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  • Tips on choosing a color and size
  • Different types of shades
  • Learn about other shade elements

How to Clean A Lamp Shade

This is usually the part where you're told that regular care and lamp shade cleaning will allow you to avoid washing or deep cleaning. Sorry, clean freaks, but there's no getting around it: as time goes by, lamp shades are bound to pick up dust, smoke, discoloration, or stains from accidents and/or the general environment.

That said, you can lessen the toll time takes by supplementing your standard cleaning routine with a few creative tools or techniques:

Smooth or Non-Ridge Style

Try using a vacuum brush, duster, or clean, soft cloth. With "catchy" fabrics or textured materials, compressed air, a gentle vacuum, or even a blow dryer on a cool setting will be most efficient. Avoid direct vacuuming of delicate shades that could lose shape.

Pleated Ridge Style

You can minimize dust buildup by running a small brush (e.g. a paintbrush, makeup brush, or lint brush) down the ridges.

Tiffany Style

Avoid harsh chemicals or ammonia-based cleaners. A feather duster is best for regular cleanup. For more thorough cleaning, apply glass cleaner with a soft cloth. If you see white powdery spots on the soldering, apply a bit of mineral or lemon oil, then dab to remove oil excess.

Don't forget to dust and clean the inside of the lamp shade, making sure to turn the lamp off before cleaning when you do. Some shade materials can heat up, so if you have an art glass or metal shade, give it a chance to cool down.

Washing and Deep Cleaning

Is your lamp shade turning into a lamp eclipse? When the dust settles or shade darkens, it's time for a deeper cleaning. However, there are important material and design issues that should be considered before washing a lamp shade — namely, is it washable? If you're not sure, check the manufacturer's information that came with it.

You're not out of the water yet — or into the water, in this case. If your lamp shade is glued to its frame, cleaning via immersion could ruin its shape. Instead, try these alternative approaches:

Combine a quarter-cup of mild detergent or dish soap with one cup of warm water. Mix by hand or electric appliance until you have a sudsy solution with the texture of whipped cream. Apply these thick, "dry" suds to the shade using a clean cloth or sponge. Avoid the glued trim. To rinse, wipe with a clean cloth periodically wrung out in fresh water. Dry with a gentle fan or cool-air blow dryer.

Wary of water? There are a few dry lampshade cleaner products on the market that may work for your fabric. Barring that, if there's a dry-cleaning business you trust — and you really love your lamp — give them a call. Other washable fabric lampshades can be immersed repeatedly in a mix of lukewarm water and a quarter-cup of detergent. Dry as mentioned above.

For deeper cleaning of glass lampshades, apply a lemon oil-based furniture polish with a soft cloth.