Care and Cleaning of Tiffany Lamps
In general, several conditions apply to cleaning lamps of all kinds. Possibly the most overlooked, yet obvious, thing to do before cleaning a lamp is to unplug it from its power source. Abrasive cleaners, and harsh polishes and chemicals should never be used. If furniture polish is used, clean the lamp in a different area to prevent accumulating buildup on its base.
The Tiffany art glass that is used in the shades of many Tiffany lamps should be cleaned by wiping with a soft cloth and a lemon oil-based furniture polish. Any product that contains ammonia should never be used due to the effect that ammonia has on the solder used in Tiffany lamps. Solder can oxidize, or tarnish, leaving behind a discoloring white film. To remove and also prevent oxidation in the future, a slight coating of lemon oil on the solder does the trick.
For Tiffany lamps made of beveled or transparent glass, a soft cloth may be used along with a mild solution of soapy water. Mild glass cleaners are also safe to use when gently cleaning this type of lamp. If soapy water is used, the shade of the lamp must be rinsed thoroughly with a clean white cloth dipped in clean water. Porcelain lamps and mica shades also should be cleaned with a mild solution of soapy water. Fabric shades can easily be cleaned with a fine brush or a lint remover. If it is necessary, a damp cloth may be used to wash the shade gently and evenly, and then the shade should be allowed to dry quickly in either the sun or by using a hair dryer.
Tiffany lamps that are used to decorate kitchen areas often accumulate layers of grease or dirt, which can reduce the lamp quality and be difficult to remove. Through testing, it has been determined that Mr. Clean Top Job® works well for cleaning. Use this cleaner with a soft cloth for best results, wiping gently. Reapply lemon oil-based polish to the Tiffany lampshade to protect it.
Maintaining the quality of Tiffany lamps through care and cleaning is important to get the most from these delicate pieces. By using the correct products and methods, Tiffany lamps can be of lasting value and continually grace your home with their beauty.