Daily Wire Tip Sept. 28: Cleaning Chandelier Crystals for Wire Wrapping

By on September 27, 2011
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Daily Wire Jewelry Making Tip for
September 28, 2011


Dale, thank you for all of your daily tips; I read every one of them and have learned so much! I particularly like the articles on gem-rocks.

Recently, I obtained a quantity of different sizes and shapes of crystals from an old crystal chandelier. They are absolutely beautiful, but, besides years of dirt accumulation from being stored incorrectly, they are covered with a rust residue from the wires. Once cleaned, they will make beautiful wire projects, but I need help on the proper way to clean them. What do you suggest?

-Joyce in Port Charlotte, Florida


Hey Joyce, what a wonderful dilemma! The crystals from old chandeliers do make lovely jewelry statements. Please keep in mind that the solution I am going to tell you about is only for the crystals (for those of you who wish to clean an entire chandelier, this is not for the metal parts!) This also works on diamond rings!

Make a solution of equal parts of ammonia and warm water and add a drop or two of blue Dawn dish detergent. Soak the crystals in the mixture for a bit and then use a soft toothbrush and a rag to remove the heavy grime. Rinse them in clear warm water and let them air dry. Done! Yes, I know that there are many different types of crystals, such as Turkish, Italian, Egyptian, Chinese, and Swarovski®, however the above solution is safe on all of them.

Several years ago, a very dear friend sent me a box of crystals from chandeliers that once hung in the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York. I came across them and even though I know she meant for me to make jewelry with them, I couldn’t leave them in their box any longer, so I use a heavy brass hanger and electrical pliers to make this sun catcher that I now enjoy in my studio window. Yes, it was difficult to photograph without taking down, and yes, I have also made earrings using a similar design and (much smaller) crystal beads.

Chandelier Crystal Hanger

Chandelier Crystals cleaned and wire wrapped, then hung from pieces of a wire hanger, by Dale Armstrong

However you decide to use your special crystal components, Joyce, I hope you enjoy them for many years!

Answer contributed by Dale "Cougar" Armstrong

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  1. avatar


    September 28, 2011 at 10:43 am

    Hi Dale,
    I have always cleaned glassware and crystal with a mild solution of vinegar. Are there any of the crystal types that would be harmed by this? I would hate to inadvertently damage the surface on a crystal.


    • avatar


      September 28, 2011 at 3:05 pm

      No Janet, your procedure will not harm crystal, however because the question referred to a lot of grime as well as rust, I provided a stronger solution.

  2. avatar


    September 28, 2011 at 1:39 pm

    Wear [old fashioned] cotton gloves, dip your gloved finger(s) into some isopropyl alcohol and then wipe each crystal drop with your gloved fingers. Rinse crystal in clear water, then pat dry with a clean cloth.

  3. avatar


    September 29, 2011 at 11:11 am

    Don’t you just love those old chandelier parts? I have some that I purchased at an antique store with thoughts of doing just what Dale did with hers and hang them up in the glass sliding doors of my work studio area.

    Alas, the hubby didn’t feel that the glass doors were a good security feature and yanked them out, replacing with a solid wall and a metal door. Sigh, did away with all that glorious sunshine I had been enjoying for years.

    But I will use those prisms for something to hang out on my patio and Dale’s cleaning formula is one I will keep handy for cleaning them up.

    Scrimshaw Mary

  4. avatar


    September 30, 2011 at 6:11 pm

    As always, FANTASTIC information from you Dale and all the other posters on this site, I love it! I have a necklace I made of several sterling silver chains with 100’s (plural) of Swarovski crystals wire wrapped onto the chains. Can I use either the ammonia or the vinegar solutions to clean this piece?
    Thanks, Traci

    • avatar


      October 1, 2011 at 9:34 am

      Wow Traci, your necklace sounds awesome!! I would use white vinegar and water, but never use ammonia because it will turn your silver black!

  5. avatar

    chandelier repairs

    March 6, 2012 at 4:03 am

    Hey dale, It’s a nice information. I have the crystal chandelier in my home and I use the vinegar for its cleaning. Will it be sufficient and safe for this ?

    • avatar


      March 6, 2012 at 10:08 am

      As long as the crystals have no ‘coating’, it will work fine!

  6. avatar

    Mr Leon

    December 16, 2016 at 11:26 pm

    Ultrasonic cleaning machine is one of best in best choose to remove the residues in the air for long, KEEPLEADER is a proefessional supplier in this field, pls find a surpise solution for you want, maybe, you can win a considerable market or a brilliant life