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How to clean a lampshade properly


Warmly lit floor lamp in living room

Whether it's on the ceiling or placed on a table in the room, sooner or later dirt will begin to show on your lampshade. How annoying! But with the right tips, you’ll find that lampshade cleaning is really simple. No matter whether it's made of fabric, glass, or metal - we'll show you how to clean any lampshade without too much effort.

Cleaning lampshades - tips!

Nowadays, candles are mostly used for creating romantic lighting – today’s light sources, on the other hand, run on electricity. So, before you clean your lampshades, be aware if you wet-clean them, there's always a risk of electrocution. This is the case whether you're removing dirt from the ceiling lamp or the floor lamp in the corner of the living room. If the lamp is hanging from the ceiling, don’t just simply climb onto the table to reach it - make sure you have a safe footing while cleaning. Here are a few tips to keep you safe when you clean your lampshade:

  • Switch off the light before you start cleaning - even if you’re dry cleaning.
  • If you want to be as safe as possible when you clean a lampshade that's attached to a permanently mounted light on the wall or ceiling, you can remove the fuse beforehand.
  • If the lamp is on the ceiling or is quite high up on the wall, use a ladder, but make sure that it is not wobbly before you ascend as you don't want to hurt yourself.
  • If you have to reach upwards to clean the lampshade, you'll need a ladder with enough room for your feet and a shelf for your cleaning supplies. Tell other people in the household what you're doing so that no-one opens the door unexpectedly and knocks you off the ladder.
  • If you remove the light bulbs to clean the lampshade, never clean them with a damp cloth - only a dry cloth. Do not clean LEDs or halogen lamps at all, as you could damage the small bulbs.
  • Before you put the bulbs back in, make sure that everything is completely dry and do not switch the lamp back on immediately after lampshade cleaning.
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Cleaning glass, plastic, or metal lampshades tips

If you clean your lampshades regularly, this will also help to prevent dust in the home. It is easiest to clean lampshades made of glass, plastic, or metal. With lamps made of these materials, you can often get rid of accumulated dust with a feather duster or a suitable cleaning cloth. 

When it comes to lamps in the kitchen or in rooms where people smoke, the situation is a little bit different. Stubborn dirt quickly accumulates here, and a short, dry wipe is not enough. If possible, take the lampshade off to clean it as this makes it easier to clean. There are several ways to clean a very dirty lampshade:

  • Place the lampshade in the bath or shower tray and clean it with a brush in a solution of warm water and a little washing up liquid or curd soap. Then rinse the lampshade with lukewarm water. Finish off by wiping it with a dry cloth to avoid water stains. Done!
  • Glass lampshades can be easily cleaned with a glass cleaner. Make sure to follow the instructions properly, use a suitable cloth, and don't forget to polish at the end to avoid streaks.
  • If you want to clean a plastic lampshade that's covered with decorations, be sure to use a mild cleaner, and test the colour fastness beforehand. Aggressive ingredients may remove paint or glue and cause the decorative parts to fall off.
  • Is your lampshade made of metal? To clean it, use a damp cloth with warm water and a little washing up liquid. Vinegar also works according to some sources, polish the lampshade to make it sparkle once again.

Cleaning fabric or paper lampshades

For lampshades made of papier-mâché, you have only one option for cleaning: Dusting. The same applies to lampshades made of paper. However, when it comes to fabric lampshades, you can clean them wet or dry. Here are some tips for fabric lampshade cleaning: 

  • You can remove dust quickly and easily with a vacuum cleaner. Use the lowest setting and the upholstery brush as an attachment.
  • Smaller stains on your lampshade can be easily cleaned with a dry, lint-free cloth or a lint roller. But don't use a lint brush because it roughens the fabric.
  • Remove a dirty fabric lampshade to be able to clean it. Wet it with lukewarm water in the bathtub or shower tray. Then use a sponge or soft brush to massage a mild detergent, evenly into the fabric (be sure to check once again for colour fastness first!). Then rinse the fabric thoroughly with lukewarm water. Now simply let the lampshade dry slowly, preferably in a shady place. Make sure you don't use a hairdryer, place it on the radiator, or leave it out in the blazing sun to dry faster as this could ruin the lampshade.

And one final tip: We don’t recommend using lampshades made of fabric or paper in the kitchen. This is because food splashes and odours are inevitable, so you’ll end up having to clean the lampshade quite often. Glass or plastic lampshades are the better choice as they’re easier to clean. Speaking of the kitchen, we have a few articles that might come in useful, such as: how to clean a toaster, tips on fridge cleaning and granite worktop cleaning made easy.