Knowing how to clean lampshades is one of those finicky cleaning tasks that take your room from tidy to truly clean. Between grabby hands, household dust and pet hair, lampshades tend to get grimy. The thing is, lamps are like jewelry for your room: if they’re nice they’ll accentuate your room’s beauty, but if they’re in bad shape they’ll make it look worse.
Another way lampshades are like jewelry: the good ones aren’t cheap. Some of the lampshades in my home cost more than the lamp they’re on, so I work hard to keep them clean. It’s fun having a stash of like-new lampshades to choose from when I find an awesome lamp at the thrift shop that I want to rehab.
So, keep your lampshades clean and get rid of stains to help them last longer. You’ll improve your lighting’s efficiency, too.
How To Clean Lamp Shades
Fabric Lamp Shades
1. Take the shade off the lamp.
2. Remove as must dust as possible. If the material is sturdy, you can use your vacuum cleaner and the soft brush attachment to do this. Otherwise, use a clean makeup or paint brush and long, vertical motions to sweep dust off the lampshade from top to bottom. Paint brushes work particularly well for pleated fabric shades.
3. If the fabric is glued on, you can immerse the entire lampshade in a tub of cold, soapy water and swirl it to remove additional dirt. Rinse thoroughly, using only cold water, and allow it to dry before returning it to the lamp base.
4. Remove stains by gently brushing them with a special sponge for dry-cleaning. (Those sponges are great for removing stains from wallpaper and fabric blinds, too!)
Paper or Parchment Lamp Shades
1. Take the lampshade off.
2. Remove the dust. Since these materials cannot be immersed in water, you will need to dust them well with a microfiber cloth. If the dye is colorfast (spot test on an inner rim to find out), you can lightly dampen the cloth and wipe away additional grime.
3. Remove greasy stains by firmly pressing a piece of crustless white bread against the spot. Rotate the bread to a clean area then dab again until the stain is gone.
Plastic or Fiberglass Lamp Shades
1. Remove the shade then dust it inside and out with a damp microfiber cloth.
2. Wash it in a sink of warm, soapy water. Add white vinegar to the water if the shade is greasy. Rinse well and dry.
Glass Lamp Shades
1. Glass lampshades can be washed in the dishwasher on the top rack. There’s no need to clean them separately from other dishes, but don’t crowd the machine.
2. If you don’t have a dishwasher, clean it in a tub of warm, soapy water. Add white vinegar to the water if the shade is greasy, then rinse and immediately hand-dry it.
Keep fabric lampshades looking good between deep cleanings by running a lint roller over them to remove pet hair and dust. Wipe all other types of lampshades with a clean microfiber cloth when you dust the room. Regardless of the type of lampshade, you should clean them once each season.