May 27, 2011

Cleaning Thirft Store Lampshades

Today's post is featuring adventures in decontaminating cleaning thrift store lampshades! I have been sitting on several lamps that need major makeovers- but the weather is REFUSING to COOPERATE! 
I haven't been able to spray paint a thing for a WEEK!

Since I plan to remake several lamps, for two of them I thought it would be interesting to buy thrift store lampshades and try to clean them. I found some fabric lampshades to go with the bases. One looks pretty cheap- like a Walmart shade or something, and the other is a Restoration Hardware find, yay!. They both have visible stains/dirt and I can recover them if need be- but wanted to explore cleaning methods first.


1.] To clean a lampshade you should start with vacuuming it or wiping it with a dry cloth. Since these shades were visibly dirty I skipped the first choice and started with the next safest for fabric.

2.] You can mix some water and dish washing detergent in a 1:4 ratio with an egg beater until foam forms.  FYI- If your shade is silk the Internet says only to use Dreft or Ivory Snow, not dish soap. Apply foam to the whole shade and wipe with a clean cloth. If you only wet part there may be some fabric discoloration. This method is perfect for delicate materials and for shades that have glued on trim which will not hold up to water.

This probably would have worked for a shade that is lightly soiled. Something that hasn't been dusted regularly (or ever like my home!) and maybe some of the dust has ingrained into the fabric. If that method doesn't work you want to go extreme!

3.] Fill the bathtub with water and some dish soap and DUNK the shade making sure it is fully submerged each time. Don't leave the shade in the water! Pull it out and use a cloth to work the soap into the shade, especially any stains! You can then hang it to dry on the shower rod.

I washed the Restoration Hardware shade first and my experience was that this shade held up to the water well. It could easily withstand the washing. I dunked it quite a few times and worked soapy water all over the fabric. It turned out looking pretty good.

The cheaper shade had a much lower water tolerance. I dunked it about the same amount of times and then tried to scrub it but it had pulled in too much water too quickly. I let it sit to dry out but it was too far gone and the form was ruined. I would suggest scrubbing the highly soiled areas and then dunking the shade only once or at most twice if it's of a poorer quality.

So, umm-you can see the results for yourself. Here's an updated image of the lampshade today- if you want to know how to recover a lampshade, check it out! Hope this helps you guys!

- Becca
  Linked up here.