Your light fixtures are nasty. Here’s how to properly clean them.

When was the last time you cleaned your light fixtures? Six months ago? A year? Two years? Longer? Light fixtures are notorious for collecting layers of dirt, dust, and bugs. But because of their location and complexity, they can often be forgotten or avoided as part of a regular cleaning routine.

Cleaning your light fixtures serves a functional purpose, too. The build-up of dust and grime on light bulbs and shades can make your light fixtures appear up to 30 percent dimmer than they would if they were sparkling clean. That's even more reason to grab the soap and get to work. Here's how to safely and properly clean those dusty, dirty light fixtures with ease, in and around your home.

Watch the video above to learn how to clean your light fixtures.

How to Safely Clean Light Fixtures

The first and most important step when cleaning any light or fixture is to turn the light off at the switch. For extra safety, turn off the circuit breaker that corresponds to the specific space or light you're cleaning.

How to Clean Flush Mount Lights

For cleaning any flush mount light in your home, simply take the light cover off, dump out any bugs, dirt, or debris that may have accumulated inside the cover, and gently clean it on the inside and outside with a soft sponge or scrub brush (depending on the size of the cover's opening) and soapy water.

With the cover off, unscrew the lightbulb and clean the inside and outside of the base with a soft, damp cloth. Then dry with a dry, soft cloth.

This is also a great time to wipe down your lightbulb with a soft, damp cloth before wiping off any moisture with a dry cloth for improved brightness.

Once you've thoroughly dried all of your flush mount's light components, carefully reassemble the fixture.

Most flush mounts use a set of several screws that screw underneath a small lip to attach the light cover to the base. If your cover is glass, screw gently to avoid cracking it.

How to Clean Pendant Lights

You can clean most pendant lights right where they hang, and the first step is to remove the lightbulb from the fixture. Again, this is also a great time to wipe down and dry your lightbulb with a soft cloth for improved brightness.

Clean the outside and inside of the shade with a soft sponge and soapy water.

Wipe down the chain or chord that the fixture hangs from with a soft, damp cloth to remove dust and debris.

Use a damp cotton swab to clean the tight spaces, crevices, and corners of your pendant light fixture that have gathered dust or debris.

After you've thoroughly cleaned your pendant light, you can give metal and wood bases and shades a nice shine by applying lemon oil with a soft cloth.

How to Clean Recessed Can Lights

To clean recessed can lights safely, flip off the corresponding circuit breaker for that room.

To detach can lights from your ceiling to properly clean the baffle (the baffle is the conical cover typically found on recessed lighting fixtures) and the can light's housing:

Remove the light bulb.

Pull the baffle straight down until it catches.

Pinch the wires or "torsion springs" on each side of the backside of the baffle to release it from the bracket that secures it to the housing inside the ceiling.

Wipe the back of the baffle down with a damp, soft cloth removing all dirt and debris.

Next, wipe down the recessed housing in the ceiling with a damp, soft cloth and thoroughly dry it with a dry soft cloth. The housing can be shockingly dirty, so don't be surprised if you unleash a hail of dust, and debris while cleaning it.

Once the back of the baffle and recessed housing are clean and thoroughly dry, pop the baffle back into place.

Now you can clean the inside of the battle with a damp, soft cloth.

Wipe down your lightbulb with a damp, soft cloth for improved clarity and brightness.

Screw your lightbulb back into place and flip the corresponding circuit breaker back on.

How to Clean Outdoor Lights

Remove the lightbulb from the fixture, thoroughly wipe with a soft, damp cloth and dry with a dry, soft cloth for improved brightness.

Clean the outside and inside of shades and the arms of outdoor light fixtures with soap, water, and a soft sponge or cloth.

A lot of outdoor light fixtures can have glass covers or other glass components, which can become cozy little bug hotels. To clean those glass components, carefully unscrew and remove them from the base of the fixture.

Gently clean the inside and outside of the glass component with a soft sponge and soapy water.

After cleaning, give your glass component that crystal clear shine using glass cleaner and a microfiber cloth or paper towel.

Carefully reattach your glass component to your outdoor light fixture.

Reviewed-approved cleaning recommendations:

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: How to clean light fixtures