How to clean light switches

Turn electricity off at the mains before removing faceplates.

Occasionally light switches will need to be cleaned as well. This will help remove any fingerprints, dirt and grime from the faceplates. As well as being wary of electricity, you also need to be careful not to break the switch mechanism itself.

Cleaning switches

Generally speaking, the best way to clean light grime and smudges from light switches is to:

  • Turn electricity to the lights off at the mains before doing any work to or around switches.
  • Clean the switch with a damp, soapy cloth. Ensure that the cloth is damp rather than completely wet, to ensure that no water enters the switch.
  • Ensure that the switch is completely dry before turning the electricity back on at the mains.

In order to get the best results or remove serious dirt or grease, it may be easier to actually remove the faceplate than trying to clean it while still connected to the wall.


To do this:

  • Switch off the power at the mains (i.e. at your switchbox) before doing any work to or around switches.
  • Use a flathead screwdriver to carefully remove the cover.
  • Wash the covers in warm, soapy water then ensure they are completely dry before replacing them.
  • Switch the power back on at the mains.

As they are generally inexpensive, if you find any defects in the faceplates they can be easily replaced.