clean. It is the same for lighting, you must chose what appeals to you, with the full knowledge of what it will cost you in terms of cleaning and maintenance.As Don Aslet and his daughter Laura suggest in Make Your House do the Housework.  Some tips for light fixture buying include taking a cloth with you and run it over the light fixture as if you were cleaning it to see where it snags. Here are some additional tips:

Choose fixtures whose globe is either completely closed or if open point downward.
      1. This will prevent dust and dead insects from collecting inside. 
      2. A glass or metal globe or shade instead of one made of fabric simplifies cleaning.

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