Love the pleated effect of a gathered fabric lampshade? Here’s how to keep them looking clean and fabulous all year round, with top tips from the Pooky lighting experts...Gathered or pleated lampshades come in a range of different fabrics and styles, from classic cottons and soft silks for a more traditional feel, to contemporary ikat patterns and bold block prints. But whatever the style or material, it’s important to keep your pleated fabric lampshades looking their best with a bit of regular TLC.
How often should you clean a gathered or pleated fabric lampshade?To help keep on top of everyday dust and dirt, we recommend giving gathered or pleated fabric lampshades a regular dust every 1-2 weeks with a microfibre cloth or a soft brush. Meanwhile, for more ingrained grime and build-up you should carry out a deeper clean at least once a year.
What should you use to clean a gathered or pleated fabric lampshade?To clean your gathered fabric lampshade, you will need some or all of the following:
- Clean microfibre cloths
- A soft clothes brush
- A clean paintbrush or make-up brush
- Vacuum cleaner with upholstery attachment
- Delicate fabric cleaner
- A bowl of clean, lukewarm water
- White cotton gloves (to avoid leaving fingerprints)
- A clean towel or sheet
Giving gathered fabric lampshades a regular cleanThe best approach to keeping your pleated fabric lampshades clean is to dust them regularly. Giving them a light clean once every week or two will help stop dust and dirt from accumulating on your lampshades, and will maximise the time between deeper cleans. Remember to always switch off the power source and allow the bulb and lampshade to cool before you begin. Make sure the lampshade is easily accessible, and if you're using a chair or stepladder ensure it’s placed on a flat, stable surface.
Removing surface dust from a pleated or gathered fabric lampshadeFor routine cleaning, you can use a microfibre cloth to remove surface dust and dirt from your pleated fabric lampshade. Take a clean, dry cloth and carefully work around the lampshade, wiping vertically along the length of each pleat from the top to the bottom. Do this as part of your normal cleaning routine, to help keep on top of dust and dirt. Meanwhile, if your lampshade has more stubborn or ingrained dirt, you can use a soft clothes brush to help loosen and remove it. Gently run the brush along and down each pleat, taking care not to press too hard.
Using a vacuum attachment to clean a gathered fabric lampshadeWhere there is a heavier build-up, you can use the upholstery attachment of a vacuum cleaner to dust your pleated fabric lampshade. Lightly brush the vacuum attachment along and down each pleat. It's important to take extra care when using a vacuum, to avoid damaging the pleats. Make sure you use a low power setting and be careful with any trimmings, and avoid using it on any delicate fabrics.
Removing dust from between the pleats or foldsYou can use a clean paintbrush or make-up brush to access those tricky, harder to reach areas between the pleats and folds. It's important to go gently, to avoid damaging the pleats. Starting at the top, gently draw the brush downwards along the length of each fold, to remove any accumulated dust and dirt.
Giving a gathered fabric lampshade a more in-depth cleanA build-up of dust and grime can significantly affect the look and performance of your pleated fabric lampshade. While regular cleaning will help to keep the dust and cobwebs at bay, it's important to give your lampshade a more in-depth clean from time to time, to remove any stains or accumulated dust and keep it looking its beautiful best. The best way to clean your pleated fabric lampshade will depend on the nature of the fabric, and how the shade is attached to the frame. For delicate fabrics such as silk, or for lampshades that are glued rather than stitched on, it’s best to do a lighter spot clean rather than fully immersing the shade in water.
Spot cleaning a gathered or pleated fabric lampshadeIf a lampshade has light dirt marks, or is not suitable for a deep clean, you can carry out a lighter spot clean:
- First, carefully remove the lampshade from its fitting
- Remove any excess dust and dirt from the inside and outside of the lampshade using a dry microfibre cloth
- Dip a clean microfibre cloth in some mild fabric detergent solution and wring it out until just damp
- Apply the solution to the lampshade, paying particular attention to any problem areas and taking care not to rub or press too hard
- Now gently work your way around the remainder of the lampshade, running along each pleat from the top to the bottom with the dampened cloth – this will help to avoid any watermarks (or obvious ‘clean’ spots!)
- Finally, wipe down the bulb, stand and frame
Deep cleaning a gathered or pleated fabric lampshadeIf your lampshade is very dirty or has tougher stains, and is made from a robust, washable fabric, you can carry out a more thorough clean:
- Carefully remove the lampshade from its fittings, and remove the plastic shade reducer ring if it has one
- Remove any delicate trimmings
- Use a microfibre cloth to remove excess dust from the inside and outside of the lampshade
- Fill a bowl or sink with a lukewarm fabric detergent solution and immerse the lampshade
- If the lampshade is very soiled, allow it to soak for a few minutes
- Wipe around the lampshade with a clean microfibre cloth, working gently but firmly along the length of each pleat
- For more stubborn areas, you can use a soft bristled brush, but take care not to pull or rub to avoid damaging the fabric or making the pleats lose their shape
- Use a paintbrush or make-up brush to reach into the folds between the pleats
- Change the water as needed
- Refill the bowl or sink with clean water gently dip the lampshade into the water several times, to rinse off any residues (NB this step is not advised for delicate fabrics like silk, or for lampshades that are glued rather than stitched on)
- Place the lampshade on a clean dry towel or sheet to air dry
- Finally, wipe over the bulb, frame and fittings with a dry microfibre cloth