February 23, 2006

Teach Your Children Well

There are many things my mother taught me. There are many things my mother did not teach me. One thing she never taught me is the how when where why and what of cleaning dust from a lampshade. I had to learn that for myself.

You may exclaim, "Ridiculous! The how when where why and what of cleaning dust from a lampshade is always one of the first skills taught to a daughter by her mother!"

Or perhaps you may snicker, wondering why I think special training is required for such a simple task as cleaning lampshades. Is that pity in your eyes? Good. Because I kid you not. For the longest time I did not even realize lampshades were something that could be effectively cleaned.

Don't get me wrong. My mother's lampshades have always been immaculate. It's mine that were a mess. I lived for years in ignorance. I'd watch the dust and dog hairs collect as three dimensional sculptures emerged, angelic and fluffy yet with a diabolical air. The lamplight grew ever dimmer despite higher wattage bulbs. Oh sure, I'd dab at it here and there with the duster (not effective), apply a damp sponge (really not effective), I even tossed them in the tub with a splash of Woolite (seemed like a good idea at the time). Out of sheer apathy frustration, I learned to live with those layers, opting to call it part of my decorating scheme.

But I didn't like it. I mean, who would? I'm not a neat freak by any stretch of the imagination, but I do enjoy dust-free surfaces.

As an empty-nester, I finally had enough free time on my hands to address this important issue. I wrapped my logical mind around it and figured out how to effectively keep our lampshades looking presentable. No no, the solution was not to eliminate them from our abode. It also wasn't to wrap them in plastic. The technique I now employ has been deemed, by me of course, a family secret. It is simple and effective, perhaps the same technique passed down by mothers to daughters everywhere. Just not by my mother to me.

Now if I could just get a handle on practical upkeep for venetian blinds. Can anyone pass me a clue?



Eyes for Lies said...

Same as the lamp shade --
v-a-c-u-u-m :) If that doesn't work, the tub.

Funny that you mention this. My mom and I have been having these moments lately. She's like "You don't do that -- you do this." And I'm like, "You never taught me that! How am I supposed to know?"

Then about a week later, I got the "You make me feel like a horrible mom. Like I let you down."


So I tried to not put my foot in my mouth the second time and I told her she couldn't possibly have taught me everything -- she was a great mom. And even when she wanted to teach me half the time -- I wasn't interested -- so it certainly isn't her fault.

Who knew you are supposed to *wash out your sponge* after you do the dishes??? Rinse that baby clean. I just leave mine with the studs in it.

How about you?

Eyes for Lies said...

That was supposed to be *suds* LOL. Studs would be rather good, wouldn't they?

Gina said...

Yeah baby, if you ain't cleaning it with a vacuum attatchment, then it's a secret not worth keeping.


I don't know anyone who has gotten the secret of venetian blinds. I have vertical blinds, which are much wider and larger, and they clean off not too shabbily with the Mr. Clean Eraser.

Geeky Dragon Girl said...

What? You're supposed to clean lampshades?? My mother never taught me this either! Then again, my mom's house is chock full of fluorescent tube lights. (No, she isn't an interior deocrator, why do you ask?)

I'm trying to think of the one time I seriously took to cleaning venetian blinds... those are the miniblinds, right? Same thing? I recall physically taking the blinds out of the window, taking them outside, and hosing them down in the back yard with the strongest spray possible. I think that worked, I can't remember. It's also possible we threw those things away, heehee.

Suzanne said...

Eyes, that's a great story about your mom. As for the sponge, well, I don't like getting my sponge all sudsy. I have a cloth or a scrubber to wash with. I try to keep our sponge completely suds-free.

And what is this "vacuum" of which you two speak? Alas, I do not vacuum my lampshades even now. My cleaning method does not require anything that plugs in or has attachments.

GDG, that's what I do with blinds now. I need a different approach. The other way is too much like work.

Man oh man. I do love me some mini-blinds (obviously I'm no interior decorator either!).


tiff said...

Miniblinds and feather dusters were made for one another.

Also, the lampshade secret? Please don't keep it a secret. We are curious people and need to know these things.

If you come up with something for cleaning glass lightshades that doesn't involve dismantling the whole works, pass that along as well, won't you?