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How to Clean Different Types of Lampshades

An assortment of 6 different lights with unique lampshades on a white background

Lampshades; available in virtually every colour, shape, style, design, and a wide variety of materials, too! It’s no wonder why people feel overwhelmed when choosing the perfect lamp shade(s) for their homes. While most homeowners typically make their final pick solely based on aesthetic appeal, there is one crucial factor that is often overlooked – cleaning requirements.

Like a moth to a flame, lampshades are prone to dust while the bulbs attract insects galore. Let’s not forget those pesky spiders that cover your lampshades in web both on the outside and inside! Although regular dusting is highly recommended for keeping your lampshades clean, there will be times when they require a deeper clean to remove stubborn stains and grime. This is when finding the right cleaning methods specific to the material is crucial as you do not want to damage a lampshade that you so carefully picked out! 

If you’re looking for the best and safest ways to clean different types of lampshades, you’ve come to the right place! Read on for Maid For You’s top three cleaning guides for cleaning three different lamp shades.

Fabric Lampshades

light brown antique fabric lampshade covering light bulb on a white background

NOTE: This method can also be used to clean plastic lampshades.

These are, perhaps, the most common types of lamp shades found in homes due to the unending varieties of colours, patterns, and designs they come in. Unfortunately, they are also the toughest to clean because dirt and stains are easily absorbed by the fabric. 

Nevertheless, if you want to know how to clean a fabric lampshade, just follow the steps below:

  • Detach the lampshade from the lamp base.
  • Dust the shade inside and outside. You can use a clean dust cloth to wipe the inner side of the lampshade while a vacuum cleaner with an upholstery attachment is the most effective way to remove dust from the outer fabric. This will give you a much more thorough clean as opposed to just wiping it down with a duster.
  • In a bucket, make a soapy solution consisting of warm water and liquid laundry detergent. Adjust the strength of the cleaning solution as per the level of dirt and stains present on the fabric lampshade.
  • Dunk the lampshade inside so that the entire fabric gets wet. If the lampshade floats in the water, use a large enough plate or serving tray to hold it down and keep it submerged. 
  • Leave it to soak for 15 minutes.
  • Using a soft, damp microfibre cloth or a non-abrasive sponge, gently scrub the fabric shade to remove dirt and stains. You may need to apply a little more pressure to get out stubborn stains, however, it is important to pay close attention to the fabric to ensure that there is no damage being caused as you increase the scrubbing intensity.
  • Drain out the soap water, rinse the bucket thoroughly, and refill it with fresh water.
  • Dunk the lampshade inside repeatedly until the soapiness has been washed off. 
  • Shake off excess water, and dab the fabric with a dry towel to soak up as much moisture as possible. Finally, leave your fabric lampshade under a running ceiling fan to dry.

TIP: For white or off white fabric lampshades, add 1-2 tablespoons of baking soda to the cleaning solution. This will help to further brighten up the fabric.

Fibre or Paper Lampshades

old antique light with an acqua coloured paper lampshade on a white background

These lampshade materials are delicate and bear no resistance to water. This means that the use of liquid cleaning solutions must also be avoided as any exposure to moisture can cause the materials to disintegrate. 

The safest way to clean fibre and paper lampshades is as follows:

  • Wipe the lampshade with a soft, dry cloth to remove dust and debris (don’t forget to clean the inside of the shade as well). Never use a vacuum cleaner on fibre and paper lampshades as it can damage the material. 
  • For stubborn dirt and stains, use a new and unused pencil eraser to gently rub the marks away. Bear in mind that the technique used here is very important; it must be done in a dabbing manner as extended swipes may spread the stain further. 

TIP: Be sure to dust your paper and fibre lampshades regularly to prevent dullness and stains.

Silk Lampshades

antique brass light with glass lampshades on a white background

A delicate fabric by nature, silk lamp shades also require a gentle cleaning method as the material can lose shape and/or get nicked rather easily. Liquid cleaning solutions can be used (indirectly), however, it is not advisable to soak a silk lampshade in water no matter how dirty it is.

Here’s how to clean your silk lampshade without damaging it:

  • Remove dust from the material with a soft dust cloth or a feather duster. Avoid vacuuming or using a lint roller on your silk lampshades.
  • In a bowl of water, add in a few drops of dishwashing liquid and stir it up well.
  • Dip a clean soft cloth or non-abrasive sponge in the cleaning solution, and wring the cleaning tool thoroughly so that it is merely damp.
  • Gently wipe the silk lampshade from top to bottom (in a straight line). Continue this wiping pattern until the entire lampshade has been wiped down.
  • Dampen your fingers and run them over the material to check whether there is a soapy residue left on the silk. If so, dampen a clean, soft cloth in plain water, and wipe over the lampshade.
  • Leave the lampshade under a fan to air-dry completely. 

When it comes to cleaning lampshades, especially such delicate materials, it pays to know the right ways in which to do it. Today, you have learned all you need to know about cleaning three different but common types of lampshades, and we are certain that you will be thoroughly satisfied with the results! 

Adriana Aziz is the operations manager at MaidForYou. With over 6 years of experience managing cleaning operations, she knows all the best hacks when it comes to cleaning residential and commercial buildings. With expert experience in managing house cleaning operations, interior design and logistics. She spends her free time with her family and as a freelance food critic.

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