Solar lights are the lights that draw their energy from the sun through the solar panels installed in them. There are never-ending benefits that you can get by properly cleaning and maintaining the solar lights, such as increased efficiency of the sunlight being consumed by the solar panel. Therefore, cleaning solar lights on a routine basis is very important to remove any dirt, dust, or grease, which in turn increases the life of the solar lights used.
Cleaning the solar light is a mandatory requirement to get the benefit of the warranty from the manufacturer. Along with that, regular cleaning also helps in increasing the durability and lifespan of the solar lights and provides a long-lasting new look to your garden and house.
After knowing the benefits, you are thinking about how to clean solar lights. Then I’ll provide you with a step-by-step guide that you can follow to clean the solar lights. I will also share some important points or tips that must be kept in mind for proper cleaning and maintenance of solar lights.
Steps on how to clean solar lights
The most important thing to know about how to clean outdoor solar lights is to clean them during the early morning or evening, as they are cool at that time. If you clean the solar lights in daylight, then the sun will absorb all the solution, evaporate the water quickly and leave a smudge on the surface.
Though the cleaning time of solar lights will depend on the environment you live in, you can try to repeat all these steps every 2 months if you live in a damp environment. But if you live in a dry and dusty environment, cleaning them on a weekly or monthly basis is very important to maintain their functioning.
- Collect the pre-requisite tools
Firstly, collect the tools or materials that are required to clean the solar lights. The list of important tools includes:
- Gloves: Use dry and clean gardening gloves to remove the dry dust from the lights. It will also help protect your hands from any cuts and bruises.
- Soft Brush or Sandpaper: Use a soft bristle brush or sandpaper to scrub the dirt stuck on the solar lights. They help you clean the dirt or grease from the tiny areas. You can use 400 and 2000 grit sandpapers to lightly scrub the solar cells.
- Water and detergent: Use a mixture of fresh water and mild detergent to make a solution to clean the solar lights.
- Toothpaste or Vinegar: The most common method to clean the solar lights is to use the appropriate quantity of toothpaste or vinegar mixture.
- Washcloth and Towels: Use the washcloth to rub off the first layer of grease and then use the dry towel to make it properly clean, which will absorb small molecules of water from it.
- Prepare the mixture
The question that instantly strikes after that is, how do you clean solar lights using these tools or materials? There are two types of mixtures that I generally use or prepare to clean the solar lights. Using only water does not help in removing tough stains and then cleaning it with an abrasive brush to clean it is not a good idea. Therefore, it is recommended to use the toothpaste method or a vinegar solution to clean it and make it shine like a new one.
- Toothpaste: Take a pea-sized amount of regular toothpaste and rub it on the panels and light holder in a circular motion. These solar lights can also attract some haze, which is a cloud of foggy dust, dirt, or foggy water and you must be curious to know how to remove haze from solar panels. This haze is on the outer surfaces of the lights and panels and can be easily cleaned using toothpaste.
- Vinegar Mixture: The second type of mixture that I suggest and is most highly recommended by the solar light manufacturer is to take one teaspoon of detergent, half a cup of vinegar, and four cups of water, or half a water-filled bucket. Mix them well in a bucket and use them to scrub the dirt off the solar lights.
- Clean the top cover
After applying either of the two mixtures, remove the top cover of the solar light and use the washcloth to remove the toothpaste or vinegar solution from it. You can easily dip this cover into the bucket filled with clean water and then use the dry towel to make it completely dry. Also, I used to keep it under the sunlight for two to three hours to remove all the small molecules of water.
- Clean the fixture or fittings
After cleaning the top cover of the solar lights, you have to clean the fixture or fitting where the solar lights are installed. The same process goes for cleaning the fixture as used for the top cover, but it can’t be removed. So, you have to be very careful that the water does not go to the battery or any electrical components in it.
- Clean the solar cell
Before cleaning the solar cell, it is important to cover the metal with plastic tape so that no water or solution goes into the metal surrounded by it. To clean the solar cell, I used a soft bristle brush to remove the oil and dirt from it. Also, when knowing how to clean cloudy solar lights, it is important that you always rub them with a smooth hand and in a light manner to avoid any damage.
- Use the spray on solar light panels
The following step will be to learn how to clean solar light panels. The electrical equipment of the solar lights has to be covered while you use the lacquer spray on the solar panels installed in them to make them look like new ones. I always use the spray in small quantities, apply it in a thin layer, and leave it to dry for five to ten minutes.
- Check and clean the battery
The last step in cleaning solar lights is to check the battery points and see if there is any dirt on those endpoints. If I notice any whitish grease on the terminals of batteries where the batteries are placed, this is a sign of white corrosion. To clean them, I used to remove the batteries, put a drop of vinegar on them and rub it off on every area using the soft bristle brush.
Some important points to keep in mind while cleaning the solar lights
While I have followed all the above-mentioned steps to clean the solar lights, here are some tips and important points that are very helpful in increasing the cleanliness and maintenance of the solar lights:
- Replace the batteries
One thing I noticed about my solar lights is that I had been trying to clean the battery corrosion for a long time but had forgotten to change the batteries. The erosion can be cleaned, but there is also a need to replace the battery every 3 to 4 years. Also, I always try to place the solar light in such a position that its battery gets direct sunlight, which helps in increasing its lifespan and efficiency.
- Cut the shrubs near the light
I always try to keep my garden neat and clean and cut the extra shrubs every week. This process is also very useful in solar lights, as when I cut the shrubs or a small or thin branch of a plant that prevents sunlight from reaching the light, it immediately improves the working of the solar light.
- Vinegar solution: The most used solution
I have been using vinegar solutions for many years to clean solar panel oxidation because it is the most recommended solution by professionals or manufacturers and the most sought-after solution to use every time during cleaning. It is a very eco-friendly and cost-effective method of cleaning solar lights at home.
- Avoid using any harsh material
This is the most important key tip that I want to share that you have to remember while cleaning solar lights. You should avoid using any harsh soaps or detergents that contain chemicals while making the mixture. Also, don’t use any abrasive bristle brush, abrasive towel, or cloth to clean the solar lights and panels.
- Rainfall does not help in cleaning
It is a common myth that rainfall will automatically clean the solar lights, but it is not true because rainfall will leave more drains and water spread on the surface. In addition to that, the dry dirt will get more sticky and greasy on the surface of the solar light. But after rainfall, the dirt becomes less thick, which helps with smooth cleaning or rubbing. Therefore, after every rainfall, I will clean the solar lights.
- Changing the positions of the solar light fixtures
The last tip that I have been using for a long time and wanted to share is to change the positions of the solar lights so that they get the maximum amount of sunlight, which depends on the weather conditions.
Cleaning is very important in every place, be it a small bulb or a building. Now that you know how to clean solar lights, including the steps and methods, try to repeat all of the steps and clean all of the solar lights and panels to improve their performance and longevity. All these methods are very cost-effective and can be followed by anyone sitting at home on a Sunday holiday.
For a reference, you can check the following video, the method and materials described here are different, but they are important to get the cleaning done, and layering it to protect it from getting dirty quickly.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How do you clean cloudy plastic solar lights?
It is very interesting to know how to clean plastic solar lights because you can clean them every other day because their top material is covered with plastic and does not corrode with water usage. You can easily use a soap and water mixture to clean the bulb and panel, then clean them with a dry, soft towel. But if it does not look clean, then remove the plastic from it and try to cover the solar light panel with a thin layer of clear nail polish or spray a thin layer of lacquer on the solar light panel.
How do I make my solar lights brighter?
The best way to make your solar lights brighter is to place them in the south or change their position from time to time to attract direct sunlight. You can switch to dark-colored solar lights because dark colors absorb more sunlight as compared to light colors. Apart from that, you should also know how to clean solar panels on outdoor lights by following the required steps and using the essential materials on a time-to-time basis.
What happens when solar panels get dirty?
Solar panels or solar lights will not perform well when they get dirty because they work based on how much sunlight they absorb. The dirt can reduce light production by around 25%. The environmental conditions or the pollution level where the light is being placed will directly impact the solar panel’s performance. This is a clear indication that the solar panels need cleaning.
Is it good to clean solar panels with water?
Yes, it is perfectly fine to clean solar panels with only water and rub them with a soft towel or brush. You can use reverse osmosis (RO) water, rainwater, or tap water that has a low mineral quantity and a hardness that is less than 7.5 mg/dl. Also, the water pressure should not be more than 35 bars at the nozzle end and the temperature of the water should be almost similar to the solar panel temperature at the time of cleaning to avoid any damage or cracks.
Can I use rubbing alcohol to clean solar lights or solar panels?
In normal conditions, you should not use any harsh materials or rubbing alcohol, which can cause damage to the solar lights. However, you can use isopropyl alcohol to remove oil or tough stains from the solar lights that cannot be removed with the help of mild detergent.
Why is this article better than other articles on the internet?
It provides clear-cut steps on how to clean solar lights in different ways and methods. It does not confuse the reader as to which method to use and also suggests some of the best ways to increase the efficiency of solar lights.