30 May 2009

I'm cleaning my light fixtures today

Oh joy. I like cleaning lampshades almost as much as I like cleaning ceiling fans. To commemorate this happy occasion, I found an image of a lampshade that right out of my nightmares.


Don't look at it for too long, it's hideous I know.

Cleaning lampshades and light fixtures properly can be a daunting task, but if you take your time and think it through, it can be painless and relatively quick. My pals at the Lighting Style Blog put together a couple of pointers on how to clean various fixtures. Their post this week is what prompted me to tackle mine today.

Glass Shades

  • Regularly dust with a soft lint-free cloth or dusting wand.
  • Occasionally, remove the shades from their fittings and wipe both the inside and outside with a damp cloth. If you are at all concerned with using a damp cloth, rule of thumb would dictate use of a dry cloth.
  • Care should be taken if there is any sort of pattern as excess water or rubbing may damage transfers, hand-painted surfaces, coloring or lead solder.
  • Wipe with a soft, dry cloth until dry.
  • Before re-assembly, dust the light bulb and fittings.

Fabric Shades

  • The best tool to dust a paper shade is an unused, clean, soft-bristled painter’s brush or a hairdryer with a cool/cold setting. Contrary to popular belief, fabric shades should never be vacuumed.  Most vacuums on the market today are too powerful and may stretch or damage the fabric.
  • Starting at the top of the lamp shade, use a downward long stroke to dust, rotate the shade and repeat. Do not brush too firmly as this may snag, tear or stretch the shade.
  • The inner surface of shades with inner plastic/hard liners can be wiped down with a clean, soft cloth. Shades with such surfaces should never be washed or dampened as the two materials tend to separate and fall apart.
  • Some fabric shades that have been stitched to their frame may be washed in a bath of warm, soapy water utilizing a delicate laundry soap. The fabric may stretch or sag when wet. Most fabrics will regain their shape as they dry. Rinse the lamp shade in a bath of clean water until no suds remain. Attach a string to the center frame, hang and let air dry. Do not immerse in water if the shade has delicate trim, beading or has been glued/ taped to its frame. If you are concerned with the fabric type getting wet, contact your local dry cleaner.
  • Before re-assembly, dust the light bulb and fittings.
Paper Shades

  • Paper shades are especially delicate to handle and clean.  The best tool to dust a paper shade is an unused, clean, soft-bristled painter’s brush.
  • Never vacuum a paper shade as it may snag, tear or stretch the paper.
  • Starting at the top of the lamp shade, use a downward long stroke to dust, rotate the shade and repeat. Do not brush too firmly as this may snag, tear or stretch the shade.
  • Never use water or damp cloth on the outside of the paper shade.
  • The inner surfaces of shades with inner plastic liners can be wiped down with a clean, soft cloth.
  • Before re-assembly, dust the light bulb and fittings.

See? Simple. Anybody else have any good pointers to share?

8 comments:

  1. Yes I do Paul if we are talking DUST. Insert your lampshade in a (plastic) bag and add about a cup of white table salt, secure the closing and give it a good shake. (It is an old technique once used by Miliners. I recall seeing my Great Grandmother do it often.)

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  2. You are welcome!
    Have a great weekend.

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  3. You do the same Brenda, thanks. I appreciate your being here.

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  4. Oh, I'd forgotten about that tip!

    I'm so glad you said nightmare for that shade, Paul. I was worried for you until I started reading. *grin*

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  5. Naw, that's the kind of crap I throw out of peoples' houses.

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  6. I use a lint roller, the one used on clothing and roll it up and down my lamp shades. Also use it on the backs and arms of upholstered chairs.

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  7. Another good tip Susan, thanks. I always use a dry paintbrush but I think I'm going to try Brenda's salt-in-a-bag method. I have an ancient and fragile pleated paper shade that I'm afraid to clean with anything.

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