Knowing how to clean lampshades is one of those finicky cleaning tasks that take your room from tidy to truly clean. Between grubby 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.
How To Clean Lamp Shades
Keep your lampshades clean and get rid of stains to help them last longer. You’ll improve your lighting’s efficiency, too.
Fabric Lamp Shades
- Turn the lamp off and let it cool. Take off the shade.
- 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 lint roller or paintbrush and long, vertical motions to sweep dust off the lampshade from top to bottom. Paintbrushes work particularly well for pleated fabric shades.
- 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. Do NOT let it soak! Rinse thoroughly, using only cold water, pat it dry and allow it to continue air-drying before returning it to the lamp base.
- 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
- Turn the lamp off and let it cool.
- 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.
- 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. (It sounds crazy, but it works!)
Plastic or Fiberglass Lamp Shades
- Remove the shade then dust it inside and out with a damp microfiber cloth.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
How to Keep Lampshades Clean
Between deeper cleanings, keep your lampshades good by dusting them when you clean the room. Run a lint roller over them as needed to remove pet hair and debris. Regardless of the type of lampshade, you should deep clean them once each season.
Note: This article originally appeared on September 16, 2015. It has been revised and updated for clarity.
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