How to clean metal wall lights

large and long humph

Keep your metal wall lights looking shiny and elegant, with our expert guide…

From classic coppers and warm brasses, to cool silvers and sleek polished chromes, metal wall lights provide beautiful, versatile lighting while also making a striking style statement.

Metal wall lights are generally robust and easy to maintain, but they still require a little regular TLC to keep them working efficiently and looking on top form. Find out how to keep your metal wall lights looking their loveliest, with our top tips...


How often should you clean metal wall lights?

Metal wall lights are fairly low maintenance, but it’s important to clean them regularly as a build-up of dirt can result in unsightly tarnishing. A light dusting every 1-2 weeks will keep on top of general dust and dirt, while a deeper clean should be carried out at least once a year.     


What can you use to clean metal wall lights?

When it comes to metal wall lights, it’s essential to use the right cleaning materials. While there are plenty of products available out there, many chemical cleaners are just too abrasive and can actually tarnish your metal wall lights. Our metal light fittings are coated with a special lacquer to protect the finish, and we recommend that you avoid using any chemical cleaners which could remove the lacquer.  

In fact, the best materials for cleaning metal wall lights are a good old feather duster or some soft lint-free cloths, some mild detergent solution, and a pair of clean white cotton gloves to avoid leaving behind any unwanted fingerprints. 

english garden wall light

English Garden single wall fitting in grey and gold by Matthew Williamson for Pooky


How to clean metal wall lights safely

When you’re cleaning your metal wall lights, it’s important to do so safely by following these simple steps:

  • Always turn off the light fitting before you begin
  • Make sure the bulbs have cooled down completely
  • Place your chair or stepladder on a flat, even surface where you can comfortably reach the light fitting
  • Avoid immersing your light fitting in water, or spraying water or cleaning fluid directly onto the fitting (spray them onto a cloth instead)
  • Ensure everything is fully dry before reconnecting your light fitting.


How to dust metal wall lights

A build-up of dust and dirt can really spoil the look of your metal wall lights, while also significantly reducing their performance. With this in mind, we recommend giving your metal wall lights a once-over with the duster every 1-2 weeks.

After following the safety steps above, gently run a feather duster or a clean, lint-free cloth over the surfaces of your metal wall light. If there are any stubborn spots, you can dip a lint-free cloth in a solution of water and a mild detergent, such as a few drops of washing-up liquid - but always read the care instructions first. Squeeze the cloth until it’s slightly damp, and wipe it gently over the area. Use a second cloth to dry and buff the wall light, to avoid any streaking.

Next, give the fixings and cables a wipe down. And finally, give the bulb a dust - a dirty bulb can be up to 30% less efficient!

stanlette wall light

Stevie wall fitting in antiqued brass with Stanlette pendant shade in blue with copper interior


How to deep clean metal wall lights

Over time, dirt, grease and general grime can accumulate on your wall lights, causing the metal to tarnish and lose its colour and brightness. To avoid this, it’s important to give your metal wall lights a deeper clean from time to time - we recommend at least once a year, or more often if your wall lights are in a high-use area.

For a thorough clean, you’ll need to remove the shade from the wall:

  • First, remove the bulb and place it on a stable surface
  • Support the shade and gently remove it from its fixings
  • Wipe the shade with a soft, lint-free cloth to dislodge any surface dirt
  • Dip another cloth in some mild detergent solution, and squeeze it out until it’s just damp
  • Carefully wipe over all surfaces of the shade with a gentle circular movement, taking care to get into all those nooks and crannies
  • Dry the shade with a soft towel, to prevent streaking
  • For heavier staining, and depending on your light fitting, applying a simple non-abrasive paste made from baking soda and white vinegar can help. Work in the paste with a soft cloth, and wipe the area down afterwards with a dampened cloth to remove any residue. As always, do check the manufacturer’s care instructions first.
  • Wipe over the frame, fixings and cables with a lint-free cloth, slightly dampened if appropriate
  • Finally, give the bulb a wipe - for heavy soiling you can use a dampened cloth, but avoid the metal base
  • Allow everything to dry, then reassemble your lovely, shiny metal wall lights!

large and long humph detail

Large and Long Humph wall light in antique silver 



Pooky makes beautiful, affordable designer lighting for stunning spaces. View our range of metal wall lights.