How to Clean Shoji Screens

What You'll Need
Vacuum cleaner
Brush attachment
Soft-bristled hand brush
Lint-free paper towels
Wood cleaner
Lemon juice
Spray bottle

Shoji screens are important pieces of Japanese culture. The rice paper on the screens are replaced every year, regardless if it is worn or not, because it is a way to symbolize the beginning of a new year. The frame is is created, primed, and sealed with paint. The rice paper typically comes on a roll. You place the end of the roll at the end of the screen and unroll the paper over the wooden frame, then cut and then glue it in place. Rice paper is very fragile, taking care of it is not difficult and necessary in order to have it last a long time. The following article will show you how to properly clean and maintain your Shoji screen.

Step 1 - The Initial Dusting

The rice paper inside the screens is very delicate and is easily broken with heavy pressure. The use of a vacuum is often utilized to remove the dust. A vacuum cleaner is the best way to start, unless you have a vacuum cleaner with very strong suction. With any vacuum cleaner, be sure you apply gentle pressure. Start at the very top left of each square and suction the dirt in a downward motion. Remove the vacuum brush and do another line starting at the top again and moving downward. Do this until each of the screens is free of dust. You can also use other devices to clean the screens of dust, for example, a feather duster or soft-bristled brushes are also good to use.

Step 2 - Preserving the Color

You will also need to preserve the color of the screen. This is especially important if the screens are set near a window and catch sunlight. Fill a spray bottle with water and add a few drops of lemon juice. Shake the bottle to mix the water and lemon juice thoroughly. Make sure the water bottle's nozzle is turned to mist and then, standing roughly 8 inches from the screen, spray it until just dusted with the water and lemon mixture. This will prevent UV light from ruining the color of the rice paper.

Step 3 - Cleaning the Wooden Frame

Shoji screens are often made from solid wood and require as much cleaning as any other piece of wooden furniture. The problem, however, is the rice paper coming in contact with the wood cleaner. Start with a lint-free paper towel to wipe down the wood. If the wood has caked on dust then use some water with the lint-free towel. Do not spray the wood with water and then wipe off because the water may create stains. Once the wood is free from dust, you can clean with a wood cleaner. Pour a very small amount on a lint-free paper towel and then gently rub it into the wooden frame.