How to clean a Tiffany Lamp – Cleaning Stained Glass




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Find out quickly and simply how to clean a Tiffany Lamp. I bullet point the key steps of how to clean stained glass lamps and for cleaning stained glass windows.

A Tiffany Style Lamp is the focal point of your room and when lit it is natural that you want to show off your lamp to maximum effect.

Leaving build ups of dust on your Tiffany Glass Lamp shade can over time lead to discolouration of the glass.

Build-up of dirt and grime will lead to tarnishing of metal lamp bases over time.

Different types of metal require different cleaning solutions, so I cover how to identify which type of metal lamp base that you have and cleaning solutions for metal lamp bases.

Not all types of Tiffany Lamps should be cleaned the same way, so I highlight the best cleaning methods for each.

A genuine Tiffany Lamp is often worth several thousands of dollars, so you should thing carefully before removing engrained dirt. It may pay to seek the help of an expert who has experience in handling these delicate lamps.

Are you looking for how to clean fabric, paper, pleated or metal lampshades. If so, then check out my comprehensive guide to cleaning fabric and other lampshades.

If you find damage to your glass lamp shade then my comprehensive repair guide can help you restore it to its former glory!

If you want to buy Stained Glass Shades then check out my detailed Tiffany Style Lamp Reviews

I discuss all about vintage stained glass lamps from Tiffany and where Tiffany Lamps were made here!

If your looking for your own lamp check out my guide to Tiffany Style Lamps

How To Clean Antique Glass Lamp Shades

Below I dive into some quick tips to tell you how to clean antique glass lamp shades. This will work the cleaning yellowed glass light fixtures of any kind.

I then go into detail with specific tips for different types of Tiffany Shades.

Cleaning stained glass lamp shade – Cleaning Highlights :

  1. Unplug and allow your Tiffany Style Lamp to cool
  2. Rub colored glass softly with lemon oil furniture cleaner using lint free cloth
  3. Rub clear glass softly with ammonia free glass cleaner using lint free cloth
  4. Clean porcelain Tiffany Style Lamps with lint free cloth and rub dry
  5. Dust your lamp regular with a feather duster to reduce build-up of dirt.

Do not forget to clean dust from the inside of the shade. This is important to allow light through your lampshade and highlighting the fabulous colors.

Tiffany Lamp Reviews
Looking for a new Tiffany Style Lamp – Check out our detailed reviews …

Click for Reviews

Cleaning Tiffany Lampshades with colored glass

  1. Unplug your Tiffany Lamp and allow to cool.
  2. Tiffany Lampshades that contain colored or opaque glass, cabochons (cut and polished gemstones) should be cleaned with lemon oil furniture cleaner and a lint free cloth.
  3. Apply a small amount of the lemon oil furniture to a lint free cloth.
  4. Polish the lamp shade with a clean lint free cloth
  5. Clean regularly with a feather duster to deter the build-up of dirt.

Lemon Oil Cleaners avoid the discoloration and oxidisation (weakening) of the copper foiled leadwork in your Tiffany Style Lamp, as well as protecting the integrity of the metal fittings.

Cleaning Tiffany Lampshades with clear glass

  1. Unplug your Tiffany Lamp and allow to cool.
  2. Tiffany Style Lampshades that contain clear glass panels should be cleaned with a glass cleaner that is ammonia, vinegar or acid free.
  3. Apply a small amount of the glass cleaner to a lint free cloth and gently rub the glass panels.
  4. Polish the lamp shade with a clean lint free cloth
  5. Clean regularly with a feather duster to deter the build-up of dirt.

Glass cleaners that contain Ammonia, vinegar or are acid-based are too harsh to the delicate glass panels in Tiffany Lamps and so should be avoided.

If your clean your clear glass Tiffany Style Lampshade regularly you should be able to get good results from just rubbing with a damp lint free cloth, avoiding the need to use a glass cleaner.

Cleaning Porcelain Tiffany Style Lamps

  1. Unplug your Tiffany Lamp and allow to cool.
  2. Use a damp lint free cloth to wipe clean your Porcelain Tiffany Lamp
  3. With a clean lint free cloth rub and polish the lamp dry
  4. Clean regularly with a feather duster to deter the build-up of dirt.

Cleaning grease from a Tiffany Style Lamp

Tiffany Lamps or Tiffany Style Lamps fitted in a kitchen may attract grease from cooking.
If this happens to your lamp you will need to use a degreaser.

  1. Unplug your Tiffany Lamp and allow to cool.
  2. Wear rubber gloves
  3. Only apply a small amount of degreaser to a lint free cloth.
  4. Rub the lamp sparingly at a time
  5. Wipe clean the glass with a dry lint free cloth

Applying too much degreaser in one go can saturate the leadwork, weakening it.

Following the method above will preserve the integrity of the copper foiled leadwork in your lamp and soldered metal parts.

How to clean Tiffany lamp base – How to clean a metal lamp

Authentic Tiffany Lamps are almost always made from brass, whereas reproduction or Tiffany Style lamps feature plastic, wood, brass or zinc bases.

Any metal lamp base will become tainted over time with exposure to air, so it is important to clean these lamp bases regularly to maintain them to the highest standards.
Cleaning antique brass lamps at least once every six months will avoid the long term build-up of muck and dust avoiding long term problems.

How to clean a metal lamp – Quick steps:

  1. Prepare a damp soft cloth with warm soapy water
  2. Rub down the metal base of the lamp with the cloth
  3. For an extremely dirty lamp rub down carefully with extra fine steel wool, grade 0000
  4. Use a medium firm toothbrush to get into harder spots.
  5. For extremely tarnished bases, use the appropriate, for each, metal polishing cleaner

When polishing a tarnished metal lamp base, choose the metal polish cleaner depending on whether you have a zinc or brass metal base.

Examine the manufacturer’s instructions but normally you will apply a small amount of the metal polish cleaner covering the entire lamp base or tarnished are as necessary.

The polish should be left to dry and then removed from the lamp base by both rubbing and buffing.

If any polish remains in hard to reach spots then clean with some warm water and completely dry.

The easiest way to tell if you have a brass or zinc lamp base is to test with magnet.

Solid brass is not magnetic. A brass plated lamp or zinc lamp base on the other hand will be magnetic.

Another test would be to look for a scratch or make a small scratch out of the way on your Tiffany Lamp Base.

Shiny yellow means you have a brass lamp base, while silver will indicate a zinc lamp base.

Applying a small amount of lemon oil furniture cleaner on your glass Tiffany lamp shade will penetrate grime deeper and loosen any engrained dirt. It will also work well on metal lamp bases.

The lemon oil cleaner will brighten the glass, allowing you to enjoy the colors more.

Always remove all residue from the cleaner thoroughly, first with a clean damp cloth and then wipe with a dry cloth.

Acidic cleaners over time will weaken the lead solder in your lamp.

Always try a new cleaning product on a small test area first.

The most popular lemon oil furniture cleaners are:

Guardsman Revitalizing Lemon Oil
Guardsman Revitalizing Lemon Oil | Teak Oil Protects and Cleans
Old English Wood Polish
Old English Wood Polish, Bottle, 16 Oz, Pack of 2
Milsek Furniture Polish and Cleaner with Lemon Oil
Milsek Furniture Polish and Cleaner (Lemon Oil Furniture Polish), 12-Ounce
Homequicks highlights a simple recipe that can be used to make your own lemon oil furniture cleaner:

“In a bowl, combine 2 parts olive oil and 1 part fresh lemon juice together. Give it a good stir and dip a soft, clean cotton towel in it. Moving in circular motion, use this cloth to wipe the furniture; for wooden furniture, go in the same direction as the grain. If there are any hard-to-reach surfaces, dip a soft-bristled toothbrush to get the job done. Take another dry, clean towel and wipe the oil off the furniture.”

If you have done any repair work to your Tiffany Lamp, then you may want to use a flux cleaner for stained glass. It will remove any excess solder from.

The two most popular products are Kwik Clean Flux Cleaner & Cj’S Flux Remover
Kwik Clean Flux Cleaner 16 Oz
Cj'S Flux Remover - 8 Oz

How To Clean Lamp Shades – Fabric Shades

You will probably also have a number of Fabric Lamp Shades around your house.

Cleaning your fabric lamp shades will help keep them looking new and will prolong their life. Here are some tips on how to clean them:

  • Start by dusting both sides of the shade with a soft, dry cloth. A feather duster can also be used for this purpose.
  • If the shade is very dusty, you may need to vacuum it. Use the soft brush attachment on your vacuum cleaner and be sure not to catch the fabric in the vacuum cleaner’s end.
  • If the shade is stained, you can spot clean it with a mild soap and water solution. Apply the solution to a clean cloth and rub it into the stain. Be sure to rinse the shade thoroughly afterwards so that no dirt and soapy residue is left.


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