Cleaning Light Switches and Outlet Covers Safely

by April Reinhardt
(last updated February 20, 2009)

Periodically, you may need to clean your light switches and outlet covers. While you can spray Windex on a paper towel and swipe at your light switch face plates, you should never wet an electrical outlet surface. Instead, remove the light switch plates and outlet covers safely, and then clean them. Follow these steps to safely remove your outlet covers and light switch plates:

  1. Find your electric box in your home. Whether it has circuit breakers or fuses, you need to locate the fuse or circuit breaker for the outlet you will be cleaning, and turn it off.
  2. Using a circuit alert tester, test the outlet to ensure that there is no electricity flowing to the outlet.
  3. Once you're certain that the outlet is completely dead of electricity, remove the outlet cover with a flathead screwdriver.
  4. Follow the same steps to safely remove your light switch and outlet plate covers. As you go through the house removing the covers, place the hardware in a small plastic bag to ensure that you do not lose the screws.
  5. Once you've removed them safely, then you can clean them. Use warm, soapy water to wash the covers, and then dry them thoroughly. Set them side.
  6. Once you've cleaned the covers, you need to clean the light switch and outlets. Use a spray cleaner and wet a paper towel, and then clean the light switches, and then the outlets.
  7. NEVER SPRAY A CLEANING PRODUCT INTO AN ELECTRICAL OUTLET, even if you have disconnected it from the source of electricity.
  8. Thoroughly dry the light switches and outlets.
  9. Replace all of the light switch and outlet plate covers.
  10. Return to the electric box and turn the circuit on.

Light switch and outlet covers are very inexpensive. Replace them if you discover that you have cracked or stained covers. If you have difficulty removing a light switch or outlet cover because they have been painted to the wall, pry them off with a screwdriver or a putty knife after disconnecting the circuit from the electricity.

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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