Cleaning Lights


Active Member
Hey everyone! It is time for some spring cleaning before my spring musical, Jesus Christ Superstar. I am wondering what you would use to clean lights(Par 64's, fresnals, ellipsodials, ect..). I know to use rubbing alcohol on the bulbs, but what about the fixtures themselves? Should I just use dishsoap and water??

Thanks for the help!!
In the past I have used just a damp cloth on the sides and for the lenses. I have also used the dust blower things they make for computer keyboards just to blow the dust off, and out, of the fixtures.
If you are talking about conventionals with no electronics,dishsoap and water should be fine.But for your safety (and my liability) let them dry before you plug them in!!!!!
Ya just regular, not intelligent, fixtures are the ones in need of a good cleaning.
There have been a couple of posts on this topic which you may wish to have a look at. I would hope that whilst you are cleaning you are also taking note of any damage or faults that require attention?

search on "cleaning" and also on "service" or just have a look in the lighting questions, and general questions/tips fora

Also - just check the lable before using rubbing alcohol as it often has oils added to it
Would distilled water have any affect on the amount of corrosion caused.... From my understanding corrosion is caused by a reaction between the metal and the H2O (pure water) which is why things can also corrode even if they are in a really humid conditions. Other kinds of corrosion can be caused by salts, I know there is alot of salt in tap water, but i dont really think there are enough to really have that noticable an effect.... I dont know... somone correct me please :)
oxidization is from the H2O itself, but there are other forms of corrosion from other things in the water. i dont really think it would make a difference though, the only place i have ever seen any difference is in labs in chemistry, then again, i dont regularly use distilled water for anything else.
Ya, I have also seen it have an effect in AP Chem class. We were working with silver chloride among other things, and the sliver grabed onto impurities in the water and created crystals (the AgCl was very close to being saturated so it wanted to come out of solution) this resulted in black semi-shiny stuff in the bottom of the tube. The Chem Teacher was quite intregued by these, as they were not supposto be part of the experiment! (I know this isnt really corrosion, but it was kinda cool!) (another cool thing that happened that lab.... we left the tubes out overnight uncovered, and when we came back in the morning, enough of the water had evaporated off to make a supersaturated solution, causing the silver to form a very thin, but very cool looking crystal (yes, a single crystal) across the entire top of the tube. It was hard to poke at with a stirring rod, and a really cool transparent silvery color. (we got rid of them by adding more water and heating slightly :-( ) ) Ok, that's enough of me blabbering about chemistry experiments :)
clorox disinfecting wipes... u can use these on the lens's. the rest of the fixture if there is a build up of dust make sure they are unplugged and then you can take a can of pressurized air and blow out the dust. also while ure at it you should ckeck the cords to make sure the connections are tight and that there are no cracks in the cord. good luck
Just a side note--If you use Graphite on the shutters--which is how to correctly lubricate them so they open and close better, you have to remember to run them a few times before you close up the fixture--use air to blow out the fixture and make sure you leave no graphite in the fixture--because if you do leave graphite in the fixture tube when it falls onto the lenses it can burn and crack or pock mark small "pores" into your glass and ruin your fixture over time. Make sure you blow it out clean before you put the glass back in them...

I use spray on graphite, let it dry than wipe off the extra.

Cleaning lighting fixtures - the outsides of them as a completely new topic is a good new debate. Good for you in doing the yearly maintenance. Blowing them out is the first step.

I kind of differ from the concept of using water.
Denatured Alcohol and water are vehicles. Their main use in say paint is to move pigment and binder from one place to another than to evaporate. What was moved by them unless pulled from the surface to some extent by way of say a rag, than just dries back onto the surface after the vehicle evaporates. Soap on the other hand acts as a release agent to remove dirt, oils and other things from the surface, dirt than binds with it so it can be removed more efficiently.

Think about when you wash a dirty window with just water - no matter the type. Given glass as a surface is a little different than the flat paint on a fixture, the window is easier to clean. Still in this example of what to use, were you to use just water to clean the window, some of the dirt would come off, but most of it would just be thinned out further and smear around the surface in a less dense but more dispersed film remaining on the surface. You don’t clean your windows with just water, why would a Leko become clean?

In citing the above “some of the dirt will be removed by the rag”, alcohol or water as long as it is clean and evaporates fast enough is fine but in my opinion only for surfaces that are not that dirty and only at most marginally need cleaning, or as a secondary cleaning after a soap is used to release and get rid of the main part of the dirt by way of absorption of both soap and dirt into a rag or towel.

Zero or as little residue as possible from the soap would be than a factor to fight against more than what’s left of the dirt on the surface. A glass cleaner such as Windex for surfaces less than totally dirty on more normal dirt, even pyro dust. After that or for say up to and including the extent of mud, a multi surface cleaner such as 409, if not even the commercial grade of it might be more appropriate. With that second type of soap you would want to do a follow up cleaning with the vehicle to ensure the more concentrated soap does not leave a residue of it’s own. For the most part, Windex is sufficiently removed with a rag.

I really like aftodeciacdream’s Clorox wipes idea. Both for lenses and for fixture surfaces. I will have to try it, though it’s not very cost effective, and they tend to dry up thus don’t have a long shelf life once the package is opened. I have no idea about any residue left on the surface thus might denatured alcohol secondary clean the surface afterwards, but the Clorox multi-surface cleaner should do a really good job of cleaning dirty surfaces. Plus it drys very fast. Might even show some promise with baked on stage blood.

A further factor might be on lighting or other equipment that got too near the oil based fog machine. If not even in cleaning the fog machine. Oil while somewhat released by the above sometimes needs a more special formulation to remove it. While peroxide is used on the Neutron Hazers for the tubes, other means are needed for oil based machines. Have probably 50 or more Power Cat Fans from Grainger which are used to disperse the effect both for the oil based DF-50 machines and for oil based foggers. Good fan, not very rugged in it’s plastic parts of non-oil resistant power cord. Every time they go out on a show, what oil film can be removed is, and when in for repair, the rest is cleaned in greater detail. Oil and grease in many ways being similar, I use a commercial spray on grease remover that works really well to remove the oil other more normal surface cleaning soaps won’t. It’s still a form of soap but highly concentrated in removing oil.

Final thought is that our next shop is going to get a dish washer. This not only for lenses might be really good at cleaning other parts of the fixture body once disassembled. But the lighting fixture would have to really dirty.
I like the washing machine idea. I places several parts form a Jem Mark III fogger in one not so long ago and it came out very clean.

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