Lampshades add texture, color, and style to your home. They also come in a variety of styles and fabrics from vintage shades to beautiful silk shades. However, lampshades also attract insect stains, dust, dirt, mold, and mildew as well.
In order to keep your home looking beautiful, it’s necessary to know how to clean lampshades.
- Use a lint roller to remove dust and cobwebs from the lampshade.
- For fabric lampshades, clean with dish soap and warm water in a sink or tub, and gently wipe with a soft sponge.
- Paper or parchment lampshades require a dry microfiber cloth or vacuum attachment with a brush to clean them without causing damage.
- Check care labels for cleaning instructions specific to your lampshade, and consult a professional for delicate or valuable shades.
Can Lamp Shades be Washed?
Yes, you can clean old lampshades in soap and water without ruining the fabric. You will need to read the care tag for any specific cleaning products to avoid. Also, if you have delicate or valuable lampshades that are embroidered, beaded, antique, or painted, consult with a professional before cleaning the shades.
How to Clean Lamp Shades
- Time: 20-30 minutes
- Difficulty: Beginner
What You’ll Need
- Lint roller
- Vacuum attachment with a furniture brush
- Deep sink, tub, or bucket
- Dish soap
- Soft sponge or microfiber cloth
- Clean towel
- Masking tape
- Hairdryer (optional)
Dusting Lamp Shades
Lampshades are a magnet for dust and animal hair. The best way to begin cleaning lampshades is to remove the dust and animal hair with a lint roller.
Gently use a vacuum attachment with a furniture brush to vacuum the dusty lampshade. Your goal is to remove as many cobwebs and as much dust as possible.
2. Use a Lint Roller
Gently roll the lint roller up and down the lampshade being careful not to tear it. When the top sheet becomes filled with dirt and hair, remove it and continue rolling up and down the shade.
Clean the lampshade until you’ve removed as much of the dirt and hair as you can.
Fabric Lamp Shades
You can safely clean linen and other fabrics that your lampshade is made of, using soap and water. It’s always best to check your care tag before you begin, to make sure that your lampshade doesn’t have any special instructions.
1. Remove Lamp Shade
Unplug your lamp and remove your lampshade from the lamp base. Then make sure that all the dirt, dust, and hair has been removed from your lampshade using a lint roller.
2. Fill a Container
Fill a deep sink, a bathtub, or a large bucket with warm water. You will need the water deep enough to cover at least ½ of the lampshade.
3. Add Dish Soap
Add a squirt or 1 teaspoon of dish soap to the water. Then churn the water with your hands to mix it until you have suds appearing. If you believe you’ll need a stronger soap than dish soap, you can use a laundry detergent that contains oxygen bleach instead.
4. Place Shade In the Water
Hold your lampshade by the frame and place the shade in the water. Allow it to soak for about 10 minutes. Be sure to rotate the lampshade so that all the sides are soaked.
5. Wipe Shade
Dip your sponge or microfiber cloth into the water. Carefully wipe your shade from the top to the bottom. Do not rub the fabric as this may damage the color.
If you find you have some tough stains, you can use a toothbrush and extra soap to dab at the stains. Again, don’t rub the fabric or stains as this may damage the color of your fabric.
6. Remove Shade
Pull the lampshade out of the container and drain the water. Fill the sink, tub, or bucket again with fresh water that has no soap added to it.
7. Rinse Shade
Hold your lampshade by the frame to dip and swish the shade in the water. This will help to remove the soapy water from the lampshade.
8. Drain and Dry
Pull the lampshade out of the water and gently shake it to remove any excess water. Wipe the shade with a clean towel to dry. Drain the tub.
Give your shade time to dry before you replace it on the lamp base.
You can also use a hairdryer on a low setting to dry your lampshade. Before turning on the hairdryer, your hands and feet need to be dry. Aim the hairdryer at the lampshade and keep it about 8-10 inches away from the lampshade.
When the lampshade is completely dry, reattach it to the lamp base. Plug your lamp back into the socket.
Paper or Parchment Lamp Shades
Paper and parchment lampshades can not be submerged in water as the water will destroy the paper. Also, if your lampshade is held together with glue, you will need to use this method to clean your lampshade.
1. Put On Gloves
Put on gloves before you begin to work with a paper or parchment lampshade. The shades are sensitive to the oils on your hands and this will prevent you from accidentally leaving oil on the shade.
2. Remove Shade
Unplug your lamp and remove the lampshade from the base of your lamp.
3. Wipe the Shade
Using a dry microfiber cloth, carefully wipe the inside and outside of your lampshade. Your goal is to remove all the dirt and cobwebs from your lamp. Be careful not to tear the lampshade.
You can also use a vacuum attachment with a furniture brush. Again, work slowly and carefully so you don’t tear the lampshade.
Remove stains with an art gum eraser. Carefully rub the stain while supporting the paper on the other side so you neither bend nor tear the paper.
Plastic or Glass Lamp Shades
Plastic and Glass lampshades are usually wiped down with a cloth dipped in soapy water to clean them.
1. Remove Lamp Shade
Unplug your lamp and remove the lampshade from the base.
2. Remove Dust
Remove the dust and dirt from your lamp using a microfiber cloth or vacuum attachment with a brush.
3. Mix Soapy Water
Fill a bowl with warm water and add a few drops of dish soap. Swish it to make sure that the dish soap has been mixed into the water.
To clean your lampshade with cleaner, first, dip your microfiber cloth into the soapy water and gently wipe your lamp shade all over.
Once your lampshade is clean, allow it to dry, and then buff out any streaks with a dry microfiber cloth.
Replace your lampshade on the base and plug it in.
How to Clean Lamp Shades With Pleats
If you have a lampshade with accordion pleats, you know that it can be challenging to clean in between the pleats. Here are a couple of hacks you can use.
Use the brush attachment on your vacuum to vacuum along and down the pleats to remove the dust.
Another cheap option is to gently place masking tape into the pleats, but don’t push down. Your goal is to gently lift the dust out of the pleats with the masking tape.
Use a hairdryer on a low setting that’s 12-14 inches away from the pleated lamp shade. This will help to blow any dust and dirt from the pleats of your lampshade.
Use a small paintbrush to brush down the pleats and remove the dust.
How to Clean Brown Spots on Lamp Shades
If you’re having trouble with brown spots on your lampshades, there are a couple of hacks you can try.
Use K2r Spotlifter to remove the dark spots on your stained lamp shades.
You can also use bleach to remove mildew stains from your lampshades. First, mist the lampshade so it is slightly damp. Make a solution of ¼ cup bleach in 1 gallon of water. Dip a sponge or a microfiber cloth into the bleach solution and wipe the entire shade with the solution.
Use a toothbrush to gently scrub any stains. Wait 5 minutes. Rinse the shade with freshwater, before blotting the lampshade with a clean white towel to dry it.
To remove insect stains with vinegar, make a homemade solution of 1 part vinegar to 1 part water in a small bowl. Dip a paper towel into the vinegar and gently dab the stain until it’s removed.
How Do You Clean Lamp Shades?
Most lampshades can be cleaned by using a lint roller to remove all the dust, dirt, and cobwebs from your lampshade. This will make a dramatic improvement in the appearance of your shade. Otherwise, check the care label and clean your lampshade using a method that’s appropriate for the material from which it’s made.