Cleaning is not always the most exciting task but is a necessary evil. For something to function to the best of its ability, it needs to be clean. This applies to everything from your coffee maker and car, to the lawnmower and your solar lights.
Keeping solar lights clean is just as important to their function as the sunlight is. It is easy to forget or put off cleaning them because they are just lights. That, or assuming that the rain will take care of it.
The fact is, there is no way for solar lights to be the best they can be unless they get cleaned. Solar lights are resilient and strong, but they can only take so much dirt and grime before they give out.
With that said, it does not take a lot of work to keep your solar lights in great condition. So long as you handle them with care and focus on the spots that count, you can get it clean as could be in just a couple of steps.
There’s a wide range of reasons that you should clean your solar lights. But, the single most important reason that you should clean your solar lits is that dirty solar lights simply do not work as well as clean ones. Much like solar light placement, cleaning them properly also affects how much power they will get.
Solar lights work by generating power through small solar panels. When the panels are dirty, batteries that power the solar light will not get nearly enough energy from the sun. Think of the dirt and grime almost like a sheet. It covers the panel and sure, some light will get in through the sheet, but not as much as if you took it off.
The longer that you let them go without being cleaned, the worse they function. Not to mention, it can take a lot of time off of a solar light’s life if it is constantly dirty. Give it a good cleaning, however, and it will get right back to becoming that efficient little light you fell in love with.
How Do I Know When I Should Clean My Solar Lights?
If you routinely check up on your solar lights, you will easily notice that it is dirty and that you should clean it. However, how frequently they become dirty is a different story altogether that depends on a few key factors.
Are your solar lights heavily exposed to the elements? Depending on the solar lights and what they’re made of, the rain or snow may play a role. For instance, if the lights have components that could rust from moisture and you are in a rainy and humid environment, check and clean them often.
If you live somewhere that experiences all four seasons each year, you may need to clean more often as well. Going from blistering heat and dryness to cold, windy snow then a few months of rain can put solar lights through a lot of stressors that can damage their components. It’s not more than they can handle, but it does mean they will need to be cleaned more frequently.
What kind of environment do you live in? Where you live can determine what kind of wear and tear your solar lights may go through. If you live in a windy and dry climate, your solar lights might take on more dirt. Whether it be debris from the road or dirt from the desert or woods, they are more exposed when in that kind of climate.
However, there is no ironclad rule to follow when it comes to cleaning your solar lights. It is just a matter of looking at the solar panels that power the lights and seeing whether sunlight is still reaching the panel or if dirt is blocking the light.
How Do I Clean My Solar Lights?
Cleaning your solar light is actually not that hard at all and can be accomplished in just a few steps. Each solar light should not take long to clean and if done right, will work better after. Follow these steps and you can get your solar lights clean and working to their fullest potential.
Where Do I Begin?
Even though many solar items are highly water-resistant, it is still a good idea to power it down before cleaning. That way, if water somehow gets through, you won’t get shocked or destroy the light altogether.
After that, refer to the owner’s manual. Always make sure you check to see if there are any specific cleaning methods they recommend for your specific lights. If you can’t find the original owner’s manual, you can almost always find it online. But for the most part, cleaning any solar lights follows a similar procedure that only requires a hose and a bucket of soapy water.
In some cases, you may need to use a brush and glass cleaner, but water is the key to cleaning solar lights. Before you get started, get your hose ready and fill a bucket with soapy water.
- Dust The Panels Off
Get up close and dust the panels on the lights off. You won’t be able to get everything, but it will save you a bit of time later on.
- Hose Them Down
If you’re in range, spray the lights with a hose. Don’t get too close or overspray. If there is not much dirt and debris to begin with, the hose may be all that you need. More likely though, you’ll need to go back in for scrubbing.
- Detail Them
After you hose them down, go check the lights. You probably got rid of a lot of the dirt, but there is probably some left. Take a rag, sponge, or pad, soak it in the soapy water then gently wipe the rest of the grime you can see off of the lights.
For this step, you don’t always need to use soap. If your specific solar lights manual says not to use soap, avoid it entirely.
- Check the Batteries
If there is one thing besides dirt that is a death sentence for solar lights, it is battery corrosion. The batteries in your solar light are of course solar-powered, but they are useless if they are corroded. If you begin to notice green or white powder on the battery that means it has some corrosion going on.
You can remove this corrosion by gently brushing it off. If there is too much corrosion and it cannot be brushed off, scrape it off if you can without further damaging the battery. Too much corrosion however means that it may need to be replaced.
What Should You Remember?
As you can see, cleaning your solar lights is not a difficult task. You can fully clean your solar lights in just a couple of minutes. However, there are a few things to keep in mind that can make all the difference.
If it is a season with lots of dust and dirty wind, you will need to keep up with cleaning. It also may not be the best time to spray your solar lights with water as the moisture can cause more dust and dirt to collect on them. The same goes for leaf fall, hail, rain, and extreme weather.
The Cleaning Product:
Don’t use strong chemicals to clean them. In some cases, the very most you should use is glass safe cleaner. That is only if it is made of glass, but soapy water can typically do the trick. Avoid bleach or anything like it. You may not even need the soap if the water is enough.
Rain doesn’t do it:
The rain may wash away some of the dirt, but not all of it. Rain can definitely make the job easier for you, but you’ll still need to go in to wash it more thoroughly.
Cleaning solar lights in extreme weather is not a good idea. If it is too hot or too cold, you might cause damage to your lights. If it is moderate to slightly cooler weather its usually fine to clean them. If you are able to clean them in the morning somehow when it is still cool, that would be perfect.
In closing, cleaning solar lights is a small chore with a big payoff. Having solar-powered lights is a great thing, and cleaning them helps you get the most out of them. It takes very little time to keep them in the kind of shape they were in when you first installed them at your home.