How to Clean an Old Yellowed Lampshade

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Things You'll Need

  • Liquid laundry detergent for delicates

  • Soft-bristled scrub brush

  • White cloths

  • Towels

  • Electric fan

  • Container

  • Whisk

  • Sponge

Use a mild detergent to clean lampshades.

An old yellowed lampshade may appear ready for the trash at first glance, but if money is tight or you are attached to the shade, there are ways to get it clean. Fabric lamp shades must be cleaned differently than those made from other materials, such as plastic, fiberglass or parchment. It's important to use mild detergent and to be gentle when cleaning older lamp shades to prevent damage.

Cleaning Fabric Lamp Shades

Step 1

Stop the bathtub up and fill it with barely warm water. Add four to five drops of liquid laundry detergent for delicates and swish it around until suds develop.

Step 2

Dip a soft-bristled scrub brush into the suds and gently scrub any visible spots on the lampshade. Use a light touch and a circular scrubbing motion.

Step 3

Submerge the lamp shade in the soapy water and carefully move it around until all areas are damp. Use a white cloth to wipe it down thoroughly.

Step 4

Release the water from the tub and rinse the lamp shade well with barely warm water.

Step 5

Towel the lamp shade off carefully and place it in front of an electric fan to dry.

Cleaning Lamp Shades Made of Other Materials

Step 1

Fill a container with 1/4 cup of liquid laundry detergent for delicates and add just enough water to mix the detergent.

Step 2

Use a whisk to beat the mixture until stiff suds develop.

Step 3

Dip a sponge into the suds and gently wipe down the interior and exterior of the lampshade. Take care not to get glued binding overly wet.

Step 4

Wipe over the lamp shade with a moistened white cloth until the yellowed buildup is removed.

Step 5

Dab the lampshade carefully with a towel to dry.


Fabric lamp shades may appear stretched after washing but will return to their former shape after they dry.


Annita Lawson

Annita Lawson has been working as a freelance writer since 2004. Her work has been published in various Web and print outlets, including The Dabbling Mum, A Virtuous Woman and Pediatrics for Parents. Lawson is pursuing an Associate of Arts degree at Southeast Kentucky Community College. She enjoys sharing all that she has learned about parenting, healthy eating and living a frugal lifestyle.