Learn how to take care of your bulbs,
and protect from inherent vulnerabilities.

If you are using your bulbs seasonally, we recommend taking your lights down and storing them when not in use.  The best and safest method for storage is to remove the bulbs from their sockets and return them to the box they came in.  If you prefer to avoid that effort, we recommend gently coiling your light strings and storing them in a box with some foam or fabric between layers, being careful to avoid banging them against each other or hard surfaces.  Always store your lights in a dry and relatively cool place. 

To clean or polish your bulbs, use a damp microfiber towel or other soft cloth.  Do not use any abrasive materials as they may scratch the color coatings on your bulbs.

Tru-Tone Bulb bases are resistant to corrosion, but when used outdoors for extended periods brass bases may begin to tarnish, appearing dull or discolored.  To remove tarnish use a non-corrosive metal polish and a soft microfiber towel. Be careful not to apply this to the glass part of the bulb to avoid dulling or damaging the color coating. 

In order to achieve their authentic look, Tru-Tone bulbs are colored using the same techniques and pigments that were used on vintage incandescent bulbs. All bulbs colored this way are susceptible to fading caused by a wide variety of factors including sun exposure, length of use, locale, and the color of the bulb itself. Our testing has shown all of our bulbs to be as good or better than the vintage ones they were tested with, and we are constantly looking for ways to improve the quality and longevity of our products while maintaining their important vintage details. That being said, please be aware that nothing is completely impervious to time and the elements. Here are some things to know about color fading that will help you make the most of your bulbs.

Direct sun exposure is the single greatest factor when it comes to fading. If you choose to use your bulbs outside, try to limit them to areas that receive less direct sun. Take your lights down at the end of the season. Lights that are left up year-round, especially through the summer months, will fade much faster.

Some Jeweltone bulbs may see some fading over time from the light source itself and this may be more noticeable in some colors than others (see below). Limiting their use to the season, and a few hours a day will help you get a lot more life from the color of your bulbs.

Some colors will fade more quickly than others. In our experience transparent colors (like those of our Jeweltone bulbs) are more susceptible to fading. In testing our own bulbs, Jeweltone blue has seen the quickest fading from sun exposure. The fading of transparent color coatings is a challenge across all industries that use them, and one that even large corporations like G.E. were unable to resolve completely.

While we are always looking for ways to improve, we are very happy with the current performance and color-fastness of our light bulbs. If a little fading happens over time, we think it only adds to their authenticity and vintage charm. If color-fading is a serious concern for you, we hope this info will help you determine how, when, and where to use Tru-Tone bulbs. If any potential fading is unacceptable, we would recommend opting for other LED Christmas lights that use colored diodes as opposed to colored coatings.

Tru-Tone bulbs are sealed with corrosion-resistant bases, however Mother Nature is an unpredictable wild-card and water has a reputation for finding a way. When used outdoors with the bulbs pointed upwards, they are more vulnerable to precipitation damage. In this position any lamp sockets are also more vulnerable. When unable to orient your bulbs in a downward position, It’s advisable to use inexpensive rubber-o-rings  made for E12 and E17 sockets for greater protection.


If a single bulb isn’t lighting up, try the following:

1: Try the bulb in a different socket which you know is working. – If the bulb still doesn’t light, you may have a damaged or faulty bulb and should contact us for a quick replacement.

2: Try a different bulb in the same socket. – If no bulbs will light in the same socket, unplug the string, remove the bulb, and check the contacts on the bottom and side of the socket. On rare occasion, these get bent out of alignment or pushed too deep to make contact. ALWAYS UNPLUG THE STRING OR DEVICE THAT CONTAINS THE SOCKET BEFORE ATTEMPTING ANY ADJUSTMENTS TO THE CONTACTS. Once the device is unplugged you can use a small screwdriver or tweezers to attempt to bend the contact back into place. 


If some bulbs light, but many do not, this may be a rare incompatibility with the light string you are using. We’ve recently learned of an issue related to a particular style of light string from big box retailers that were sold with matched bulbs. The sockets are notably taller and without a flared opening which can preventing bulbs from fully threading and making contact. Glass bulbs have some variation in their size and shape, which is why some may successful make contact. Standard sockets found on the vast majority of light strings are shorter with a flared opening. While you could attempt to shorten the sockets, it’s probably best to obtain standard light strings found many places online or locally. If you are buying light strings that come with bulbs, pay attention to the style of socket.  


If your entire Tru-Tone light string isn’t lighting up, the most likely cause is a blown fuse. These can be replaced and are located in the plug of the light string.  Always unplug your light string before replacing fuses. Our Classic light strings are the only version with fuses. Each string has 2:  3.6 x 10 mm quick acting 3A Fuses. They are the same fuses that work with common mini-light strings and are often available from the Christmas light section at your local stores.


If the light string goes out again immediately after replacing the fuses, this is likely caused by a short.  Locate the bulb or socket that are causing the short. This can be indicated by a flash or spark when the string goes out, or by dark burn marks around the bulb and socket. The fastest process to determine which bulb/socket is causing an issue is to start with an empty light string (with un-blown fuses), screwing in one bulb at a time until the issue is discovered. Unplug the string or device and remove the bulb from the socket. The 2 most common causes are a misaligned contact inside the socket (See Step 2 above) or in rare instances, a faulty bulb (sometimes a with small strand of wire connecting the side and bottom of the base).  If the socket contacts appear to be misaligned, follow the directions in Step 2 above to repair it.  If the bulb appears to be the problem contact Tru-Tone for a replacement. TRU-TONE BULBS AND STRINGS OPERATE AT 110V. ALWAYS USE EXTREME CAUTION AND UNPLUG THE STRING OR DEVICE BEFORE ATTEMPTING ANY REPAIRS.