How to Clean a Lampshade

By the time you notice that you need to clean your lampshade, it’s full of dust. Here’s how to clean a lampshade to bring it back to new.

While lampshades aren’t subject to spills and stains like furniture is, they can accumulate dust, dirt, and pet hair over time. The best ways to wash your lampshade involve dry cleaning methods.

How to Clean a Lampshade with a Dry Sponge (Safe for All Materials)

How to Clean a Lampshade

The safest way to clean a lampshade is with a dry cleaning sponge. These sponges remove dirt, smoke, dust, and pet hair without water.

You can find a dry cleaning sponge or lampshade cleaning sponge at any home improvement store, Amazon, or Walmart.

Here’s how to use it:

  • Turn off the light and remove the lampshade.
  • Wipe the lampshade with the sponge using gentle, even pressure.
  • Put the lampshade back in place.

Other Ways to Clean a Lampshade

If you don’t have a dry cleaning sponge and need to clean your lamps now, there are other effective methods. To avoid damaging or discoloring your lampshade, don’t submerge it in water, and don’t use chemical cleaners on it.

Here’s what to try.


Clean your lampshade by removing it from the fixture and using a soft brush attachment to remove dirt. Also, use this method for hard-to-reach or hard-to-remove lampshades.

Lint Roller

A lint roller can remove dirt, dust, and pet hair build-up. Roll the sticky side against the lampshade, switching to a new sheet when it becomes full of dust. Avoid using too much pressure.

Pressurized Air

If you have air duster (a can of pressurized air), spray dust off the lampshade. A can of pressurized air is one of the best cleaners for lampshades with pleats or grooves.

Dry Microfiber Cloth

For smooth shades, wipe clean with a dry microfiber cloth. You can also vacuum and then wipe for extra cleaning power. Microfiber cloths are one of the best methods for cleaning silk lampshades.

How to Clean Yellowing Lampshades

You should only submerge your lampshades in water if you’re in a last-ditch effort to save them. 

You can use this method to try and whiten your yellow lampshades. Just be aware that depending on the thickness, fabric, and age of your shade, using water and cleaner can cause damage or discoloration.

(Water will ruin silk, paper, and fiberglass shades. Use this method only for other fabrics or yellowing plastic shades.)

Before you start, remove the lampshade from the fixture and use a vacuum or dry sponge to remove all dust.

  • Fill a sink or bucket with warm water and a tablespoon of laundry detergent. Swirl the mixture with a wooden spoon.
  • Allow the lampshade to soak for 15 minutes.
  • Use a soft bristle brush and gentle motion to scrub off the remaining stains.
  • Rinse well.
  • Dry before putting back in place.

If your lampshade still looks yellow after this process, consider replacing it.

When to Clean Your Lampshades

Take a couple of minutes to dust your lampshades when deep cleaning. Dusting at least once per month will reduce dirt build-up and help to prevent the shade from discoloring.