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How To Clean Solar Lights | 10 Step Definitive Guide

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Tim Rhodes

Knowing how to clean solar lights is quite important, as solar lights have become a lifesaver, not only for us but for our mother nature.

As we continue to progress in life, we also need to improve our security at home to make our stay more comfortable, and worry-free.

One of the security measures that we must consider, is to make our houses well-lit to avoid the potential danger, that usually happens in the dark.

Solar lights are not just cost-effective, but also an environment-friendly technology.

It reduces the carbon footprint produced during the use of non-renewable energy sources, and this saves our mother earth’s non-recurrent energy sources.

Aside from the fact that it’s budget-friendly and pro-nature, it does not need much maintenance because you only have to check on it and clean it so there is no need to buy more accessories to secure its longevity.

More people are now considering the advantages of using solar energy and how it can improve our lives.

How To Clean Solar Lights

Solar lights are truly technology’s gift to humanity, and we must learn how to clean, and keep it in good condition.

So with that said, let’s get started. Here’s our 10 step guide for the best way on how to clean solar lights.

Step 1: Get The Guidelines For Cleaning Light Fixtures From The Manufacturer 

Cleaning the Solar light fixtures is not that hard but we also have to check on the manual first.

Some cleaning agents are not suitable for solar lights and will cause more damage instead of cleaning it, but if there is nothing described in the manual then you should consider washing it with water.

There are 2 main types of solar lights.

The indoor and outdoor solar lights, and these lights might need different ways of cleaning it.

Be sure to find the type of solar light you are going to clean and refer to the manual for any specific instruction before cleaning it thoroughly.

We should understand that there are many types of solar lights.

So, we must consider different ways on how to care for solar lighting to keep up its effects in the long run.

Step 2: Trim Leaves Or Branches Around Solar Lights

It’s no secret that we want to beautify our garden, by surrounding it with different plants and garden lights.

But we also have to make sure that, the plants are not covering the garden lights.

We should remember that our solar garden lights are dependent on the energy that it gets from the sun.

Blocking it will prevent the solar lights, from getting enough energy from the sun for it to work well and serve its purpose.

Trimming the leaves or branches does not only prevent the plants from blocking the rays of the sun which the solar panels transform into electricity, but it also makes the plants look pretty and well trim.

Trimming helps in maintaining the cleanliness and technology of the solar lights, and it also maintains the aesthetic looks of our gardens.

Additional information about maintaining outdoor solar lights is vital.

Please check this out, for more information.

Step 3: Make Sure To Clean The Environment Thoroughly

After considering some specific instructions from the manual and trimming the unnecessary leaves, you should start cleaning the solar panels, whether it’s attached to the solar lights fixtures or placed somewhere else.

Since solar panels are constantly exposed outside, then it is likely to get dusty or muddy.

Dust, debris, or mud can restrict solar panels’ capability to charge in the sunlight.

So it’s very essential, to retain its cleanliness.

This creates another problem, as the solar light might not stay on for a long time even if it’s still dark, for the reason that its battery was not able to store enough energy.

Another issue is that it may shorten the life of your battery, which would cost you money because you need to buy a replacement.

We know that one of the main reasons for using solar lights is saving money.

That purpose would be defeated, if you constantly have to replace the battery.

Cleaning The Solar Panels Attached To The Solar Light Fixture

  • Use soapy water and the soft side of the sponge or soft cloth
  • Apply the water mixed with dish soap and gently wipe the panel with the sponge or soft cloth
  • Repeat on areas that have more sticky dirt until you remove all the stubborn dirt
  • There might be a need to use a soft brush or soft bristles to remove the stubborn dirt
  • There’s a need for you to clean the solar panels more than once a month especially if you live in dusty areas
  • After scrubbing off the dirt from the panel you must make sure to remove the remaining soap from the solar panel
  • Remaining soap from the panel could only attract more dust and dirt so you need to take it off by using a clean, damp towel
  • Another method is that you can run water on the solar panel but you have to make sure to keep away water from the internal electronics of the solar light found under the solar panel inside the bulb or globe of the solar light
  • Remember to always keep the solar panels dry after cleaning it, remaining water might get into the panel that will cause damage to the electronics located inside the globe under the solar panels

Cleaning Solar Panels That Are Detached From The Solar Light Fixture

Solar panels are sometimes installed over the roof.

Since they are much exposed to the sun then it can get very hot during a sunny day so we must consider cleaning it on cooler days or during the afternoon time where there is a very little amount of heat from the sun.

Please consider a different approach to cleaning separated solar panels for safety purposes.

Here are a few simple steps to follow:

  • You must consider your safety first especially if you have to climb to the roof to clean the solar panel
  • One must wear a hard-hat and safety harness to secure oneself when there is a need to go to the roof
  • Aside from the safety protocols in cleaning the solar panels on the roof, there is nothing much big difference when it comes to cleaning agents being used
  • You may use mild detergents for more stubborn dirt such as bird droppings or fecal matter excreted by birds as they are more sticky than dust
  • Avoid using high water pressure as it can cause damage to the solar panels, use normal water pressure instead
  • Always dry the panels after being washed, use a clean, damp towel to remove remaining soap or water

Step 4: Restore Cloudy Solar Panels

Use painting tape or masking tape, as a shield for the plastic part of solar light.

Make use of painters tape, to mark the border of the panel, then cover all the remaining exposed plastic parts of the panel.

Never use tapes that will leave sticky residue on the panel, it will be very hard to remove them.

Make sure that the panel is clean.

If there’s any dirt on it, clean it with mild soap and water.

After making sure it’s clean and dry, you may now apply lacquer by spraying it on the panel.

Use only clear lacquer, to make a shiny effect on the panel.

Make sure to evenly distribute the lacquer, on the surface of the panel, by moving the spray can when spraying.

Apply a single coat only, unless there is still a need for a second coat.

You will need a second coat if the panel is still faded.

After applying a single coat, let it dry for 30 minutes.

Restoring cloudy panels can sometimes become challenging, but with careful planning, things will run smoothly.

Step 5: Clean The Light Globe And Fixtures Thoroughly

Cleaning light globe fixtures is almost the same as cleaning the solar panels.

It does not need much cleaning agents.

Mild soap and water will do the trick.

Prevent water from getting into the light globe, in order to avoid damage to the electronics inside the bulb.

For safety, just use a clean damp cloth, in cleaning the light globe.

If you are cleaning a solar post light, you may remove the screws first and remove the cover of the solar post light.

After removing the cover, you may use a clean damp cloth, for cleaning the inner part of the glass or plastic covering of the post light.

Use a mild detergent, and brush to wipe out the stubborn dirt, covering the top cover of the solar post light.

Avoid brushing the part of the top cover, where the solar panel lies, use a soft cloth instead.

After cleaning the inner and outer part of the solar post light, dry it with a clean towel, and attach the top cover again

The same process for solar garden lights.

Clean the top cover including the solar panel, and remove the cover if it’s removable.

Clean the inside out using a clean, damp soft cloth.

Step 6: Check The Solar Light Fixtures For Damage

We need to check on the solar light fixtures and make sure that there are no cracks or broken glass, that will cause further damage to the solar light.

Damage on the solar light fixture could cause some serious trouble if left unfixed.

It may cause light pollution in some cases.

Light pollution occurs when there is an excessive, invasive, or misdirected use of outdoor light which affects the sky.

Discharging of light from the broken, or top cover of light fixtures causes sky pollution or light pollution in the sky,

So we need to keep an eye on big cracks, on the cover of the light fixture.

This may seem like a small deal for us, but imagine if every household in the entire nation fails to fix the broken top and covers of their solar lights.

Then it will cause massive light pollution, not only in the sky but also in the streets.

This might cause unwanted light glares, that can endanger human lives especially those who are driving.

Excessive glare, hurt our eyes, and that is the reason we need to keep the lights shielded or covered.

Light pollution has many harmful effects, not only on humans but also on the environment, wildlife, energy, and astronomy.

Step 7: Avoid Corrosion By Removing Batteries 

We all know that every material thing is subject to wear and tear.

Batteries are no different, from the things that corrode.

When it comes to battery corrosion, the first thing that you will notice is a white sand-like substance found on the terminals of the batteries.

The things to do in removing the corrosion are as follows:

  • Put gloves on before removing the batteries, and when removed set the batteries, because it might still be put to use later on
  • It’s also essential to put on goggles, to secure our eyes from the possible splattering of residue because we don’t want our eyes to get hit by it
  • When using alkaline batteries, make sure to discard them and use special solar batteries instead, after you finish cleaning the terminals
  • Apply a small drop of vinegar in the corroded area of terminals, and batteries
  • Vinegar aids in liquefying, and counter-attacking corrosion, so applying it is a very practical way to remove the corrosion
  • You may dip a part of a clean towel, into the vinegar if you are uncomfortable about pouring a small amount of vinegar into the corroded area, as this may lead to pouring unnecessary amount of vinegar
  • Utilize a hard-bristled old toothbrush, in scrubbing off the corrosion
  • Do the scrubbing in a circular motion, to easily get rid of the corrosion
  • After exerting all efforts, and still, the corrosion won’t come off, then you may use fine-grit sandpaper to rub off the corrosion

Step 8: Replace Batteries Of  Bad Light Fixtures

Aside from the fact that there is no reason for us to hold on to batteries that are not working anymore, letting the battery stay inside the solar light for a long period, poses more danger than you can imagine.

If you let that dead battery sit inside your solar lights for an extended period, there is a tendency that, the battery will just leak and cause corrosion to the terminals.

Uncontrolled corrosion can cause extensive damage, to the terminal of the batteries compartment.

You can use solar batteries, instead of alkaline batteries since solar batteries are less likely to develop corrosion.

If there is less exposure to the danger of corrosion, then it will save you from repeatedly purchasing batteries, thus saving you money.

If your solar light still does not work, after replacing the batteries, then your solar light might be busted and needs replacement.

Step 9: Check On The Wires And Connection

We are happy with the idea that by using solar light we no longer have to worry about electrical wires since we do not need them to conduct electricity from the source.

However, detached solar panels from the light fixture also exist.

So we need a wire that connects the light fixture and solar panel.

These wires cannot be ignored, as they are prone to possible damage by our pets.

Since there are wires connected, then it will be very essential to keep them buried underground, to keep your pets from chewing them.

We should not only be mindful of our solar lighting, and panels, but also the safety of our pets and other animals.

Step 10: Position Fixtures At The Right Angle

Sometimes, we become so busy enhancing and beautifying our gardens through different solar lights that, we do not notice some of these lights are already receiving very little energy from the sun, due to bad angles.

We forget that it’s very essential for solar lights to get enough sunlight, to serve its purpose, which is to convert the heat of the sunlight into energy, that produces light.

In some cases, we do fail to notice that our plants are already blocking the solar panels, and that’s why it’s not getting enough sunlight.

There are also times that our pets might have hit our solar lights, and panels and they’re accidentally scattered in different spots.

This may result in panels being face down, or positioned in angles where there is less sunlight.

We should keep in mind that, for solar light to reach its greatest potential in producing light, its batteries need to store enough solar energy, by charging it under sunlight for several hours.

Does Rainwater Clean My Solar Light & Panel?

It may seem that rainwater cleanses tangible things, especially those that are left outside the house, like cars, motorcycles, etc.

However, when the rain stops, we can see that there are watermarks left on the surfaces of the cars, or some dirt that’s stuck on the side wheels and sometimes on the sides of car doors.

If this is what rainwater does to our cars, then we can expect that this will be the same effect on our solar lights and panels.

Rainwater does not necessarily clean our solar lights and panels.

Although it may wash some visible mud or dirt, it cannot give us a clean finish.

So we cannot just rely on rain, for washing off the dirt on our solar lights and panels.

We need to become motivated, to keep our light fixtures working for a long time, and avoid expecting other things or humans to do it for us.

Solar light technology has brought us a big favor and comfort, cleaning and maintaining it will be one of our ways to show our appreciation to Solar technology.

Points To Remember

Cleaning the solar lights, and panels will now become very easy, after reading the steps mentioned above.

Nevertheless, we should bear in mind that, although it’s not rocket science to clean the light fixtures, we must recognize that there are many different types of solar lights, and panels that may need a different strategy in cleaning or maintaining it.

We should learn to consider the shape, size, and structure of a particular solar light to clean it thoroughly and safely.

Take note that there are various types of modern solar lights and sometimes there is special handling required for some of these types.

There are two main types of solar lights, and these are outdoor and indoor solar lights.

Examples of outdoor solar lights are; solar string lights, solar deck lights, solar post lights, solar fence lights, solar step lights, and more.

Solar post lights might need more time in cleaning, than solar wall lights, considering its various parts and size.

For indoor solar lights; we have solar shed lights and desk lamps, which are both placed in different parts of the house.

Since solar desk lamps are very convenient to use, and you can bring them anywhere you want.

Because of its cordless feature, it might need more cleansing or disinfection, than solar shed lights which are usually placed in a certain spot of the house.

Cleaning Your Solar Lights

As technology revolutionizes, there has been a constant upgrade on tangible things.

From the simple idea of a light bulb, it has now reached a point, where we can use renewable energy to cater to our lighting needs.

Converting solar power into electricity, to light up our homes and businesses, is a game-changer for us.

The knowledge of how to clean solar lights is quite essential for ensuring our solar lights work to their fullest capacity.

Now is the right time to consider solar lights as the main source of our light be it indoor or outdoor.

As we continue to prosper let us not also forget to spare our mother nature from too much pollution.

Progress is good but it also entails responsibility that we need to fulfill.

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