I've had a George Nelson saucer lamp on my wish list for a very long time. Don't they just scream mid century modern? Well, as many things go, if you're patient, your number will eventually come up. I used to think "Oh, I'll never find that" but I've been proven wrong. Patience and persistence people! It works.
A few weeks back I randomly typed in "bubble lamp" in Craigslist Los Angeles and up popped a new listing for "large saucer lamp, $75". I remained pessimistic, as I've missed out on these lamps before, but this time I guess it was my turn to be the lucky one. I got it!
It was a dirty mess when I picked it up but still well worth $75. I did some research on how I could clean it and found a helpful post on Flickr. While I don't mind some things in their found condition this was pretty dirty, sticky and dusty.
Check out my cleaning process below > and definitely check out the link because he has some helpful tips i.e., do this in the bath tub if you can!
Above is the lamp in its found condition.Though you can't really tell in these photos, there is a yellowish, sticky film and a thick layer of dust on top.
Here you can really see how dirty the lamp was. The lighter side has been cleaned.
I poured TSP directly onto the lamp a capful at a time, let it sit for approximately 2 minutes, then rinsed with warm water. The first photo shows the lamp after one round. I did the same process again but lightly rubbed the lamp with a wet sponge the second time. The second photo shows how much lighter it got after the second cleaning. Lastly, I blotted the treated areas lightly with a towel and let air dry.
Here is the lamp cleaned up and hung in my dining area. There are some yellow spots I could not get out on the bottom, though I didn't scrub too hard in an attempt to do so for fear of damaging the lamp. They might have come out with a little more effort but hey, it's an old lamp. I don't mind the little history it shows. The top is a like-new crisp white.
If you decide to try this on your George Nelson lamp, I found my TSP substitute at both Lowe's and Home Depot. I bought one small bottle at Lowe's then ran out quickly and went to Home Depot for a second bottle. Invest in the larger bottle, you'll need more than you think to clean your lamp. Good luck!