Tuesday, May 1, 2012

How to Dust a Lampshade!

In the last article about finials in this billionaire's home I mentioned we take the lampshades outside for dusting, and I've had a few email inquiries as to how and why. So I'm happy to share what I know:

- The lampshades here are mostly designed with expensive, pleated materials and feather dusters, even ostrich, don't work that well on fabrics.

- Lint rollers can easily stretch the fabric and don't clean inside the pleats.

- If you attempt to vacuum the shades (even set on low suction) it's very easy to suck in and tear delicate fabrics. And you'll not want to do that.

So what to do?

In butler school we were taught to take lamp shades outside and dust them with a very-fine, soft-bristle paint brush. It's that simple. And you won't believe the clouds of dust and pollen you'll sweep off. It's time consuming, of course, especially when dealing with over a hundred lamps as we are in this house.

But this is extremely important to those of us who suffer from allergies. How long has it been since you gave that lamp shade on your bedside table a good dusting?

Around here we dedicate a whole day to this, a couple of times a year when our employers are away and there's nothing much else to do. We crank up the music and spend all day running in and out, dusting every lampshade in the house. It's not all that difficult, but then we're getting paid for this task, aren't we?

Thanks for dropping in tonight,



  1. the valiant valetWednesday, 02 May, 2012

    Hello Andrew. Thanks for the cleaning tip for lamp shades. Mister Lucas is out of town this week and since I haven't had to wait on him, the Butler had me helping out with cleaning. He told me to clean the shades just as you described here too. I am also happy to report that I am feeling more comfortable in my role as valet to Mister Lucas and he is also respecting my service to him more. There has been a lot less of him ordering me around, although when his friends are around he does still try to puff up by speaking to me as his personal servant. I just trudge through since I know it is just him being young.

    1. Thanks for the affirmation on dusting lampshades with a brush! Ha! But there's really no other solution.

      And I'm glad you're getting a grip on your new job. All housestaff members have to deal with rude (even abusive) behavior sometimes. Goes with the territory, since we deal with these people even in their worst moods. It's either something you can handle and deal with, or not. And if not, then it's time to move on.


    2. the valiant valetSunday, 06 May, 2012

      Thanks Andrew. Yes I have now figured out how deal with the occasional snobbery and unrealistic expectations from Mister Lucas. Would you happen to know anything about polishing cordovan shoes?

    3. When in doubt, seek the advice of a professional. Take the cordovans to your favorite shoe-repair shop and ask them. They'll know exactly what to do, and will have the products on hand that you'll need.

  2. Hi Andrew
    Please let us know the best way to clean art work ?
    Here in Texas we get alot of dust !
    Thanks so much

    1. Hi KEK,

      Thanks for reading, as always. But I did, indeed, already address how to clean art work in an article entitled "Cleaning an Original Oil Painting", September 9, 2011.

      The Archives are on the right side of the page. Just click on 2011, and then click on September.

      There's also a search bar on the left side of this page. Just type in "cleaning an oil painting" and the article will pop up.

      Thanks for your interest,