Cleaning Your Lampshades

Basically, lampshades typically fall into one of four categories.  These are:

1. Fabric covered or stitched
2. Parchment
3. Plastic
4. Paper or those with glue

Before going into each type, there is a first step you must do for each type of shade.  Take either a clean paint brush or cloth to wipe or brush the inside and outside of the shade to remove dust and debris.

If your shades are pleated, a can of compressed air will work nicely.  Simply start at the top and run the nozzle in between each pleat the entire length of the shade for each pleat. 

So moving on to how to clean your fabric or stitched shades:

Fill your sink with warm water – your tub if your shades are large.  Add dish washing detergent.  Then soak the shade in the soapy water. If there are soiled spots, use some suds on a cloth to gently rub them out. Swish the shade around in the water to remove all the grime and debris that is left over. When your water gets too dirty, just empty it out and refill.  Continue to do these steps until the water stays mostly clear. Don’t worry if the shade seems to appear to be sagging or stretching – most will return to their original shape when it dries. Hang your shade either outside or in an airy space to dry.  Please note:  If you remove the fabric from the frame, be sure to attach it before the fabric completely dries. You can also replace the shade back on the lamp and turn the bulb on to speed up drying.

For cleaning parchment shades and paper shades or those with glue:

It is very important to note that these types of shades cannot get too wet. The best method to cleaning these shades is to use the dusting/upholstery tool of your vacuum cleaner and vacuum frequently. Here is a tip if your shades have anything delicate hanging from them – just slip a piece of hosiery over the end of the vacuum.  If the shade has stains, use a 1/4 cup of warm water mixed with some mild detergent.  Using a whisk, whip the water and detergent mixture in order to create dry suds.  This will almost resemble whipped cream. Use a dry cloth to apply a small amount of the dry suds and just work with small sections at a time. Be very careful not to rub the binding area too hard or get it too wet because the glue will come loose. When finished, rinse the suds off with a clean, damp cloth and then wipe dry.

To clean plastic shades:

You can wash these in warm water using mild detergent and then dry with a soft cloth. In order to replace the shine of the plastic, use a little bit of furniture polish on a dry cloth to apply on the clean shade. 

Enjoy your clean lampshades!

Happy Cleaning! 🙂




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