The crystal chandelier in the dining room is one of those things, like the hot tub at our old house, that I would never have bought, but since it’s there, needs to be kept up. This weekend I spent a morning taking down all the prisms, soaking them in ammonia, polishing them, and putting them back up. I had never cleaned them, and from the amount of crud on the glass, they hadn’t been cleaned for years before we bought the house.
A month or so ago, I had looked at the little doodads around the screws holding up the large mirror in the dining room, which appeared to be brass, and decided to try polishing them. They “cleaned up real nice” – they seem to be silver, and look ever so much better. I found that the little wires connecting the prisms were silver, too. Polishing each one was way more than I wanted to tackle, but the ammonia took off a good bit of the tarnish. Before, besides the dull glass, the whole shebang was dotted and striped with black where the wires attached. Putting them back up, I also figured out that they had been replaced backwards at some point – the flat sides of the prisms were out, which also meant the attachment points showed. Now the wires are on the inside and the sparkly sides of the prisms are out, which made as much difference as removing the crud.
The spots on the walls, the mirror doodads, and the dull chandelier were not things you would consciously notice. It was not as if anyone would walk in and say “Oh my! Look at that filthy chandelier!” But the effect of all the little dingy bits adds up. There must be a life lesson here somewhere.