How to dust lampshades

Keep your lampshades dust-free and looking fabulous, with our expert guide…

Whatever the material – from rich velvets and silks to linen, parchment or glass – a beautiful lampshade completes the look and sets the tone of a space. Unfortunately, lampshades also tend to be rather good at attracting dust.To keep them looking gorgeous and working well, you’ll need to do a bit of maintenance from time to time. Here are some tips from the Pooky lighting experts...

How often should you dust your lampshades?

Lampshades are often overlooked when it comes to regular cleaning, but a build-up of dust can really spoil the look and the performance of your lighting. Giving your lampshades a regular dust will help to stop dirt from accumulating and avoid yellowing or tarnishing. We recommend dusting your lampshades every 1-2 weeks as part of your regular cleaning routine, and removing them for a deeper clean at least once a year.

Shibori linen lampshade

What should you use to dust a lampshade?

There are a number of different things you can use to dust a lampshade, depending on what it's made from. Your lampshade dusting kit should include some or all of the following:
  • Feather duster
  • Microfibre cloths
  • A soft clothes brush
  • Lint roller or masking tape
  • Vacuum cleaner with upholstery attachment
  • A hairdryer
  • Screwdriver or pliers (for undoing any fixings)
  • White cotton gloves, to protect your lampshade from fingerprints

Giving lampshades a routine dust

To help stop dust from accumulating on your lampshades, you should give them a maintenance dust every week or two. For routine dusting, you can keep your lampshade in place. As with cleaning any kind of lighting, before you begin always make sure the power supply is turned off and that the bulb and shade have fully cooled down. To dust high lampshades safely, place your chair or stepladder on a flat, stable surface and make sure you can reach each part of the shade comfortably and without overstretching.

Removing your lampshades for dusting

If your lampshade has a large build-up of dust, it will require a more thorough clean. We recommend giving your lampshade a deeper clean once or twice a year. To do this, you will need to remove the lampshade. Support the shade and gently remove it from its fixings — you may need a screwdriver or pliers for this.

Using a hairdryer to remove dust from a lampshade

If your lampshade is very dusty, you will need to start by removing the excess. You can do this using a hairdryer on the cool setting. Holding the dryer 8-10 inches away, blast cool air across the inside and outside of the shade. You can also use the hairdryer on any trims and fringes, to help remove pesky surface dust, dirt and hair.

Using a vacuum cleaner to dust a lampshade

Alternatively, you can gently loosen and clean off built-up surface dust using the upholstery brush attachment on a vacuum cleaner on a low setting. Carefully work your way around the shade, pulling the vacuum attachment down across the lampshade with gentle vertical movements from top to bottom. For gathered lampshades, vacuum along and down the pleats. (For any stubborn dust, you can use a paintbrush or make-up brush — gently sweep the brush along the length of each fold, running from the top to the bottom). Avoid using a vacuum on any delicate fabrics, or on any loose areas such as decorative fringes — for added protection, you can place a stocking over the end of the attachment.

Marbled paper shade

Dusting fabric lampshades

If you've ever tried to dust a fabric lampshade with a regular dusting cloth, you've probably already discovered that it just seems to attract more dust! Sticky lint rollers are a great alternative for dusting fabric lampshades. Starting at the top, gently pull the roller across and down the lampshade to pick up the dust and grime. Change the lint strips as needed. Alternatively, you can use strips of masking tape — place them onto the lampshade, taking care not to press too hard, and gently peel them off, taking the dust with them. For more stubborn areas of dust, you can use a soft clothes brush. Brush the shade vertically from top to bottom, with a firm but gentle movement. (Note that for silks or other delicate materials, we recommend consulting a professional cleaner.)

Dusting paper and parchment lampshades

Paper and parchment lampshades require a bit of extra care. It's a good idea to wear a pair of gloves when handling them, particularly with parchment shades, to avoid causing any staining from the natural oils on your hands. Dust the lampshades gently with a feather duster or a dry microfibre cloth. For more ingrained dust, you may be able to use a lightly dampened cloth, but make sure the lampshade is colourfast — always check the care instructions. Tip: Did you know, you can remove dust and greasy marks from parchment shades using a piece of white bread! Simply wipe the bread across the shade, and dab it against any offending greasy spots.

Aquila glass shade

Dusting ceramic, plastic and glass lampshades

Lampshades made from materials such as ceramic, plastic and glass are fairly easy to dust and less delicate than fabric or paper shades. Using a feather duster or a dry microfibre cloth, gently wipe around the lampshade in sections, using a sweeping movement from top to bottom. If your lampshade has any areas of ingrained dust, carefully remove the shade from the fitting. Lightly dampen a microfibre cloth with a mild detergent solution and gently wipe the shade inside and out. Dry the shade with a separate clean, dry microfibre cloth, to avoid streaks.

Super Stanley in gunmetal and copper

Dusting metal lampshades

When it comes to dusting metal lampshades, less is more. We recommend lightly dusting your metal lampshade with a soft microfibre cloth. Avoid using any chemical products, as this can damage the finish. For any stubborn spots, a lightly dampened cloth should do the trick.

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