Home » Blog » How To Clean Lampshades (Fabric, Plastic, Paper, And More!)

By: Rain City Maids
Jan 02, 2023

Imagine the ambiance of your home being transformed by the warm glow of a beautiful lamp. Regardless of your interest in interior design or Feng Shui, there's no denying the magic a well-maintained lamp can bring. 

Whether it holds sentimental value or is a unique thrift store find, keeping your lampshade free from dust and stains becomes a top priority. But here's the dilemma: how do you clean a lampshade effectively without causing any damage? Well, fret not, because we've got you covered. 

In this article, we'll explore various methods to clean lampshades, ensuring they remain in pristine condition, no matter the material they're made of. So, if you're ready to discover the secrets to a spotless lampshade, keep reading. Oh, and by the way, have you ever considered the convenience of house cleaning by experienced professionals? It's another way to keep your entire living space sparkling clean while you focus on the things you love. But for now, let's dive into the art of lampshade cleaning.

Before cleaning, know your lamps better

Since you don't want to destroy the lampshade, it's crucial to check the basics before spraying, wiping, dusting, or washing the material.

For example, fabrics such as cotton and linen can be easily thrown in the washing machine and go through a gentle cycle. On the other hand, flimsy lampshades like paper or parchment won't resist being drenched in cleaning solutions.

One more thing: Many people turn off their lamps and jump into cleaning, only to be surprised by a hot lampshade. So wait a few minutes until the lamp cools down before you remove the lampshade! 

Up next are some of the most common lampshade types and how to clean them.

How to clean fabric lampshades

Whether vintage or modern, fabric lampshades will gather lots of dust in time. Here are a few methods to clean this material.

A method for cleaning glued-on fabric lampshades

As mentioned before, cleaning fabric is pretty straightforward: a gentle cycle in the washing machine. However, some lampshades are glued to the frame, making cleaning complicated. Fortunately, you can still wash the whole piece.

For this process, you will need:

  • A vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment
  • A big enough container to fit the lamp in
  • Dish soap or laundry detergent
  • Cold water
  • A towel

Now, onto cleaning the fabric lampshade:

  1. Trap the dust from the lampshade using the soft brush attachment of your vacuum cleaner.
  2. Prepare a tub of cold water and add a teaspoon of dish soap or laundry detergent.
  3. Dip the lampshade and swirl it. However, don't let it soak too much, as you might damage the glue on the shade.
  4. Finish by rinsing with cold water, blotting with a dry towel, and letting it air dry before reinstalling.

Does your lampshade have mildew? Try bleach

If your fabric lampshade has signs of mildew—like gray spots—bleach might be what you need. This agent is a strong chemical cleaner that can remove this bother; however, the following method won't do good on colored lampshades, so try it only on white ones. If you're good to go, here's how to clean mildew:

  1. Fill a spray bottle with clean water and apply a mist over the lampshade.
  2. Prepare a solution of ¼ cup bleach with one gallon of cool water in a bucket.
  3. While wearing rubber gloves, dip the sponge in the mix, and apply it over the surface.
  4. Use a soft toothbrush to scrub the spots on the lampshade gently.
  5. Wait five minutes, then rinse with cold water and blot quickly with a cloth.

What if the lampshade turned yellow?

Some light-colored fabric shades give the impression that they become yellow, which can be due to dust and dirt building up. Fortunately, baking soda can fix this issue, as it can cut through and dissolve the buildup. Try these five easy steps:

  1. Fill a container or the sink with warm water and add a dash of dish soap.
  2. Add a few teaspoons of baking soda and swish the mix a little.
  3. Let the lampshade soak in the cleaning mixture for ten minutes.
  4. Use a soft sponge or toothbrush to scrub the lampshade.
  5. Rinse thoroughly and let the lampshade air dry.

How to clean paper lampshades

Since this material is not washable, your best bet is to dust or gently wipe it! Also, it's essential that you use gloves, especially if your hands get sweaty. The following method also applies to parchment lampshades:

  1. Dust the lampshade with a soft painter's brush or a dry cloth. Alternatively, you can use a lint roller in long motions over the surface.
  2. An unexpected (but welcome) way to remove dirt on your lamp's surface is by pressing white Play-doh over the spots. This brand of dough is sticky enough to trap dirt but not too much that will make a mess on your shade.
  3. Optional: If you need water, slightly dampen a cloth to wipe the lampshade. Finish up by using a hair dryer set on the cool setting.

How to clean plastic lampshades

Plastic shades are more resistant, so you can apply some elbow grease. Also, this material is easy to wash with soapy water. Here's what you can do:

  1. With a damp microfiber cloth, dust the inside and outside of the shade.
  2. Add warm water and dish soap in the sink or a big enough bowl.
  3. Dip the lampshade in the mixture and scrub any spots with a sponge.
  4. Rinse well and dry the lampshade with a clean cloth.

How to clean glass lampshades

It's easy to clean a glass lampshade: You only need to remove it from the lamp and put it on the top shelf of your dishwasher.

However, if you need to deep clean the glass, you can hand wash it. We recommend vinegar in this method as it can remove any grime and smudges. Here's how to apply it: 

  1. Fill a big enough container with warm water and add a dash of dish soap.
  2. Add three tablespoons of vinegar to the mix.
  3. Carefully dip the shade and soak it well in the solution.
  4. If you need to, scrub with a soft sponge any troublesome areas.
  5. Rinse the shade and immediately hand dry it.

How to keep your lampshades clean for longer

Finally, after removing months, if not years, of buildup, you might wonder how to keep those lampshades neat to brighten up your rooms. Here are some things you can do:

  • Dust the surfaces often; once a week will do.
  • Remember to clean them while turned off for safety.
  • Use a lint roller or painter's brush on the delicate lampshades.
  • Damp a soft cloth lightly to clean plastic ones.
  • Include lampshade cleaning in your spring cleaning checklist.

Is housework a struggle? Rain City Maids can help!

Dust and dirt are inevitable; if you can't keep up with the cleaning, they can take over the house. Luckily, we can keep the mess at bay, so you won't need to worry about any buildup on the furniture or shades.

At Rain City Maids, we offer top-notch cleaning services, lampshade dusting included! Click here to learn more about our services!

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