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Give Lamps and Lampshades a Deep Clean

March 4, 2024

Give Lamps and Lampshades a Deep Clean

I absolutely love having lamps in my home to provide extra lighting and enhance my decor. However, lamps and lampshades easily accumulate dust and dirt over time. Giving them a deep clean every so often keeps them looking their best. Here’s my guide to thoroughly cleaning lamps and lampshades.

Gather Your Supplies

Before getting started, I make sure I have all the necessary supplies on hand. Here’s what I use for cleaning lamps and lampshades:

  • Lint roller – Great for gently removing surface dust and debris from lampshades. I keep multiple rollers with fresh sticky sheets handy.

  • Vacuum with brush attachment – I use the brush attachment to vacuum all crevices and details. The brush helps loosen debris.

  • Microfiber cloths – I use these lint-free cloths dampened with cleaning solution to wipe down surfaces. I have a stack ready.

  • Mild soap solution – My go-to is a few drops of gentle dish soap diluted in warm water. Avoid harsh chemicals.

  • Toothbrush or other small brush – For scrubbing in crevices and small areas. An old toothbrush works perfectly.

  • Cotton swabs – To access tiny spaces and details. I always keep a big bag on hand.

  • Glass cleaner – For use on any glass elements after dust is removed. I spray it directly on the microfiber cloth.

Assess the Lamps and Lampshades

Before cleaning, I take a close look at each lamp and lampshade to assess what needs to be cleaned and how delicate it is. This prevents damage.

I look for:

  • Material – Glass, ceramic, fabric? I take extra care with more delicate materials.

  • Ornate details – Intricate carved patterns and other details require gentle cleaning.

  • Stability – Freestanding lamps require a stable base so they don’t tip over while cleaning.

  • Shade attachments – I note how lampshades are attached before removing them for cleaning.

This quick assessment allows me to plan my approach accordingly.

Remove Lampshades

If possible, I remove the lampshade completely to allow for easier cleaning access.

To remove a lampshade safely:

  • Support the weight of the lampshade with one hand while detaching any hardware with the other hand.

  • Make note of how the shade attaches – is there a harp, finial, or clip system?

  • Carefully detach any adornments like finials before fully removing the shade.

  • Never yank or pull forcefully as that can damage delicate materials.

  • Set shades aside in a safe place while cleaning the base.

Clean Lamp Bases

With the shades removed, I can now thoroughly clean each lamp base.

My process is:

  1. Vacuum – I use the vacuum crevice tool and brush attachment to remove loose surface debris. This prevents particles from scratching during wiping.

  2. Wipe with microfiber cloth – I dampen the cloth with my mild soap solution and carefully wipe down the entire base, including details and crevices. For glass bases, I switch to a cloth with glass cleaner.

  3. Scrub with toothbrush – For any ornate details and hard to reach areas, I use a toothbrush dipped in cleaning solution. This dislodges grime.

  4. Polish with dry cloth – I give metal elements like brass a shine by buffing gently with a dry microfiber cloth.

  5. Clean hardware – Lamp hardware like the harp, socket cover and finial get cleaned with a swab and solution.

I take care around wiring, sockets and bulbs to prevent electrical issues. Thorough cleaning makes the bases look refreshed.

Clean Lampshades

Cleaning lampshades requires a very gentle touch. Here is my process:

Fabric Shades

  1. Vacuum – I lightly vacuum fabric shades first to remove any surface dust and debris. This prevents them from grinding into the fabric during wiping.

  2. Spot clean – For any visible stains or dirt marks, I spot clean by gently dabbing with a damp soapy microfiber cloth.

  3. Lint roll – Holding the shade securely, I gently roll a lint roller over the fabric. This picks up any remaining dust or pet hair.

  4. Let dry – I let the shade fully dry before replacing bulbs and reattaching to the lamp base.

Glass or Ceramic Shades

For these delicate materials, I take extra care:

  1. Dust – I use a dry microfiber cloth to dust the surface first. If needed, I use a damp cloth with solution to tackle dirt buildup.

  2. Clean with glass cleaner – Once dust is removed, I spray the glass cleaner directly onto a clean cloth to wipe down the shade.

  3. Dry and polish – Drying the shade fully prevents streaks. I give it a final polish with a dry cloth.

  4. Handle carefully – These heavy, fragile shades require two hands and gentle movement while cleaning. Rushing can lead to disastrous results.

Metal Shades

  1. Vacuum – Loose dust is best removed first with the vacuum brush attachment before wiping metal shades down.

  2. Wipe – Using minimal moisture, I wipe down metal shades with a microfiber cloth and mild soap solution. Too much moisture can damage the finish.

  3. Scrub details – For textured details, I gently scrub with a toothbrush and solution. A swab tackles crevices.

  4. Dry and polish – I ensure metal shades are dried fully before giving them a final shine with a dry cloth.

Reattach Lampshades and Bulbs

With cleaned lamp bases and shades ready, I reassemble each lamp:

  • Replace lightbulbs that were removed for cleaning. I discard and replace any bulbs that are cracked or damaged.

  • Carefully slide each shade back onto its base and reattach any hardware like finials and harp caps. I take care not to overtighten anything.

  • For clip-on shades, I gently squeeze the spring clip and slide back onto the lamp rod.

  • Balance and stability are important for freestanding lamps. I carefully ensure the base remains steady.

And that’s it – my lamps and lampshades are sparkling clean and ready to keep lighting up my home beautifully! A deep clean restores them to their former glory.

Top Lamp and Lampshade Cleaning Tips

Over the years, I’ve picked up some useful tips for effective, safe cleaning:

  • Always turn off and fully unplug lamps before cleaning.

  • Handle delicate materials like fabric, glass, and ceramic very gently.

  • Feather dusters easily scratch surfaces – microfiber cloths are a better dusting option.

  • Check that lamp wiring and sockets are dry before reconnecting bulbs.

  • A shake of powdered cleaner like Borax can be used on fabric shades – vacuum thoroughly after.

  • Harp clips and other metal elements can be soaked to loosen grime – dry fully after cleaning.

  • Spot test cleaners on an inconspicuous area first to check for any damage or discoloration.

  • Avoid overly wetting lamp elements and ensure everything is fully dry before reassembly.

Thorough cleaning keeps lamps brightening up your home for years to come! With the right methods and care, dusty lamps and lampshades get a new lease on life.

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