How To Clean Lampshades

Everything will need to be cleaned sooner or later. Nothing in your home is safe from getting dirty, so it’s up to you to routinely clean all of your belongings in your home, and by all, we mean all.

Accessories and decorations are no exception, as their main purpose is to make your home look nicer in the first place. Dusty and grimy accessories aren’t appealing to anyone, so get out your cleaning supplies, because it’s time to learn how to clean properly.

The furniture or accessory piece under discussion today is lampshades. Not the whole lamp, with it’s stand and lightbulb, no. The actual shade which goes over the bulb.

Why Clean Your Lampshades?

The first question you might have is, why would I bother cleaning my lampshade?

Well obviously, the basic answer to that is hygiene. There is nothing in your home you should be comfortable or content leaving dirty, since anything that’s been left dirty for too long can end up growing bacteria, germs, and possible mold.

Another reason is functionality. When there is dirt and grime on your lampshade, light doesn’t shine through as well as it should. You’d be amazed how much better your lamps illuminate your rooms after you’ve cleaned them once.

Finally, there is the appearance. A good lamp can make or break your room. Though you may not consciously notice it, accessories are what compose and glorify your personal taste in décor. When your accessories are dirty and disheveled, the rest of the room looks dreary and unpleasant.

How to Clean Your Lampshades

Now, it’s time to learn how to clean your lampshades to revive their initial glory.

But first, you should also know about the different types of lampshades, in case you’re not sure what you have at home, or if you have more than one type.

The Different Types of Lampshades

Lampshades can come in all shapes, sizes, and materials. The main focus here is material. This difference between materials means there is a different way to properly clean them without ruining the shade.

After we get through each type of material, we’ll discuss individually how each one can be cleaned. Lampshades can be made out of fabric, paper or parchment, plastic, and glass.

— Fabric Lampshades

These lampshades are very common and can very easily catch floating dust and debris overtime. Fabric options are cotton, linen, and silk for higher quality. They usually come reinforced with metal between the inner and outer lining for sturdier support.

— Paper or Parchment Lampshades

These lampshades are made more for painted, tie-dye, and patterned designs. They’re extremely light and can rip quite easily so you have to be careful when handling these lampshades.

— Plastic Lampshades

These lampshades are more for channeling or coloring light than they are for illuminating a room. You can get these lampshades in tinted colors or intricate shapes. Plastic lampshades are a little frailer than glass ones, and they can heat up quickly. They also damage much quicker than glass frames do.

— Glass Lampshades

Finally, there are glass lampshades. They can come in opaque or translucent options which give off different effects. They can either amplify or direct the light in a room, depending on the glass shape and style. They can also come tinted in color for a radiant effect around your home.

— Metal Lampshades

Yes, there are metal lampshades and they need love and attention too. They do get very hot to the touch and are solely for directing light to make it stronger. They’re easier to clean though, as they can be wiped off easily. Just be sure to do it often as rust can develop over metal.

Now that you know the different types of lampshades there are, it’s time to learn how to clean each type properly.

How to Clean Fabric Lampshades

Fabric lampshades take more time to clean since they catch more dirt, dust, and grime overtime. It gets stuck inside of the fibers and darkens the appearance of the material as well as light.

Step 1: Turn off and unplug the lamp

Do not touch the shade until it has cooled off. Once the lamp is cool, remove the shade.

Step 2: The first layer to get rid of is dust

Using a microfiber cloth or the soft brush attachment of your vacuum cleaner, gently clean the outer fabric lining. If you feel this is too aggressive of an approach, you can also use a paint brush to brush the dust off carefully. Make sure all of your strokes are going downward, as going in different directions won’t clean anything.

Step 3: Get water ready

In a tub of warm water, mix some gentle detergent and let it bubble. Briefly submerge the lampshade in the water. Note, you’re only dipping and swishing the lampshade around, you’re not soaking it. Once you’ve done this, dip the lampshade into non-soapy water to rinse it.

Step 4: Dry your lampshade

First, take a dry microfiber cloth and pat it dry. Once you’ve done this, you can leave it out to air-dry completely. If you’re in a hurry to place it back on its lamp, then use a blow-dryer.

Additional Step. This is in case you have a stubborn stain. Spot clean your lampshade with a sponge and some gentle soap or detergent for the best results, letting it air-dry afterwards.

How to Clean Paper/Parchment Lampshades

Step 1: Unplug

Once again, unplug the lamp and let it cool off before you touch the lampshade.

Step 2: remove dust

You cannot place parchment or paper in water, so a microfiber cloth or paintbrush is your best method of removing the dust from its surface. It’s best to also wear gloves since the oil from your hands can stain the parchment.

Additional Tip: Another great way to clean parchment or paper lampshades is by using a dry piece of bread. It sounds crazy, but it actually works. Gently wipe over the lampshade as you would with a microfiber cloth and you’ll be good to go.

How to Clean Plastic Lampshades

Step 1: Unplug

Unplug the lamp and give it some time to cool down. Then, remove the shade and place it somewhere away from the wiring and lamp body.

Step 2: Remove dust

Remove dust with either a microfiber cloth or the soft brush attachment with your vacuum cleaner.

Step 3: Wash

Using a combination of laundry detergent and warm water, soak your microfiber cloth with soapy water. You then will use this to clean all of the dirt and spots present on your lampshade.

Step 4: Dry

To dry out the lampshade, wipe it with a dry cloth, and let it sit out in the sun. Do wipe it once more with a cloth to buff out any streaks your damp, soapy cloth may have left behind.

How to Clean Glass Lampshades

Step 1: dishwasher

One great thing about glass lampshades is that they can safely be placed inside of your dishwasher’s top rack whenever they need a clean. There is minimal effort for these cleans.

Step 2: Unplug

If you’re not someone with a dishwasher at home, then you’ll have to do the cleaning manually. Luckily, glass isn’t as delicate as parchment, paper, or fabric. You’ll start off by turning the lamp off and allowing the shade some time to cool down.

Step 3: Wash by hand

Using a sponge, clean the lampshade in warm, soapy water; a mixture made with detergent. If there is excessive grease, then add some white vinegar to your mixture. Just be sure to scrub hard to remove the smell.

Step 4: dry

Hand-dry your glass lampshade immediately and place it back where it belongs. You don’t want to risk having it lying around.

How to Clean Metal Lampshades

Step 1: Unplug

More often than not, metal lampshades are not removable ones. If this is the case, then you’ll just have to wash it from where it is. If you can remove it, it’ll make your job much easier. Always make sure to turn the lamp off and let the bulb and shade cool down.

Step 2: Dust

Using a feather duster or cloth, remove all of the dust from the shade.

Step 3: Stain removal

The next step is to use a sponge and a dishwash detergent to clean the stains off. For more stubborn stains, you can even use abrasives on the metal. Just be sure to steer clear of any wiring or the actual bulb. (it’s safer to remove the bulb beforehand)

Step 4: Dry

Dry the metal lampshade immediately with a dry cloth and make sure it’s 100% dry before placing the bulb back inside and turning on the light.


Routinely Clean Your Lampshades

Cleaning your lampshades once in a blue moon or whenever you feel like it isn’t going to do anyone a service. You have to make a routine to maintain your lampshades and prolong their usable life. It’s good to occasionally dust your lampshades every week, and deep-clean them at least once every quarter. Even better is if you can deep clean them once a month.

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