Cleaning Lamp Shades

Lamp shades are made of many different materials; some are washable and some are not. Keep all the care information from the manufacturer so you know the proper cleaning procedure.

To wash a lamp shade, fill a bathtub or a large laundry sink with a warm-water solution containing liquid dishwashing detergent. Dip the shade in and out of the solution, making sure that the shade is completely covered, and then rinse it in lukewarm water, following the same dipping procedure. Rinse until the water is clear. Take the shade outside and swing it vigorously in a circle to get rid of excess moisture, and then dry it quickly in the sun or with an electric fan or hair dryer.

If the lamp shade is washable but has a glued-on trim that prevents immersing it in water, use the following method for cleaning: Mix 1/4 cup dishwashing liquid with 1 cup warm water, and whip the mixture with an eggbeater until it makes a stiff foam. Apply the foam to the shade with a sponge, being careful not to wet the trim. Rinse by going over the shade with a clean cloth wrung out in clear water. Allow the shade to dry.

Also consider these suggestions for cleaning lamp shades:

  • Vacuum lamp shades regularly with the brush attachment.
  • Dry-clean shades that are glued to their frames. Remove spots from nonwashable fabric shades with a spot remover.
  • Wash silk, nylon, and rayon shades only if they are sewn to the frame.
  • Plastic and fiberglass shades only need to be wiped occasionally with a cloth to remove soil.

Your lamp shades are looking brand new, but what about the metal lamps beneath them? Take a look at the next section to find tips on cleaning metals.