Spring Cleaning Challenge Day 7: Cleaning Different Types of Lampshades


  When was the last time you cleaned your lampshades?
Come on, you can tell me. 🙂

Have you been hesitant to clean them because you didn’t have a clue what to do?
You are not alone! 
I believe lampshades are one of the hardest things to clean 
without proper knowledge.

So, let me help you discover great methods to cleaning common types of lampshades.


There are basically four different types of lampshades; fabric covered or stitched shades, paper shades or those with glue, parchment shades and plastic shades. 
Some are washable and some are not.

I will tell you how to clean each type separately, that way you can easily hop down
the list until you find your type of shade.

The best supplies you will need for cleaning lampshades are:

  • clean paint brush or a soft dry cloth
  • can of compressed air (for pleated shades)
  • sink or tub large enough to submerge the lampshade
  • dish washing detergent
  • adhesive lint roller
  • vacuum (with dusting/upholstery tool)
  • whisk or egg beater
First step for all shades
use paint brush or cloth to wipe or brush off the outside and inside of the lampshade. 

Bonus Tip: If your shade is pleated, starting at the top of your shade, spray can air running the nozzle in between each pleat for the entire length of the pleat (top to bottom)

The best method for cleaning fabric covered or stitched shades are:

  • fill sink or tub with warm water, add dish washing detergent
  • soak the lamp shade in the soapy water
  • use suds on a soft cloth to gently rub out any soiled spots
  • swish the shade around in the water to remove all the grime
  • when the water gets too dirty, empty it out and refill
  • repeat until the water remains mostly clear
  • shade may appear to sag and stretch, don’t worry–most will return to their original shape when dry
  • air-dry shade by hanging in the shower or outside 
  • if you removed the fabric from the frame, be sure to reattach before the fabric is completely dry
  • Bonus tip: to help speed up the drying/reshaping process, place the shade back on the lamp and turn the lamp on…let the heat from the bulb be your dryer~
If your fabric shade is not very dirty/dusty you may want to try this simple trick:
Grab your shade in one hand and your adhesive lint roller in the other.
Gently pass the roller over the exterior of the shade to collect dust.
The best method for cleaning paper shades or those with glue, and
parchment shades are:
  • these types of shades can not get too wet without adverse consequences
  • best method is to vacuum frequently (using dusting/upholstery tool)
  • Bonus tip: if your shade has had anything delicate dangling from it, simply slip a piece of hosiery over the end of the vacuum (dirt gone, pretties stay!)
  • if you have stains: use 1/4 cup of clean, warm water mixed with some mild detergent
  • whisk the detergent to create “dry” soapsuds (should look like whipped cream)
  • use a dry cloth to apply a bit of dry suds, working with small sections at a time
  • Tip: be careful to not rub the binding area too hard or get it too wet, this could cause the glue to loosen
  • rinse the suds off with a clean, damp cloth
  • wipe dry
 The best method for cleaning plastic shades are:

  • wash in warm water with mild detergent
  • dry them with soft cloth
  • Bonus Tip: spray a little bit of furniture polish on a dry cloth and apply to shade to help replace shine

 If you try these cleaning tips,
your lampshades will not only be cleaner but you will be all the wiser!

 Do you have any tips for cleaning the lampshades in your home?
I would love to hear them!

April Spring Cleaning Challenge

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