Simple Tips for Cleaning Effect Lights

November 23, 2011 by CHAUVET DJ

by Allan Reiss, CHAUVET Club/DJ Product Manager

You have to tend to your lighting gear the same way you care for your vinyl records, slipmats and turntable platters. The effect lights you use all the time collect dust and residue from the environment, so remember to include them in your cleaning session. A quick suggestion is to clean everything a couple of days before a gig. Don’t wait until the day of your event. Not only will you look more professional with squeaky-clean fixtures, you also lower the chances of a light breaking during your show.

For the beginner DJ who just purchased a bunch of effect lights and is unsure which fixtures require cleaning, keep this in mind: if it has fans, glass or vents it requires cleaning.

1. Fans. The first thing you should look for is balls of dust, pieces of fabric, confetti, human hair (or animal, maybe you had a gig at the zoo…) and any other unpleasant accumulation within the fans. It sounds somewhat repulsive, but you need to take care of the dirty part of the job too. Use an air compressor to blow out all the gunk, but make sure to stick a pen or pencil to stop the fan blades from spinning. The forced air can actually generate a small blast and damage the fixture; and you might blow the aforementioned residue right on your face.

2. Glass: lenses, mirrors, prisms, color wheels and gobo wheels. We recommend using a nonalcoholic cleaning solution, but if unavailable, a basic glass cleaner will work. A lint-free cloth keeps the glass surfaces smooth and free of any residue or tiny particles. Also, wear gloves when touching the glass. Even though it may produce a cool gobo projection, you don’t want fingerprints left on the gobo wheel.

3. Vents. The air pushed inside a fixture when cleaning fans needs to exit through vents. So, keep them clear. A simple way to clean these is to use compressed air.

For exterior dusting, use microfiber or fiber cloth. They are lint free, cheap and reusable. Use only warm water; don’t add soap or detergents.

Quick warning!
If lasers are part of your rig, don’t open them to try to clean them. You are not legally allowed to open the housing. The laser diode inside has the potential to expose your eyes to class B laser radiation.

If you really want to do your homework on cleaning, click here to read how to clean moving heads and here for tips on how to clean scanners.

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