How to Clean Solar Lights

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If you are reading this blog post, chances are that you have solar lights. Solar lights are a wonderful invention because they reduce your carbon footprint and save money on electricity bills. 

However, the only downside is that they get dirty over time. You might be asking yourself, do solar lights need to be cleaned? The answer is yes! Solar panels are like mirrors that collect dirt and other particles from the atmosphere. If not cleaned regularly, your solar panel will not produce as much electricity as it could have if it was kept clean which makes them less efficient. 

Some people think that they can just wait until it rains and then let the rain wash their solar lights clean, but unfortunately that is not what happens.

The rain will just spread all of the dirt around your light instead of removing it so you need to remove the dirt yourself before it gets too bad and hinders your panel’s efficiency. It takes a regular amount of dark solar panels to produce enough voltage to charge a battery, so if your solar lights are really dirty you might have to charge up your battery for an extra few days or weeks!

In this blog post, we’ll cover how to clean a solar light including using the household items you probably already have at home. Here’s how to clean solar lights! 

Why is Regular Solar Light Maintenance Important?

Source: Energy.gov

As mentioned above, solar lights need to be cleaned just as much as any other mirror. If you have ever seen a solar light at the bottom of a pool or in a puddle after it’s rained, you know how dirty they can get! 

Not only do regular cleanings keep your solar lights running smoothly and producing more power, but it also keeps them looking nice so they can provide to look great for years. This is especially important if you live in a place with lots of rain because the dirt that accumulates from the rain will get your solar lights dirty very quickly.

Depending on how humid it is where you live, you should clean your solar lights at least once after 3 months. If there’s a lot of dust and pollution in the air, you need to clean them even more frequently.

Regular maintenance involves cleaning off any dirt or leaves that have accumulated on top of your solar panel, but it also means keeping an eye out for broken or cracked panels too. Damaged panels mean less efficiency so go ahead and replace any damaged ones when you see them instead of waiting until they stop working completely.

Materials Needed in Cleaning Solar Lights

To clean your solar lights, you will need the following items:

Phillips Screwdriver

Klein Tools 603-4 Screwdriver, #2 Phillips Tip that is Precision Machined, with Cushion Grip, 8-Inch

The type of screwdriver you need will depend on the model of solar light you have. Most solar lights have a flat-head screw so a standard flat head screwdriver should do the trick. There are other types of screws for various models though so make sure you identify the right one before you start unscrewing.

Dry towels

Amazon Basics Quick-Dry Washcloth - 100% Cotton, 12-Pack, White

You want to have towels or cloths that are very soft because you’ll be wiping your solar panel with them. This will avoid scratching the panel itself. A rag, paper towel, microfiber cloth, or an old t-shirt should all work well for this purpose.

Soft brush

ANNIE Wave Soft Brush (Model:2080), Natural wood, boar bristles, wooden brush, won't pull on your hair, detangler, pulls out the knots

In some cases, you might have to use a soft brush to scrub off any dirt or grime. Make sure the bristles on your brush aren’t very stiff because they could cause scratches. Soft nylon bristle brushes are best for this purpose.

Dish soap

Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day Dishwashing Liquid Dish Soap, Cruelty Free Formula, Lemon Verbena Scent, 16 oz - Pack of 3

Dish soap is the most recommended cleaning agent because it’s so gentle on solar panels yet it still effectively cleans them. You can also use dishwashing liquid, dishwasher detergent, or any other similar products.

Distilled water

Nestle, 100585, Distilled Water, 1gal, 6/Carton, Sold As 1 Carton

Distilled water is very important for cleaning your solar lights because tap water contains minerals, salts, and other substances that are harmful to your panel. It may seem like distilled water costs more than regular tap water but if you consider how many times, you’ll be using it (possibly dozens of times), you will realize that it goes a long way.

Sandpaper

3M Aluminum Oxide Sandpaper, Assorted Grits, 9-in x 11-in Sheets (9005NA)

In some cases, you may need to sand down your solar panels to remove any corrosion. The size of the grit will depend on how corroded your panel is so start with a coarser grit and work your way to a softer one until you’ve removed all the corrosion or scratches that need repairing.

Alcohol

Amazon Brand - Solimo 70% Isopropyl Alcohol First Aid Antiseptic for Treatment of Minor Cuts and Scrapes, 32 Fl Oz (Pack of 1)

Rubbing alcohol is a good all-purpose cleaning agent for most solar lights. You can use it to clean off any residue that’s left behind from the dish soap or distilled water you used to clean your panel. It won’t damage your solar panel either so there’s no need to worry about doing more harm than good when using it.

Vinegar

Lucy's Family Owned - Natural Distilled White Vinegar, 1 Gallon (128 oz) - 5% Acidity

White distilled vinegar is another common cleaning agent that you can use on your solar lights. It works well for removing hard water stains and other kinds of stains, so you should definitely keep some around in case the need arises to use it.

Tape

Scotch Magic Tape, 6 Rolls, Numerous Applications, Invisible, Engineered for Repairing, 3/4 x 650 Inches (6122)

You can use any kind of tape for this purpose but it’s best to use clear or masking tape. Masking tape is designed so that the adhesive will be less likely to damage surfaces, so it should work well on your solar lights. There are also specialized tapes made specifically for cleaning surfaces so you can look for those if you want something more specific than ordinary masking tape.

How to Clean Solar Panels in 3 different methods?

Method 1. By Cleaning the Panels and Bulbs

Step 1: Wipe off the panel and bulb clean with a cloth.

Step 2: Scrub the panel with mild soap and water until the dirt is removed.

Step 3: Wipe away any remaining debris or stains with a clean, dry towel.

Step 4: Every 2-3 months, repeat the procedure.

Method 2. By Restoring Cloudy Panels

Step 1: Masking tape or painting may be used to cover the solar lights.

Step 2: Remove any debris and clean the panel with soap and water.

Step 3: Make sure the panel is clean and dry before applying a coat of lacquer.

Method 3. By Removing Battery Corrosions

Step 1: Remove batteries that are displaying indications of corrosion.

Step 2: Pour a few drops of vinegar over the corroded areas.

Step 3: With a toothbrush, remove the corrosion from the metal.

Step 4: To remove corrosion, use fine-grit sandpaper.

3 Things to consider to minimize maintenance

  1. Replace alkaline batteries with solar batteries to get the most out of them.
  2. When applying lacquer, place painter’s tape around the cover to avoid coating other surfaces.
  3. Make sure to drain any water that has accumulated after heavy rain.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Does Rainwater Clean My Solar Light & Panel?

Rainwater does not damage the panels, but it can cause corrosion if left on them too long. To avoid this, make sure to wipe off any rainwater after rainstorms.

How often should solar panels be cleaned?

Cleaning solar panels is very important for maximizing their efficiency. In order to enjoy the best possible results from your solar lights, they should be cleaned every two-three months depending on how often you use them.

Conclusion

So, there you have it, a few useful ways to clean solar lights. It’s always a good idea to have some distilled water or glass cleaner, sandpaper and tape on hand in case the need arises for these items. They’ll help you do a thorough job of cleaning your solar lights without having to worry about harming them. With these tools by your side, you should be able to keep your solar lights looking great while maximizing their efficiency at the same time.

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