Can You Wash Lamp Shades in the Dishwasher?

BuseAs with any household item, lampshades can get pretty stained and grubby. It doesn’t seem to matter how diligently you dust them; lampshades seem to collect fingerprints and other contaminants, resulting in an unsightly shade. Although you are probably aware that lampshades can be cleaned, there is the question of whether the dishwasher can do the job. We have looked into this and found the answers you’re looking for.

If your lampshade is made of glass, you’re in luck! A dishwasher can undoubtedly be used and is very useful in cleaning glass lamp shades. However, lampshades constructed of the following materials cannot be safely washed in a dishwasher.

  • Plastic
  • Paper/Parchment
  • Fabric

Now that you know which shades are safe to wash in the dishwasher, read on to discover how, and to learn more about cleaning lampshades of various materials.

A red colored lamp shade turned on with a gray background, Can You Wash Lamp Shades in the Dishwasher?

How to Clean Glass Lamp Shades?

Giving some extra attention to your lampshades is well worth the effort. A clean shade can make all the difference in the world when it comes to lighting up a room. Dirt and dust can effectively block the light from the lamp, and give a grungy feeling to your space. Cleaning a lampshade allows it to radiate a bright, cheery glow. Using a dishwasher certainly simplifies this chore, but remember that only glass lampshades can be washed in this manner.

Shades made of other materials, including plastic, fabric, and paper, can be damaged or destroyed by the dishwasher. However, methods for safely cleaning lampshades made of different materials will be discussed later in this article. Before cleaning any lampshade, the lamp should be unplugged and the shade removed from the lamp. You should never apply water to a lampshade that is installed on the lamp. Take care when removing the lampshade, as lights can sometimes become quite hot. If this is the case, allow the lamp to cool down before proceeding.

As Easy as 1, 2, 3

Cleaning a glass lampshade in the dishwasher is quite uncomplicated. They can even be washed right alongside your other dishes! Perform the following steps.

  1. If the lampshade is extra dirty, give it a quick prewash.
  2. Load the shade into the top shelf of the dishwasher.
  3. Add your dishwashing detergent, along with a splash of vinegar to cut grease and add shine.
  4. Run the dishwasher as usual.
  5. Allow the lampshade to dry thoroughly before reinstalling on the lamp.

Of course, a dishwasher is not necessary to wash glass lamp shades. If a dishwasher is not available, a basin of hot soapy water and a clean rag will suffice. Gently scrub the lampshade and rinse it thoroughly. Allow your lampshade to air dry, or dry it off with a soft towel.

How to Clean Fabric Lamp Shades?

Fabric lamp shades are a little more challenging to clean, but most of them can be

washed at home and set back on their lamps within a few hours, leaving you with a sense of accomplishment. There are a couple of aspects to consider before plunging into your task. Determine whether your lampshade is sewn together or glued together, as this will determine your water temperature. Use warm water for sewn shades and cold water for ones that are glued. What fabric you are working with on individual lamp shades should also be taken into consideration. Is the material fragile, or is it more durable? Cotton, linen, silk? It is recommended that lampshades made of silk always be cleaned professionally.

  1. Use a lint roller, or a vacuum cleaner with an upholstery attachment, to remove all the dust from the inside and the outside of the lampshade.
  2. Fill a bathtub with warm or cold water (see guidelines above), along with a few drops of laundry detergent or dishwashing liquid. If the lampshade is greasy, add 1 cup of white vinegar to the bathtub.
  3. Using a clean microfiber cloth or a soft bristle brush, clean the lampshade using long, up-and-down motions. A small paintbrush or toothbrush can be useful in cleaning any crevices or pleats.
  4. If the dirt is stubborn, lampshades that are sewn can be soaked in the bathtub for up to 15 minutes. Do not soak shades that are glued together, as this can loosen the glue.
  5. Refill the bathtub with clean, cold water and carefully rinse the lampshade.
  6. Allow it to dry thoroughly and put it back in place.

How to Clean Plastic Lamp Shades?

Although you can’t use a dishwasher, cleaning a plastic lampshade should not be too much trouble. You can clean your plastic shade using the bathtub and detergent method mentioned above. Alternatively, you can follow these steps and skip the bathtub. Always remember to remove lampshades from the lamp before cleaning them or applying any water to them.

  1. Vacuum or wipe away any dust and surface dirt. A duster works well for this.
  2. With a clean, wet, microfiber cloth and a mild cleaner, wipe away dirt and grime. Remember to clean the inside too!
  3. Wipe down and rinse the entire lampshade with a new, clean cloth and clean water to remove any soapy residue.
  4. Gently dry the lampshade with a towel or allow to air dry. You can buff out any remaining streaks with a microfiber cloth.
  5. Return the shade to its lamp. Do not put a wet lampshade on a lamp.

If the household cleaner you have chosen is not doing the trick, try switching to a vinegar and water solution. This will help to remove grease. You may also find that a toothbrush helps to get in the nooks and crannies, especially if the lampshade is fluted.

How Do You Remove Stains from Lamp Shades?

Occasionally, even after a good cleaning, stains can remain on your lampshade. These will need just a little extra attention and care to remove them. To spot-treat stains, you will need a clean, microfiber cloth, a soft-bristle brush, and a detergent. Baby shampoo or mild dish soap should do the trick, but in the event of a particularly stubborn stain, laundry stain removers can be employed. Take care that any spot remover that you use does not contain bleach, as this can discolor your lampshade as well as weaken the fabric. To remove stains from your lamp shade, follow these steps.

  1. Fill a bowl with warm water and a few drops of your chosen detergent.
  2. Carefully scrub the stain using a microfiber cloth.
  3. If the cloth does not seem to be working, switch to the brush. Use very gentle strokes.
  4. Gently blot the spot with a clean, dry cloth to lift the stain.
  5. Thoroughly rinse the lampshade again.
  6. Allow the lampshade to dry entirely.


In the end, although using a dishwasher for all your lampshade cleaning needs would be great, unfortunately, that is not possible. However, the directions contained in this article should cover them. Cleaning lampshades is not as scary as it sounds, and you can now begin your task. Here’s to brighter and more dazzling lamps!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *