How To Clean Lamp Shades

Lamp shades can get dusty and worn over time. Here are some tips for cleaning them so they look as good as new.

Cleaning lamp shades is one of those housekeeping chores that many of us prefer to avoid. While the work involved in removing dust or grime is not particularly difficult, it can be time-consuming to select the best cleaning products and supplies, remove and clean each shade, and replace it once more. To save time and money, here are a few tips:

1. Remove all lamp shades for cleaning at the same time. Floor lamps or table lamps can function while their shades are being cleaned, so use them without shades as needed. Cleaning the lamp covers should not take long, so you can replace them in a fairly short time. Set aside a work area, such as a laundry table or kitchen counter, and cover it with an old sheet or drop cloth. Line up the shades according to their type of cover, from fabric to glass or plastic. Check cleaning instructions on the labels to be sure you do it correctly.

2. Select cleaning supplies and products carefully. Use the right kind of detergent or glass cleaner for lamp covers made of glass, plastic, or ceramic material. Avoid toxic products if possible, and do not mix cleaning ingredients. Use the right amount based on instructions posted on the container. Choose cleaning cloths that are soft and supple for fabric covers, or firm enough to wipe clingy dirt from glass covers. Use one cloth with the detergent, and another for glass cleaner.

3. Soak your scrub cloth in the soapy mixture for the fabric covers. Wring it out, and if too soapy, rinse and wring again. When you have a slight soapy residue, wipe the fabric lamp shades carefully, avoiding harsh movements to prevent dents, scratches, or wrinkles. Use another cloth dipped in clear water to wipe all residue from the covers. They should now look clean and be set aside to air dry.

4. Next, lightly moisten another scrub cloth with window cleaner. Wipe each glass, ceramic, or related cover gently but firmly to remove grime, smudges, or dust. You may have to repeat this action a couple of times to get rid of all traces of dirt. Then use another rinse cloth to remove cleaner residue; wipe each cover dry with a paper towel. These should appear clean and grime-free.

5. Allow the covers adequate time to dry completely. You don't want to risk electric shock by replacing and using them too quickly, while they're still damp. Flush used cleaning water down the toilet after rinsing the scrub cloths and hanging them up to dry. Your shades should not appear clean and tidy for the next several months.

Clean lamp shades give the impression of a clean room, since the cover is the first thing people see when they glance at your light fixtures. Take this opportunity to wipe the base of each lamp as well, removing dust and fingerprints for an overall pristine effect for visitors. Remember to unplug lamps before cleaning them, and then plug them in once more when each fixture is dry. You will enjoy the brighter light now diffused from each clean lamp!

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