How To Clean Fabric Lampshades

Lampshades are often neglected as part of our weekly cleaning, and quickly gather a layer of dust and dirt. Fabric lampshades come in a variety of styles. Some are glued onto plastic bases; others are stitched onto wire frames. Be cautious of any ornaments and trims as they will need to be removed or carefully cleaned around so they are not damaged. Follow the guidelines below to safely clean your fabric lampshade and restore its original beauty.

You Will Need:

  • Soft bristled brush
  • Vacuum with brush attachment (optional)
  • Hairdryer
  • Soft cloth
  • Mild detergent (optional)

Steps to Clean the Lampshade:

  1. Start by unplugging the lamp.
  2. Use a soft bristled brush, such as a large artist’s brush to remove the dust from the surface. Work in 4-5 inch sections starting at the top and working your way to the bottom.
  3. Use a long sweeping motion to remove the dust, rotate the shade and repeat on the next section.
  4. If the lampshade is large and the fabric can tolerate the suction from the vacuum. It may be quicker to place the brush attachment on the vacuum and use that to dust from the top to the bottom.
  5. Use the hairdryer on the cool setting to remove dust from any trimmings and fringe.
  6. Moisten a soft cloth with water and wipe down the plastic interior of the lampshade.
  7. Typically, water is sufficient to clean the plastic base. However, if there is excessive dust, mix in a couple drops of mild detergent with the water and use the mixture to clean any dirt build-up.
  8. Do not use water on the fabric part, unless it  is stitched onto the frame. If it is glued on, it cannot be submersed in water because it will break the glue bond.
  9. If the fabric frame has been stitched and  there is no concern of it falling apart, it can be washed by dipping it  into a container filled with water and a mild detergent.
  10. Rinse in a container of clean water until all soap is removed.
  11. Hang the shade and allow it to air dry completely.
  12. Use a clean soft cloth to remove any dust from the light bulb (ensure it has cooled down completely), wire frame and stand.
  13. Reassemble the lamp and enjoy its beauty once again.

Additional Tips and Ideas

  • Cleaning your lampshade regularly will be much easier than having to clean away a lot of build-up at once.
  • Do not submerse any lampshades that are glued or taped to the base in water.
  • If your lampshade is pleated, use caution not to create any dents in the pleats as you are cleaning.


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