How to Remove Water Marks from a Fabric Lampshade


Pam asked: How do I remove water marks from a fabric lampshade? I have a pale pink lampshade that had dirt marks that I tried to spot clean. It now has numerous water marks on it. Can you please give me some advice as to how to remove these marks and clean the lampshade?

The best way to remove water marks from a fabric lamp shade is to apply moisture evenly. Even better, this method will offer an all-over clean that will leave your lamp shade looking like new!

You Will Need:

  • Laundry detergent
  • Large bucket, sink, or bathtub
  • Warm water
  • Soft sponge
  • Clean, absorbent towel

Steps to Remove the Water Marks:

  1. Remove the lamp shade from the lamp. If possible, take the shade off of the metal frame.
  2. Fill a clean bucket, sink, or bathtub with enough warm water to completely cover the lamp shade.
  3. Add a capful of laundry detergent, or just enough to form a sudsy solution when agitated.
  4. Submerge the lamp shade. If it floats, hold it down long enough to saturate the entire shade at once. Doing so will prevent new water marks from forming.
  5. Once the lamp shade is thoroughly and evenly wet, use the sponge to gently wash the fabric.  Work your way around the shade to remove dust, dirt, and other spots.
  6. Rinse thoroughly with clean water.
  7. Pat with a thick towel to remove excess water. This will prevent marks from drips or uneven moisture as it dries.
  8. Reattach the shade if you removed it from the metal frame.
  9. Allow to air dry, preferably in a warm or sunny location.

Additional Tips and Advice

  • The key is get the shade evenly wet and to allow it to dry the same way. If the shade is only in partial sun or heat to dry, be sure to rotate it frequently so that all sides have equal exposure. This will prevent the water marks from reappearing.
  • To speed the drying process (and lessen the chance of water marks), dry the shade with a blow dryer on a cool, low setting. Again, dry the shade evenly for the best results.


  1. Tracey-Lee says:

    There doesn’t seem to be anything about cleaning a stain from a lamp shade that is fabric on the outside and paper on the inside.
    Anyone have any ideas, as I have two that have what I think are water stains?

  2. Anonymous says:

    This doesn’t work for tough stains. But it does work for water marks. :)

  3. It worked for the most of it; still a slight water mark on the worst spot. Now I have a new problem. In the process of cleaning the shade from the water marks, the lining came apart and tore in places. How do I fix that?

  4. Therese says:

    I followed each step to remove the water marks from my very expensive lamp shade; I’m thrilled to report it now looks like the day I bought it.
    Many thanks,

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