Cleaning a Lampshade

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.

picture of a dusty lampshade
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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

AnswerWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

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!

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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

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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

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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

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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:

  • If the shade is made of plastic, you can probably use a baby wipe or damp cloth to clean it.
  • To remove pet hair, try a sticky pet roller or lint brush. A slightly damp cloth may also work, but test it in a small area to make sure that it won't leave a water stain.
  • An air compressor or canned air can be used to blow dust off of the shade.

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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

CommentMoreRead More...Was this helpful?Helpful? Yes

To clean fabric lamp shades, use a lint roller. Can also be used to clean carpeted stairs.

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How do I clean a lamp shade?

By Lillie from Newport News, VA

Cleaning a Lampshade

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)

By toukeebird

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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

Cleaning a Lampshade

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)

By kostalota

Cleaning a Lampshade

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)

By Cyinda

Cleaning a Lampshade

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)

By taabb7

Cleaning a Lampshade

To remove dust from lampshades, I use a lint roller. (05/23/2009)

By chef4u

Cleaning a Lampshade

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)

By falldowngobump

Cleaning a Lampshade

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)

By wolfbytez

CommentWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

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.


Cleaning a Lampshade

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)

By southeastgeorgiapeach

Cleaning a Lampshade

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)

By Lorelei

Cleaning a Lampshade

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)

By Bama_Jypsy1

Cleaning a Lampshade

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)

By mkymlp

Cleaning a Lampshade

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)

By Clonts

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Tips for cleaning lampshades. Post your ideas.

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Home and Garden Cleaning AdviceJuly 8, 2011
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