how to clean lamp shades

How to Clean Lamp shades of Different Kinds

soft subtle brightness. Unfortunately, a dirty lampshade fails in both regards. It makes the house dull and boring by ruining the softness and distribution of light.

You can avoid such a situation by developing a routine of dusting or vacuuming your lampshades regularly, and giving them a thorough wash once in a while.

How to Clean Lamp shades

Cleaning a lampshade depends on there basic factors

  • Material: Lampshades are made in all sorts of materials and fabrics. Examples include glass, crystal, paper, mica, wood, bamboo and metallic material. There is no a standard cleaning method that applies to all materials since each has a unique way of responding to cleaning supplies.
  • Design: While some lampshades feature designs that are simply obvious, others are characterized by delicate crevices and edges that require extra care during handling and cleaning.
  • Dirt: The time and effort invested in cleaning a lampshade depends on the level of dirt. A few basic steps might be enough for some while others might call for assistance from a professional.

Below are step by step guidelines on how to clean lampshades depending on all of these factors.

How to clean Fabric Lampshades

how to clean a lamp shade

Fabric lampshades are made from materials such as silk, cotton, linen and polyester.  Other than silk, most of them are easy to clean and do not require any specialized supplies.

Tools and Supplies

  • Sticky tape lint roller/ a vacuum with an upholstery attachment
  • Liquid detergent
  • Toothbrush (optional)
  • Wash basin/ tab/ bucket
  • Soft Brush
  • Microfiber or non-abrasive cloth


Step 1: Separate the shade from the lamp and check whether it has other detachable accessories that require special care.

Step 2: Use a lint roller or a vacuum with an upholstery brush to remove dust particles.

Step 3: Pretreat stained areas with liquid detergent. Use a finger or a toothbrush to accomplish this step. Use baking soda or oxygen bleach to clear stains that cannot respond to liquid detergent.

Step 4: Submerge the shade in a basin/ tab/ bucket filled with warm soapy water and let it soak for 15 minutes. Avoid this step if your shade has sensitive areas that are glued together. Instead, use a wet microfiber or lint free white cloth to dab stains and rub all the dirty areas until the entire shade is completely clean.

Step 5: Use a soft brush or non-abrasive material to clean the shade.

Step 6: Rinse the shade in clean water until the detergent clears.

Step 7: Place on a hanging rack to air or sun dry.

How to Clean a Silk Lamp shade

Silk lampshades are beautiful but also among the most difficult to clean. The material is highly sensitive and can easily get damaged by some of the ordinary cleaning measures. Ideally, the best solution is to seek professional help but here are some simple steps to follow for home cleaning.

Tools and Supplies

  • A pair of gloves
  • A feather duster
  • A microfiber or lint free cloth


Step 1: Clean your hands with soapy water before separating the shade from the lamp to avoid staining the material with oil or any other residue that might be in your hands. Alternatively, wear gloves.

Step 2: Remove the shade from the lamp

Step 3: Use a feather duster to remove dust particles.

Step 4: Use a clean microfiber cloth to clear out any dirt residue.

Cleaning Paper and Parchment Lampshades

The key to cleaning paper and parchment lampshades is avoiding water. If these materials come into contact with moisture, the next stop will be your dustbin.

Tools and Supplies

  • A pair of gloves
  • A microfiber or lint free cloth
  • Hair dryer
  • A piece of white bread


Step 1: Just like with silk lampshades, ensure your hands are free from dirt, oil or simply, put on a pair of gloves.

Step 2: Remove the shade from the lamp.

Step 3: Use a microfiber or lint free cloth to wipe of dust on the inner and outer surfaces of the shade.

Step 4: Use a hairdryer to blow-off dust from crevices and hard to clean areas.

Step 5: Cut out the crust from a piece of white bread and press the white part on stained and hard to clean areas.  

Step 6: Attach the shade back to the lamp.

Cleaning Glass and Plastic lampshades

how to clean lamp shades

Since plastic and glass are water and detergent friendly, lampshades made of these materials are easy to clean. Below is a step by step guide that should give you good results.

Tools and Supplies

  • Mild detergent
  • Wash basin
  • Non-abrasive sponge
  • Microfiber cloth
  • Distilled white vinegar
  • Glass cleaner (Optional)


Step 1: Clean, dry your hands and separate the shade from the lamp.

Step 2: Use a microfiber cloth to wipe dust from the shade.

Step 3: Mix water and mild detergent in a wash basin and use your hands to cycle so that sudsy can form.

Step 4: Submerge the shade in the solution and clean gently with a non-abrasive sponge. Avoid this step if your shade has areas that are attached together with materials that can be damaged by water. Instead, dip the sponge in water, wring it and clean out the dirt gently.

Step 5: Make a water and vinegar solution in the ratio of 1:1 and use a microfiber cloth to apply it on the stained areas. Rub the solution with a cloth so that it can be absorbed into the stain. Set the shade aside and allow the solution to act on the stains for at least 5 minutes before proceeding to the next step.

Step 6: Drain the soapy water and add clean water for rinsing.

Step 7: Rinse out the detergent and use a microfiber cloth to wipe dry.

You do not have to go through this lengthy process with a glass shade with you have a gentle glass cleaner in the house. Simply use as instructed and your shade will be as good as new.

How to Clean Pleated Lampshades

In most cases, how a pleated lampshade is cleaned depends on the material and the manner in which the pleats are held together. Warm water and detergent can be a go to option if your shade is made of high quality fabric. However, avoid submerging the shade in water if glue has been used on any part of the design.

A lint roller and a vacuum with an upholstery brush can also be used to remove dust from such shades. Delicate materials should be dusted and wiped with a microfiber cloth to remove excess dirt.

Do you have more tips on how to clean lamp shades? Kindly share with our readers in the comment section.

Leave a Reply