Lampshades are often overlooked when doing routine cleaning which can cause them to look drab and dirty. They are often made of fabric which requires special care when cleaning. This is a guide about cleaning lampshades.
I got so frustrated trying to vacuum my lamp shades or knocking the dust off with a rag. A lint roller is the best thing I have ever tried. It takes the dust off like a champ. Cleaning lamp shades could not be easier.
By Vicki Ann
I have off-white colored lamp shades that get very dusty and coated in cat hair. Without rubbing in the dust and discoloring the shades, how can I get them clean and dust-free?
Nicole W. from Kentucky
By guest (Guest Post) Flag
July 28, 2004
If the shades aren't pleated, this is a great trick -
I bought a 4 pk of Lint Rollers that have tear off sheets, at Sam's Club. I keep one upstairs and one downstairs. You can;t believe the amount of "stuff" they pick up off of the lamp shades!
I have used Kaboom foaming bathroom cleaner on my fabric lampshades with outstanding results. I took the lampshades into the bathroom over the tub and sprayed them down good. I lightly rubbed the foam in with my hand and waited about 10 minutes for it to work. I rinsed very well and then took them out in the hot Florida sun to dry.
They all turned out bright and clean with no streaks. I am amazed how well this worked. I even used this on my lampshade with beads on the bottom, with great results. To think I was going to throw the shade out and replace it. Now it looks brand new.
By Carmen D.C. from Daytona Beach, FL
I use a lint roller to clean my lampshades. The roller is also great for cleaning carpeted stairs in between regular vaccuming.
By Janette from Parkersburg, WV
Lampshades can build up grime, dust, and pet hair over time. Cleaning them can be difficult, but it is worth trying before your replace them. Here are some tips for cleaning lampshades:
To clean fabric lamp shades, use a lint roller. Can also be used to clean carpeted stairs.
By ashleybunkin from WV
Use a lint roller on carpeted stairs and to dust lamp shades. Use the kind of lint roller that has the pull off sheets. It leaves absolutely no residue and works beautifully.
By Janette from Parkersburg, WV
Tips for cleaning lampshades. Post your ideas.
To clean dusty lampshades, I use a tape-roller lint brush (the kind with sticky tape). Just roll it up and down around the lampshade. Works Great!
By Melissa (03/03/2005)
I take my lampshades out to my husband's workshop and blow the dust and lint off with his air compressor. Fast and easy. (03/04/2005)
I like your idea of using a lint brush to clean your lampshade, but my lampshade is pleated and a lint brush wouldn't work well. I use a clean, dry paintbrush and brush the dust off. It works well. (03/04/2005)
I use cheap baby wipes to clean my lamp shades. It even takes dog and cat hair off too. (03/04/2005)
When I dust, I use a Swiffer Duster on a handle. I use this on my lampshades too. Works great. (03/05/2005)
I read a tip about cleaning lamp shades and just had to send this one in also. I do housecleaning and one of the ladies I clean for has a very difficult to clean lampshade along with the other type that are easier to clean. I have found that the best thing to use for both is a small paint brush. It just brushes the dust right off the shade. Works great!
By Robin (03/16/2005)
Basic cleaning of shades: use a clean soft cloth or a vacuum brush to dust the lampshade inside and outside. Take off any non-washable trim. If the cloth is glued to the frame, sew it on with thread of the same color. Then you will be able to wash it over and over again without any trouble. Fill a deep washtub or bathtub with enough warm water to cover the shade. Add detergent and swish up thick suds. Use a mild detergent, as a hand dish washing liquid.
Use suds on a soft brush to rub any spots lightly. Then dip the shade up and down. When the water gets dirty, change to clean sudsy water. Wash the shade a second time. To rinse the shade, dip it up and down through two or three changes of clean water. Don't worry if the cloth stretches and sags while it is wet. It will tighten up for a snug fit when it gets dry.
To dry a fabric shade, tie a string to the middle of the frame. Then hang it over the bathtub or hang it from a clothesline outdoors to drip dry. Or you can wipe the shade with a bath towel until it is almost dry. Then put it back on the lamp and turn on the light so the heat from the bulb will help it to finish drying. If the lampshade has ruffles, "press" them with your finger.
Plastic, Plastic Coated, Laminated, Parchment, or Fiberglass shade:
Put one fourth cup of mild detergent into a bowl. Add just enough warm water to make it wet. Whip this mixture with a whip or electric mixer to make stiff "dry" suds that look like whipped cream. Put some of the thick suds on a cloth or sponge. Use this to wash the shade, inside and outside. If the binding around the edge is glued on, don't rub it or let it get very wet. Rinse the shade right away by going over it with a clean damp cloth. Then wipe it dry.
Don't forget to clean the reflector bowl if the lamp has one, before replacing the shade. Never use any abrasive cleaner like common scouring powders, no abrasive pads.
This article was written by Anne Field, Extension Specialist, Emeritus.
Source: MSU Extension (05/01/2005)
We have two cats and a dog, and our lampshades collect a LOT of hair. I use cheap packing tape. Just run the sticky side down from top to bottom. (03/30/2006)
By Ree 127
I have a heavy fabric lampshade (only one), and I vacuum it with the fabric head on my Kenmore. Or, I take a fabric softener sheet (now that I don't use them in the dryer anymore) and rub down to neutralize static and get a "fresh" smell. (03/30/2006)
I used the suggestion for the baby wipe on the non-removable, non-pleated lampshade. Excellent! Then I followed with a lint remover for dust 'stragglers'. (03/07/2007)
I've had luck removing stains and dust by placing the lampshade in a hot tub. The chlorine and the jets do wonders! (05/12/2007)
I got a "lampshade cleaner", which looks like a little pink sock, filled with grains of cleaner. Just wipe and most stains come out. I don't know where to find them, I guess a shade store. I got mine free at lampsusa.com. If you buy a shade, and mention free shade cleaner, they send you one free. (07/18/2008)
I use the Cadie Dry Cleaning Pad. It works wonders on my shades (with pleats), and it is great for other uses around the house as well. (10/19/2008)
I personally use the dust master 4000. It works wonders and whilst I'm scrubbing my beloved lampshades, I find it also gives off a soothing vibrate as a bi-product of my leisurely cleaning. The dust master 4000 also has other uses. ;) (11/06/2008)
I would like to clean my lamp shades. They are fabric and were exposed to a smoking room for a good while. I need to clean them and also find a way to remove the cigarette's odor.
I would try to clean them with a soft bristle brush/toothbrush and use a mild soap, like Ivory liquid. Something clear. I haven't cleaned lampshades, but I did have success with this method in cleaning the straps of a fabric Talbot's handbag that had become soiled by body oils. I made sure to gently scrub them with the toothbrush and rinse them completely.
To keep the metal parts of the shade from rusting, I would also suggest that you use a blow dryer to dry them ASAP. Possibly wash each shade separately. Hope this helps. Good luck.(04/28/2009)
I replaced my old lampshade with a new one because I tried cleaning one with water and detergent and the metal framework caused rust spots. I's also difficult to remove yellowing from an aged white shade. (04/28/2009)
You might try spray painting them. I've done this several times and it works like a charm. You can also stencil the shades after painting them. (05/05/2009)
To clean, there are a number of good tips from other TF posters.
For removing the odor, place the cleaned shade in a large plastic bag with a thick layer of newspaper on the bottom. To be on the safe side, I would cover the newspaper with a layer of paper towels or brown paper bags just in case; this will prevent the newsprint from getting on the shade.
Seal tightly. Check after a week to see if it still has any cigarette odor. If so, replace the newspaper and put baking soda or coffee grounds in a shallow container and place in bag. Check again in a week. Cigarette odor can be difficult to remove depending on the material.
Another suggestion is to put it outside on a hot sunny day and air out, making sure the shade is secured in case of winds. Keep in mind the type of material it is so it doesn't fade in the sun. (05/05/2009)
I put my lamp shades in the bath tub with laundry detergent in liquid form and let it sit. Turn every 30 minutes, after about an hour and a half get a soft bristled brush and begin scrubbing it lightly it should come clean and smell fresh. You could try 409 or Spray n Wash either one should work well. (05/05/2009)
I need ways to clean fabric covered lampshades that are discolored due to smoking (without quitting, which I'm trying to do). I do dust them every week.
By Elyag from Rochester, NY
I found for dusting lampshades a great thing to use are rubber gloves. It takes all lint and fuzz to the bottom and then you either vacuum or rub off. They work great for removing pet hair from sofas, etc. (05/19/2009)
I've read that a smushed, rolled up ball of white bread (without the crust) works. It's supposed to work for wallpaper cleaning, but I bet it will also "dry-clean" your lamp shade. Just keep using a new piece when the old one gets dirty. You can also use a dry-clean sponge. They sell them online. For nicely made fabric lampshades (that have no paper-tape or frayed edges), they can usually be washed.
This is how I washed my pleated window shades: Spray it with Simple Green (straight from the bottle) outside, then leave it on for 5 minutes, then hose it down. You can also use "Scrubbing Bubbles" or the dollar store equivalent (then hose it down). You need a strong cleaner like this to cut the nicotine. This is what I've done for my ex-mother-in-law who used to chain smoke (until she recently died of lung cancer). *Sorry, but it's the truth. I pass no judgment, we all have our addictions. Some to food, some to shopping, and some to other things. (05/19/2009)
I use MeanGreen for lampshades and laundry stains. Just spray, let sit for a few minutes and rinse with water. For tough stains, spray, rub gently with fingers and rinse. (05/23/2009)
To remove dust from lampshades, I use a lint roller. (05/23/2009)
Sounds nuts, but I fill the bathtub with lukewarm water, add laundry soap and stick them in. I turn them every so often to make sure it saturates everything. Then drain and fill with clean water the rinse the soap off. I take them out, put them on a couple of old towels in front of a fan and they dry in no time at all. I haven't warped one yet. (05/23/2009)
When I get or make a fabric lampshade I always spray it with several coats of Scotchguard before I ever use it, it helps quite a bit in the long run. (10/23/2009)
How do I clean a lamp shade?
By Lillie from Newport News, VA
I tried just about everything on this page and nothing faded the tough water lines and yellowing on my shades. Confronted with the fact they were $50 a piece I decided to go for a Hail Mary. I sprayed Clorox Cleanup onto the shade, let it sit a minute, scrubbed it with an abrasive sponge, dipped it into the tub and, it was a little lighter! I did it again, and again, and again and no more stain! (07/31/2010)