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.
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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
Lampshade 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:
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
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
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
To clean fabric lamp shades, use a lint roller. Can also be used to clean carpeted stairs.
By ashleybunkin from WV
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From Askville at Amazon.com:
I had a lamp in storage for a long time, and when I pulled it out, it looks kind of "dingy," but it's a very pretty shade and I hate to throw it out. Is there a spray cleaner, or something that I can use to wash it? Thanks!
Answer: I'd start with a vacuum. I'd suggest that the shade will very likely NOT survive contact with water in any form. The colors will probably run.
Since it has been in storage, the dinginess is very possibly just accumulated dust. If so I'd start with a vacuum with a soft brush attachment. Since I have a compressor, I'd probably next try blowing it clean with a moderate stream of dry air. Be careful though, depending upon the age of the shade, even a strong blast of air might damage the shade.
If the shade is valuable and there are stains, a conservator might try a non-aqueous solvent, first on a very tiny and inconspicuous corner. I'm thinking of chemicals that are used for dry cleaning clothes.
Remember that lampshades are often subject to moderately high temperatures, that over time and usage cause them to dry out and become brittle. If they spent much time in a sunny room, the UV light will cause both pigment discoloration and embrittlement of the shade itself. So it is possible that the colors in this shade cannot be fully restored.
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Tips for cleaning lampshades. Post your ideas.
By Melissa (03/03/2005)
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)
By Ree 127
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)
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 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.