When is the last time you cleaned your lampshades? When is the last time it occurred to you that lampshades even need to be cleaned? But they do.
Some lampshades are made of paper, others cloth, and still others a stiff plastic, and cleaning them is probably not on your weekly to-do list (especially if you have no idea how to spot clean a cloth lampshade). However, they are hardly impervious to dirt, and at the very least can get pretty dusty, so cleaning them is essential to keeping the light in your space shining bright. Here are the best ways to clean different types of lampshades, and keep them clean for longer.
Dust your lampshades before attempting a deep clean
No matter the type of lampshade you have, they get covered in dust just like any other surface in your home. But for fabric lampshades, regular dusters will not cut it (and might rub the dust deeper into the fibres). For this reason, household site The Family Handyman advises using a lint roller on your lampshade before attempting to spot clean it. The sticky roll you normally use to remove pet hair and lint will work just as well on a cloth lampshade. For a plastic or glass shade, a damp cloth is an easy way to wipe away the dust. If the lampshade is really dusty, give it a vacuum with a soft-bristled attachment to remove dust before wiping it down or using the lint roller.
How to wash your lampshades
Fabric and plastic lampshades can be placed right into a tub or sink filled with cool water and some gentle detergent. For a white lampshade, use a detergent with oxygen bleach for a brighter clean. Homemaker site Housewife How-Tos warns not to let the lampshade soak in the tub; this could damage the fabric or affect any adhesives holding it together. Instead, dip the shade in and scrub with a microfiber towel to lift away dirt, then remove from the water and towel the shade dry. Then, they advise, use a dry cleaning sponge to scrub away any persistent stains.
Paper lampshades need more tender love and care than dumping in a bathtub can provide. First, before handling these delicate shades, don gloves to protect the paper of the shade from the oils on your skin, which could leave stains. Second, since it is made of paper, water is a no-go; instead, wipe the shade gently using a dry microfiber cloth. Cleaning site Merry Maids notes an unusual method for cleaning parchment shades is to use a piece of white bread. Yup, head to your kitchen, grab a piece of bread, and wipe the parchment lampshade down as if you were using a microfiber cloth. You’ll be surprised how effective it is at lifting dust and dirt.
Dust your lampshades regularly
Once the lampshade has had its restorative bath or cleansing, you’ll want to give it more regular wipe downs to prevent such buildup in the future. When you do, first turn off the light and let the lampshade cool. Then, wipe down the shade inside and outside (or vacuum if needed). Next time you’re tidying up the living room or bedroom, add lampshades to the cleaning list, and enjoy your cleaner, better lit room.