Light shades is just another word for lamp shades, and come in many shapes and sizes and add to the decor of a room. Silk and stained glass shades can be very expensive with fabric and plastic much less costly. One of the easiest ways to change and update a room's appearance is to do a replacement of the lighting or just the lamp shades. The first thing to consider is the lamp fitter if you are looking for a replacement lamp shade. The fitter will determine what type and size of shade will work for you. While replacing lamps or shades with plug in swag lamps may be the best option, often times cleaning the existing shades will be the easiest way to make big difference in the lighting. It will always be cheaper to clean than buy replacement shades. Cleaning some types of light shades, such as a hanging swag lamp, can present challenges and are more labor intensive than others. Here are a few helpful hints when you want to try cleaning your light shades and by the way, some people call them lightshades.
The first line of defense is to perform routine lamp shade maintenance each time the room is dusted. For hard shades made of glass, plastic or fiberglass, a thorough dusting with a soft cloth on both the inside and outside is sufficient. Follow up with glass cleaner when necessary. If very dirty use a mild detergent to wash them first. Be sure when you do any cleaning that the lamp has been off for a few minutes and has cooled . Hot bulbs could burn you or melt your duster.
There are several ways to keep fabric shades dust-free. They can be vacuumed with the soft brush attachment or rolled with a lint roller. Pleated shades can be successfully dusted with a soft paint brush. Some shades, if they are very dirty, can be washed. If you do decide to wash them there is some prep work that must done first. The fitter must not be made of the type of metal that will rust. It can rust as a result of the contact with water and the rust may stain the shade. Remove all washable trim. It the fabric is glued to the frame, sew it in place so it doesn’t fall apart.
Fill a bathtub or clean garbage can with water and mild detergent. Put some of the soapy water on a small part of the material to be sure it is colorfast. Submerge the lamp shade and swish it around in the water. When the water is dirty, let it out and fill with clean water. If the shade is still dirty repeat the entire process until it is clean and the rinse water is clear. Hang it up to dry.
These instructions do not apply to silk shades. They are very expensive you may wish to have them professionally cleaned. If you want to try to wash them, a great video can be found here describing a way to clean silk shades at home.