When it comes to holidays or special occasions, nothing beats a beautifully set table with crystal, china, silver and linen. And nothing brings that to life quite like a gleaming chandelier (or brings it down if it’s dusty and the crystal is dull).

Many chandeliers suffer from neglect. Because of their intricacy, homeowners often resist cleaning them until it’s absolutely necessary. If your chandelier is coated with dust and cobwebs, it’s time to clean it before the deluge of holiday meals. By cleaning it ahead of time, your chandelier will be clean and ready when you are.

You have two choices for cleaning a chandelier: Hire a service or try cleaning it yourself. If you have an ornate chandelier or one that’s too high to clean, you may end up having to hire a specialty chandelier cleaning service. If you have a particularly fine chandelier, you should contact your favorite lighting center or where the fixture was purchased to inquire about how to clean it properly. But no matter who is cleaning your chandelier, it’s important to note that electricity should be turned off at the breaker before the cleaning process begins. And the electricity should remain off until your chandelier has completely dried.

One method of cleaning involves covering all the bulbs with a small plastic bag and securing it with a rubber band and then spraying with glass cleaner, and letting the excess cleaner drip onto a plastic liner. However, it is messy and may not create the desired effect of a perfectly polished chandelier.

Dry cleaning that’s done by hand is always better, safer and more thorough. Hand cleaning enables you to individually polish the arms of the chandelier, bulbs and all the crystals. Before undertaking cleaning, move the table away from the chandelier and place a soft washable cloth or blanket underneath. This way, if you dislodge a crystal, it’ll fall on something soft.

Dry cleaning a chandelier involves having two cloths — one for cleaning and the other for polishing. Spray one cloth with enough cleaner to make it thoroughly damp. Next, wipe each crystal clean with the damp cloth. Follow up with a dry cloth to polish and dry each crystal.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

This is a tedious, time-consuming process, but you’ll know that it’s done properly and safely. Another option is to remove all the crystals that are easily removable and put them into hot soapy water. With this done, you can completely wipe down the entire fixture before returning your washed and dried, sparkling crystals to their original positions.

If you have small lamp shades over the bulbs, remove them and wipe with a dry microfiber cloth to remove any dust. Use an extender wand duster to go up and down on the chandelier chain to clean excess dust or dirt particles. Let the fixture dry for one to two days before turning the light on again.