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Everything You Need to Know About Cleaning Lampshades

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Amy Thomson
12.08.15

There are tons of ways to clean a lampshade. But there’s a good chance you haven’t tried them because lampshades are one of those blind spots when it comes to cleaning routines (aka everybody forgets about them).

Let’s change that! Here’s the best way to clean a lampshade based on the lampshade material and the type of dust or grime that’s on it:

Pro Tip: Consider wearing gloves while cleaning lampshades. This will eliminate the risk of transferring oily fingerprints.

To Remove Dust from a Lampshade…

You can dust any lampshade with a microfiber cloth or a paintbrush. This will bring the dust to the table and surrounding area where you can finish the job with a vacuum or dusting pan.

If there are any weird crevices you’re having trouble reaching, try a can of compressed air. You can also use your vacuum with the dusting brush attachment, but try this carefully and make sure the suction isn’t too strong, otherwise you could warp the shade.

Expert Tip: When cleaning a shade with a dusting brush attachment, do not touch the shade with the attachment because you may transfer old dust or grime to the shade. Hold the attachment one inch from the shade and the suction will still function.

To Remove Stains from a Lampshade…

The best way to remove a stain depends on the lampshade material you’re workin’ with.

For Fabric or Plastic Lampshades

If minor oil or grease based, baking soda is the gentlest solution. You want to cover the stain with a centimeter-thick layer of baking soda. (To do this, position the lampshade on its side.) Let the baking soda sit for five minutes and then brush it away—it should soak up the majority of the stain.

If the stain is not oil-based, try a magic eraser. Gently rub the stain with the eraser and hope that it brings the fabric back to new.

If that doesn’t work, you can wash your shade by hand. Fill your tub or sink (if it is big enough to rest the shade on it’s side) with lukewarm water. Add a couple drops of mild laundry detergent and mix the water until it bubbles. Rest the shade in the water on its side and roll the shade around.

For tougher stain removal, grab a toothbrush, dip it in soapy water, and scrub the stain from the inside of the shade. This is a good way to make sure the toothbrush is not going to damage the look of the shade. Also, it might remove the stain from the inside out, which is ideal. After scrubbing, spin the shade in water again.

Once the shade is looking good, drain the water and replace with clear lukewarm water. Rinse the shade and leave it to dry sitting on top of a towel somewhere where children or pets can’t reach it.

For Paper and Parchment Lampshades

This is the part where you get to tell your friends you cleaned your house with Wonder Bread. Grab a piece of white bread (any brand will do) and remove the crust. Rub the bread over the shade and watch it pick up the dust and grime.

If the white bread trick doesn’t work for you, try lightly rubbing a magic eraser on the stain. We suggest extreme caution with paper and parchment shades because they are so delicate.

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