With all that you’ve got on your plate, how often do you really consider your lampshades? If you’re like us, not often…but when that coating of dust does catch our eye, we figure we’d better take action sooner rather than later. The question is: What’s the best way to clean a lampshade so you don’t have to clean it again for awhile?
Why do lampshades get so dusty?
“I think any surface that’s just sitting there is a catchall for dust,” says Sharon Garcia, an L.A.-based professional cleaner and cleaning expert for Fabuloso who hosts a popular TikTok. “Any time we open our window and a draft comes in, or we turn on our air conditioners or heaters, it pushes out air and all that dust it carries settles into our our stuff at home.” A lampshade isn’t something that gets moved, and lightbulbs can be dust magnets, plus they aren’t things we typically think to clean, which means they can get dirty before we’ve even realized it.
The best way to clean a lampshade
While our go-to for dusting is, of course, our trusty Swiffer, but we’ve noticed that it doesn’t do a terrific job of getting dust out of all a lampshade’s nooks and crannies and we wondered if there was something better. So we tapped “CleanTok” queen Sharon Garcia to get her three top quick and easy methods that are surprisingly simple but wildly effective for removing dust and grime (one involves a pumice stone!). Best of all, she says they’ve worked on just about every lampshade she’s come across in her many years of pro cleaning.
1. For a basic clean: Reach for Scrub Daddy
Garcia points out that unless a lampshade is made of a particularly sturdy plastic and you’ve tried a spot test, you probably shouldn’t be using any liquid cleaners on it. “With delicate, paper-like lampshades, I’ve learned that if you put any spray on it, it can stain or make it super soft,” she says. She suggests using a dry foam sponge like a Scrub Daddy to gently pick up dust. “It comes right off!” she says. (Click through for a showdown between Scrub Daddy vs Scrub Mommy to see which one does what best.)
2. For dust that clings: Try a lint roller
Lint rollers are good for more than just removing cat hair from your clothes! “I often use a lint roller to remove dust from lampshades,” Garcia says. “Lint rollers are lifesavers!” She says it’s one of the cleaning tools she makes sure to always have handy. Lint rollers use a light adhesive to pick up dust, hair and dander, and once you’ve used the adhesive you can simply rip it off and throw it out. “Dust can really get stuck to a lampshade and be difficult to remove,” she says, but the adhesive of a lint roller attracts dust like a magnet.
Another surprising hack that works similarly to a lint roller? Good old-fashioned Scotch tape! “It’s very effective,” Garcia says, noting that the adhesive is strong enough to pick up the dust yet delicate enough to not cause damage to the shade.
3. For stubborn grime: Try a pumice stone
You probably associate pumice stones with your bathtub, but Garcia says they’re good for so much more than exfoliating your skin — plus, they’re cheap, easy to find in stores and non-toxic! “I know this sounds crazy, but I’ve actually used a pumice stone to remove hair and dust from lampshades!” she exclaims, noting that you just want to be sure to test a small area of the shade first (a good idea when trying any cleaning hack for the first time).
Gently scrubbing a pumice stone on the lampshade can pick up even the most set-in debris. “A pumice stone is harsh, but it actually does work, even on cloth,” Garcia says. And just like a sponge or lint roller, it works well when used dry, and has a distinctive texture that picks up dust like a dream.
How often to clean a lampshade
While there are some things in your house that you don’t need to clean too often, a lampshade isn’t one of them. Cleaning your lampshade once a week is ideal, says Garcia, because otherwise dust will accumulate and become harder to remove over time. The good news is that with the hacks above, cleaning your lampshade won’t take long no matter how long you wait between cleanings. In fact, you don’t even need to remove the shade in order to clean it.
“The materials lampshades are made of can be tricky,” says Garcia, but “I’ve worked with so many different kinds, and a sponge, lint roller or pumice stone has always worked for me.” So next time you want to clean your lampshade, try using one of these tools, and you’ll find that dust comes off in a cinch.
Read on for more cleaning hacks!