Organize & Clean

How To Clean Your Lampshades

published Aug 4, 2008
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(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

There are certain things you learn actually require cleaning when you become a grownup (or at least get older). For instance, your washer and dryer, or your toaster. One of the hardest of things to clean without proper knowledge is a lampshade. Something when we were younger we assumed never even required cleaning! Click through the jump to learn the tricks to cleaning all the different types of lampshades in your home.

Fabric covered or stitched lampshades are easiest cleaned in the bathtub. If you don’t have a tub and your sink is large enough to use, go right ahead. Otherwise this might be best done in a bucket or at a friends house.
You simply put enough cool water in the tub to allow the shade to roll on it’s side. Add some mild soap and swirl the share in the sudsy water to remove the grime. Drain the water and refill the tub with clean water to rinse the shade in.
Shake as much water as possible off and stand on end to dry. A blow dryer can expedite the process and works very well on thick or corded areas that might dry more slowly.

Paper shades or those with glue, present other challenges. Since you are unable to wet these shades (without adverse consequences), your best option is to vacuum them frequently. The dusting/upholstery attachment for your vacuum works very well for this. If your shade has anything dangling from it, a piece of hosiery slipped over the end of the vacuum works wonders. This allow the dirt to be removed without pulling on the seams/glue of the attachments to the lamp. This method only works when used with frequency. If your stains are more troublesome you may purchase a soot and dirt removal sponge from your local hardware store. This is not a magic eraser. You would use it like you would a regular eraser and simply wipe the dirt away. They may also be used on washable shades as well. (*note: make sure the sponge is DRY before using.)

Parchment shades may be dusted or vacuumed with ease. You may also use the dirt removal sponge on them, or a piece of white bread (you simply rub it over the entire shade…. crust removed…. and watch the dirt fall off with the bread crumbs!).

Plastic Shades are able to be washed in warm water and mild soap. Dry them well and then shine them back up with a little bit of spray furniture polish on a dry cloth.

Microfiber clothes are also a great tool when it comes to occasional dusting of your lampshades. Do you have any other tricks you have learned over the years for cleaning such an awkward item?