Cleaning Candlesticks

Keep your candlesticks looking their best by cleaning them promptly using the right methods when they are smudged or stained.

The best way to remove wax drippings is while they are still fresh. You have to be careful how you do it on shining metals because it would be very easy to put a scratch or cut on the base. You want to find something that is soft, like plastic cutlery, with which to scrape the candlestick. If you have to remove extraneous wax that is stuck, then run hot water over the wax or soak it in hot water. Then lightly scrub it, and rinse in more hot water. Candles that are burned down to the ends can be removed by running hot water on them first. If they are made out of wood, you should put them in the freezer for a couple of hours. This will cause the wax stubs to shrink. Then find a small screwdriver to pop them out.

If your candlesticks are made out of fine silver, take a quality silver polish and a soft cloth to remove the tarnish. Then take a buffing cloth, and try to develop a rich shine to show off the appearance of your candlesticks. This will keep your candlesticks looking brighter longer. If for some reason you get food on the candle, try to remove it as soon as possible because some food like salt will cause silver to corrode.

To clean brass, you need to first determine if it is lacquered. The more expensive items are lacquered most of the time. Older candlesticks and brass from India are not. If you don't know what the substance is, wait and see if it tarnishes. If it does tarnish, then you need a polish like Brasso and a soft cloth. You may also use one of the commercial acids that lets you just dip it in and pull it out for cleaning. If you don't want to polish it anymore, you can have a lacquer coating added to your brass at a lamp store. But if your candlestick is lacquered, do not put any metal polish on it, or it will remove the lacquer coating. To clean it, apply a damp cloth, or use fine steel wool if needed.

To clean wooden candlesticks, apply furniture polish to the wooden area, and be careful not to get any on the brass part. Wipe the wood gently but firmly, removing excess.

The best way to clean pewter, which some people call the poor man's silver, is to take a damp cloth and wipe it off. If you really want to make it look good, apply metal polish, and buff it out. A lot of people like pewter more than silver because it looks good and can be polished to a brilliant sheen.

When cleaning glass or crystal, use a glass cleaner with ammonia. Then buff the object with a soft cloth. Make sure you read any labels before cleaning your candlesticks to ensure that the correct product is used.

Clean tin the same way that you would clean pewter, but be careful not to bend it. Wipe ceramics with a cloth dipped in all-purpose cleaner.

Keeping your candlesticks clean will help them last longer and look better when you light them up for the holidays or another special occasion.

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