Lighting is an essential part of setting the mood in any space. As with any part of your home, you'll need to perform some routine maintenance to keep your lighting looking great—and swapping out flickering light bulbs is just one part of the equation. It's also important to keep your lighting sources clean, which may include occasional wipe-downs and dusting. If you've got lamps, then you'll also want to clean your lampshades from time to time.
Luckily, keeping your lampshades in tip-top shape doesn't need to be time-consuming, and you'll only need a few cleaning supplies to get the job done.
Here, how to clean a lampshade in five easy steps, according to professional cleaners who clean them all the time.
How Often Should You Clean Your Lampshades?
There's no hard-and-fast rule for how often you should clean your lampshade—the important thing is to stay on top of routine maintenance. Because lampshades can collect dust, dirt, and fingerprints easily, keep an eye on them and clean them as needed—at minimum, every few months. "To avoid major buildup, be sure to clean lampshades every two to three months," suggests Lauren Bowen, director of franchise operations at the Alabama-based cleaning company Two Maids and a Mop. If you have time, Bowen suggests vacuuming your lampshades biweekly (more directions on that below).
Meet the Expert
- Lauren Bowen is the director of franchise operations at the Birmingham, Alabama-based cleaning company Two Maids and a Mop.
- James King is the operations manager at Deluxemaid, a home cleaning company in Indianapolis.
Of course, if you notice your lampshade is dirty, you can clean it sooner; always make sure to address stains as early as possible to prevent long-term damage.
Things You'll Need
- Dry paper towel or microfiber cloth
- Lint roller (optional)
- Handheld vacuum (optional)
- Hair dryer (optional)
- Gentle fabric detergent
- Warm water
- Old, soft toothbrush (optional)
How to Clean a Lampshade
Step 1: Dust the Lampshade
First, remove the lampshade from its post and use a dry paper towel or microfiber cloth to wipe away any obvious dust on the inside and outside of the shade in gentle, circular motions. For any bits that won't budge with the cloth, Bowen suggests trying a lint roller. "If the lampshade has any fringe, you can use a hair dryer to remove any dust from that," King says. "A vacuum cleaner can also be used if the fabric is robust enough."
No lint roller on hand? Try using a piece of masking tape to remove dust or debris from your fabric lampshade or any other surface.
Step 2: Wash the Lampshade
If your lampshade is fabric, you can clean it with soap and water. Mix warm water with about a teaspoon of gentle fabric detergent in a clean sink or basin, then soak the shade in the mixture for 15 to 20 minutes and wipe with a clean microfiber cloth to work out any marks or stains. For any particularly stubborn areas, you can use an old, clean toothbrush with a little extra soap.
There are a few exceptions. If the lampshade has been glued rather than stitched, King says it should not be submerged in water; instead, dip the cloth or toothbrush in a soapy water mixture and apply it to the affected areas. Paper lampshades should be treated with care, too—don't use soap, but instead, wipe with a damp microfiber cloth inside and outside.
Silk lampshades should always be professionally cleaned if they're stained. Only clean silk at home with a feather duster to avoid damage.
Step 4: Rinse the Lampshade
After you wash the lampshade, soak it in plain warm water to rinse the soap from the fabric. After 10 to 15 minutes, remove it from the water and shake the shade dry. If you're cleaning a glued lampshade, take a fresh cloth and wipe over the shade to remove the soap.
Step 5: Dry the Lampshade
Finally, leave the lampshade to dry completely on an absorbent towel or in a dry sink. Ensure it's totally dry before putting it back on the lamp post.