Shapiro is a fan of electric dusters. An alternative to canned air, a plug-in duster provides a steady stream of powerful air that can easily blast dust out of nooks and crannies. This makes it an ideal choice for pleated lampshades and for those with embellishments like tassels or a beaded design. If you’re not ready to invest in an electric duster just yet, a microfiber cloth, a vacuum cleaner (with a soft brush attachment), and a feather duster will all work well according to experts. Be sure that you’re cleaning lampshades gently, so you don’t risk denting or otherwise compromising the shade.
For stubborn dust, Shapiro likes a rubber shade sponge, made specifically for cleaning lampshades. Likewise, a lampshade cleaning brush (or a new paint brush, if you have one in your DIY caddy) will also work in a pinch.
If cleaning lampshades is something that you need to do quickly, say before company arrives, skip the lint roller—tempting as it may be to run it on the surface. Using one can easily dent the shade. Shapiro suggest using a microfiber duster, a can of air, or even a hair dryer instead.
Can you wash fabric lamp shades?
Yes, many fabric shades can be given a deep clean, but keep in mind you need to have a gentle hand. For fabric lampshades (including linen or silk lampshades), Lisa Simkin of Blanche Field—which has handcrafted shades for the likes of Chanel, Bergdorf Goodman, and Peter Marino—suggests the following:
Use a feather duster, microfiber cloth, or vacuum cleaner to remove dust and dirt.
Mix a teaspoon of very gentle laundry detergent, dish soap, or Ivory soap with clean water in a tub or sink. Holding the shade by its metal frame, submerge it in the soapy water (“like washing a baby!” Simkin says).
Rinse the shade gently with warm water and place it on a flat surface to air dry.
How do you clean a dirty white lampshade?
For any noticeable stains that remain, Simkin suggests a dry cleaning stick (like Janie) to spot-clean. Steer clear of bleach, glass cleaner, and other harsh cleaning products because they can leave streaks. They may dry out the lamp shade or leave residue behind.
A dirty white shade stained with spots or yellow discoloration may benefit from a cleaning solution of one tablespoon of baking soda and a dash of warm water. Leave the paste-like formula to soak for up to 15 minutes. Rinse with clean water and air dry. (Be careful, do not use this method if the shade has any glue or paper.) For a paper shade, Simkin and Shapiro both recommend reaching for an old-fashioned gum eraser to gently rub out any spots.