The copper foil stained glass of Tiffany lamps holds a wide range not only in style but in substance. This is why is so important to know how to clean, care, and if necessary, repair your Tiffany lamp. The different materials that Tiffany lamps are comprised of will likely require different kinds of care. Cleaning your glass Tiffany lamp shades once in awhile will ensure its lasting quality.
Before Use and Cleaning
- When you first take the Tiffany lamp out of the packaging, you may notice a film of oil over the glass of the lamp shade. This oil was used as the final part of the lamp-making and preparation process that gives the glass a scratch-resistant shine and protection for long-distance delivery. Place the lamp on a towel and use a paper towel to gently wipe away any excess oil.
- Whether it’s a desk lamp or floor lamp, disconnect the power source before your begin cleaning. This seems all too obvious, but you’d be surprised how often this first important step is overlooked.
Cleaning and Care Tips
The cleaning instructions for a Tiffany lamp differ depending on the substances being cleaned:
- For a regular cleaning of the shade, just use a paper towel or feather duster to remove dust. There’s generally no need for household cleaners, which should be used as sparingly as possible.
- For opaque-stained glass: apply a gentle lemon oil-based furniture polish to a cloth and wipe gently. This also works on jadestone, art glass, as well as metal fixture frames and lamp bases
- For transparent / beveled glass: use an ammonia-free glass cleaning solution. Apply the solution to a cloth and wipe gently.
- For Lithopane porcelain lamps: dampen a soft cloth with warm soapy water. Use scouring powder on non-colored areas. Use caution, as soapy water will make the lamp slippery; be sure to hold it firmly in place as you clean and dry with a paper towel or dry cloth.
- If any micra or fabric came with your lamp shade, use a dry cloth or feather duster to clean.
- A white powder may appear on the lamp over time due to the oxidation reaction of the lamp’s soldering. A small amount of lemon oil or mineral oil applied directly to the oxidized areas should be able to restore the soldering. Let it sit for several minutes, then remove with a paper towel or dry cloth.
- If the lamp hangs above a kitchen where cooking occurs, you may notice grease build-up or dirt in the lamp over time. An all-purpose household cleaner with lemon and no ammonia should take care of it, followed by a good polish with a lemon oil-based furniture polish for a final shine.
Precautions and Warnings
- Don’t clean the shade if the lamp has been lit for a long period of light. The glass shade will be hot and may burn when touched. Allow the shade to cool over a period of time before cleaning.
- Any soapy or slippery solutions used should be used with caution, as it could slip out of your hands. Hold in place securely as you clean
- Chemical cleansers are a huge no-no; the soldering finish may come undone upon contact to a chemical cleanser.
Keeping these tips in mind will ensure the longevity of your Tiffany lamp.