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Cleaning a Lampshade

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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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August 2, 2011

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 Dunning C. from Daytona Beach, FL

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August 11, 20111 found this helpful

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:


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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

July 16, 20041 found this helpful

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 Lee-Ann (Guest Post)
July 16, 20040 found this helpful

Vacuum them with the attachment on your vacuum cleaner.

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By NHdoubleK (Guest Post)
July 19, 20040 found this helpful

I use a clean small paint brush or basting brush to dust my pleated shades. Works like a charm!

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By CONNIE (Guest Post)
July 19, 20040 found this helpful


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By Anita (Guest Post)
July 19, 20040 found this helpful

Bounce-type fabric sheets work well for this.

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By Carolyn (Guest Post)
July 19, 20040 found this helpful

try a Swiffer Duster, I use them on my pleated white lamp shades and they are fantastic !!

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By Lisa (Guest Post)
July 28, 20040 found this helpful

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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By 0 found this helpful
October 17, 2016

How do I safely clean large antique lamp shades without damaging them?


January 31, 20170 found this helpful

I would do a spot test with hydrogen peroxide, which can get rid of stains and dirt and make things whiter again. I have used it in many surfaces - it makes everhything cleaner and does not often ruin things. But you should really do a spot test first.


rubbing corn starch on it can do the trick as well, as can baking soda.

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By 0 found this helpful
July 6, 2009

I have 2 antique raw hide lamp shades, they are yellowing with age and have a few marks on them. How should I safely clean raw hide?

By Gwen Myrick from Conroe, TX


July 8, 20090 found this helpful

Well. the rawhide is simply going to yellow with age just like a newspaper and many other items :-( Being rawhide you'll have to be careful how long you clean with a moist cleanser but you could try a small test spot with hydrogen peroxide to try to remove the yellowing. Would need to know what the 'marks' you're talking about are before giving advice on them.

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March 14, 20170 found this helpful

A lint roller is an excellent tool for cleaning dust and lint from your fabric lampshades. This is a guide about using a lint roller for cleaning lamp shades.

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ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

April 20, 20110 found this helpful

How do I clean a lamp shade?

By Lillie Gordon 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 Judy

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April 9, 20100 found this helpful

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 gayle 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 Jo

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 tama

Cleaning a Lampshade

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

By Kathy

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 Virginia

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May 19, 20090 found this helpful

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 Lee

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 Myrna

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 Michelle Landreth

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 it'

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 Darlene

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April 28, 20090 found this helpful

Tips for cleaning lampshades. Post your ideas.

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