How to Clean a Lampshade

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Lampshades are the element of visual appeal to any room or property. It is an eye-catcher as it provides beautiful illumination in a particular spot. But what happens when the attractive quotient of your room or property gets dirty? It hampers the overall appeal and ambiance of the room!

Lampshades are made up of several types of fabrics, such as cotton, denim, velvet, and others. Therefore, a uniform method of cleaning is essential for cleaning all types of lampshades. 

How to Clean a Lampshade?

Lampshades eventually accumulate dirt, dust, and animal hair debris, build-ups over time. And without periodic cleaning, the lampshade fabric quality deteriorates. Therefore, maintaining them is essential. You must know that some of the lampshades are even expensive than the lamps they are placed upon. But even the costliest lampshade is prone to dust, dirt, cobwebs, and other debris.

White and brown pleated lampshades

Hence, to protect the appeal of your house, you need to know how to clean a lampshade effectively. And this guide will help you with it! 

Method 1: Cleaning The Fabric Lampshades

  1. First, you need to turn off the lamp and let it cool down completely. 
  2. Touch it with more than one finger to see if the hotness is down. If yes, then remove the shade from the lamp set-up. 
  3. Use your vacuum cleaner or any soft brush to clean out the loose dust over the shades. 
  4. If not, you can also prefer to use a clean paintbrush or lint roller to clean the loose dust or dirt over the shades. Here, it would be best if you put vertical motions for sweeping the dust off. Continue the vertical movement from top to bottom. 
  5. Paintbrushes are ideal picks for the fabric shades that have pleats in them. 
  6. In case the fabric is glued, then you must consider immersing the lampshade in a cold water tub. Add some soap to the water, and swirl the lampshade while it is still in the tub. 
  7. Do not let the lampshade soak water, and take it out immediately once the additional dust or dirt is removed. 
  8. Rinse the lampshade thoroughly again under cold water. 
  9. Pat it well with a clean towel to dry it, and then use an air dryer for further drying. 
  10. If there are any stains over the fabric lampshade, you can brush them gently with a particular type of sponge available for dry-cleaning purposes. These types of sponges are also helpful for cleaning fabric blinds and wallpaper. Here is the link for you to get one of those sponges. 
  11. Now, you can take it back to the lamp base and fix it to revive the lost shine and appeal. 

Give this YouTube video a watch to get an idea of how you can approach these steps for cleaning your fabric lampshade. 

Method 2: Cleaning Parchment or Paper Lampshades

  1. The first step should be the same for cleaning any type of lampshade. Turn it off and let it cool down. 
  2. These lampshades are not apt for rinsing or immersing in water, so light dusting will help in the process. 
  3. Make use of a microfiber cloth or a soft brush for removing the dust. 
  4. If your paper or parchment lamp base has colorfast dye, then you can dampen the cloth with water lightly to remove the robust grime. 
  5. For cleaning the shades with a dry cloth approach, you will need some remedy to work on greasy stains. You can use crust-less bread, preferably white bread, against that stain spot. 
  6. Now, rotate the bread to clean the area, and you can dab it again until the stain is out. 
  7. Repeat the process for all of the other stains with fresh pieces of crust-less bread.  
  8. When clean, you are ready to light up the lamp again!

Method 3: Cleaning the Glass Lampshades

  1. Turn the lamp off and ensure that they are cool enough to handle while cleaning. 
  2. Glass lampshades give you the liberty to use a dishwasher over the top rack. 
  3. Remember not to crowd the dishwasher while you are cleaning the lampshades in it. And if you wish to know what other strange things that you can use to clean in a dishwasher, check out this link. 
  4. If you do not have a dishwasher, you can prefer using a tub with a cleaning mixture. 
  5. For preparing the mix, you will need warm water and soap solution for simple cleaning. 
  6. If there are greasy stains, then you might need to add vinegar to the solution. 
  7. Rinse the glass lampshade within the tub and then hand-dry it right away. Do not let the cleaning solution stay on the glass surface for long, as it might leave marks. 
  8. When dry, you can place it back over its lamp base. 

Method 4: Cleaning Fiberglass or Plastic Lamp Shades 

  1. Please turn off the lamp and let it cool down. 
  2. Take off the shade from the lamp base. 
  3. Hold it comfortable, and use a soft duster brush to dust the lampshade inside out. 
  4. You can also prefer using a damp microfiber cloth for the cleaning process. 
  5. After dusting, you can sink the shade in soapy and warm water. Swirl the shade and rinse it well. 
  6. If the lampshade is greasy, then you can add vinegar to the water for perfect cleaning
  7. You need to rinse the fiberglass well and then dry it out before attaching it back to the lamp base. 

Method 5: Cleaning the Silk Lampshades

  1. Please turn it off and let the lamp cool down to room temperature. 
  2. You can prefer using a feather duster to remove the loose dust from the surface of the lampshade. 
  3. Do not vacuum or use lint rollers over silk lampshades. It is because silk is a very sensitive fabric. And rollers & vacuum cleaners will evidently damage it. 
  4. It is preferable not to immerse your silk lampshade within a tub of water with oil-based solutions for cleaning it. It is because these solutions might cause the stains to be permanent over the shades. 
  5. Also, it is better to fill the tub with clean cold water, and dip the silk lampshade within it. 
  6. Swirl it properly to get rid of any hidden dust or debris.  
  7. Give light scrubs thoroughly on the stained areas with vinegar solution. If there are no stains, then possibly you won’t need to scrub the lampshade either. 
  8. Now, let the silk lampshade dry completely before you can place it back. 
A fabric lampshade with a printed design

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Use Bleach to Clean the Lampshades?

Irrespective of what type the lampshade is made up of, you should not clean it with bleaching solutions. As a matter of fact, bleach is too caustic for lampshades and especially for silk ones. Also, fiber lampshades should never be washed in bleach solutions, as it will disintegrate their quality. 

Do I Need to Remove the Plastic Wrap After Buying the Lampshades?

When you buy a lampshade, you need to remove the plastic wrap from it. It is used to protect the lampshade by not disorienting the shape. And if you haven’t removed it, then you will eventually ruin the lampshade.

In fact, the lamp’s heat will melt the wrap, and it will melt on the shade. Therefore, yes, you need to remove these plastic wraps after your buy the lampshades. This article here describes the ways to preserve a lampshade. Do give it a read for more information. 

Can I Make My Own Lampshade At Home?

Yes, you definitely can make your own lampshade at home. But you need to get the right materials and must have the proper knowledge to approach them. Also, you have to decide upon the inner line material, outer fabric, bulb & socket, and many other things to build your mesmerizing lampshade. If you intend to do it, then redirect to this link to learn steps for the same. 


If you have plans to decorate your home or office space with a lamp, go ahead with it. But the major point of concern is the cleaning hassle, which is now addressed in this article. So, go out and pick the right lampshade for illuminating your home or office space.

Apart from the silk material, you can use a lint roller for any type of lamp base to regularly clean the dust and dirt from it. Moreover, a lint roller is convenient to use and eradicate even the minute and fine-grain dust particles. 

Allen Michael is the Founder and Editor of Home Viable, a website that he started to provide readers with tips on home efficiency and automation. He draws on his engineering background combined with his family-of-four experiences for his articles.