Cleaning Fluorescent Lights

by April Reinhardt
(last updated September 12, 2016)


Did you know that compact fluorescent light bulbs use at least two-thirds less energy than standard incandescent bulbs, to provide the same amount of light, at last up to ten times longer than standard bulbs? If you replace one regular light bulb with a compact fluorescent light bulb, you will save at least thirty dollars in energy costs over the life of the bulb.

But did you also know that fluorescent light illuminates brighter than incandescent light? With that said, a fluorescent bulb will only be as good as it is clean. Meaning, if the light is dirty, it won't illuminate as well. Follow these simple cleaning tips when cleaning your fluorescent lights to make sure that they are lighting your way the best they can.

Since lighting attracts bugs, dirt, and dust, they need to be cleaned often. Most people never think to clean their light bulbs when they clean house, but it is a good idea to schedule regular light bulb cleaning into your housecleaning schedule. Here are some tips:

  • Always disconnect the light from the electrical source before you clean.
  • If the light bulb has been on, allow it to cool before you clean it.
  • For wall fixtures and outside lighting, remove the bowl or cover by loosening the screws that hold the cover in place.
  • Dispose of dead bugs and large debris from the bowl or cover.
  • Wash the cover or bowl in warm water and detergent, and allow it to air dry while you clean the rest of the light fixture.
  • Use a vacuum cleaner attachment to vacuum dust and debris from the light fixture.
  • Apply Windex with a soft cloth to clean the metal parts of the light fixture. Make absolutely certain that the lamp is completely removed from the electric source before you complete this step.
  • If your light fixture contains chrome, clean it with chrome cleaner or polish.
  • Lastly, clean the fluorescent light bulb. Never immerse the light bulb into water. If you have a tube light, simply use a dry cloth to clean the length of it. If you have spiral fluorescent light bulbs, use a Swiffer or feather duster to clean the winding tube.

Replace the bulbs and then replace the bowls or light covers. If the covers have water spots after you wash them, wipe them to crystal clarity with Windex and a soft cloth. Make sure you tighten the holding screws sufficiently, but do not over tighten since doing so may crack the glass covers.

Author Bio

April Reinhardt

An admin­istrator for a mutual fund man­age­ment firm, April deals with the writ­ten word daily. She loves to write and plans to author a memoir in the near future. April attend­ed More­head State Uni­ver­sity to pursue a BA degree in Ele­men­tary Edu­ca­tion. ...


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What is four minus 4?

2017-11-23 12:18:53


I have new bulbs I found in a basement of a home I am renting. they fit my bathroom fixtures...but
they are covered in fly poop! yuck! this will definitely not come off with a dry cloth. Can I spray the
tubes with a light mist of vinegar water?

2016-10-06 12:35:07

Greg Reichold

Hi April,

I am helping a friend who mananges a large office building. He is trying to estimate the time it would take to clean his light fixtures. There is a wide variety of types of light fixtures in his building. Is there an industry standard that would give me this information that you could put me in touch with.

Thank you,

Greg Reichold

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