With solar technology becoming cheaper, it is common to see people use the sun’s power to harvest energy in multiple ways. One of the most common applications of solar power at home involves installing outdoor solar lights.
If you invested in solar lights, you would have noticed that debris causes them to malfunction or lose their sheen. Since a good scrubbing can get them to look great and keep them in working condition, this blog guides you through tips and tricks on how to clean solar lights.
It is good to clean solar lights during the evenings since the solar panels are uncomfortably hot during the day.
Here’s What You’ll Need
Before you get started, gather the following materials:
- A soft cloth or sponge.
- Pruning shears or clippers (if you have bushes or trees in your yard).
- Bucket of water.
- Soft-bristled brush.
- Liquid soap.
- UV protective polish.
- Fine sandpaper.
How to Clean Your Solar Lights in 6 Easy Steps
Now that you have everything you need let’s get started!
1. Ensure that You Have Enough Light
Solar lights need 4 to 6 hours of sunlight daily to charge the battery. Increasing the amount of light to the panel allows the battery to store more charge, which means that your light will stay powered on longer.
If yours has stopped working or doesn’t run as long as it used to, you should inspect the area around the lights. Using a pair of shears, trim any overgrown trees or bushes that might obstruct light from reaching the solar panel and cause it to malfunction.
2. Cleaning the Solar Panel
Over time, the solar panel becomes dirty and this, naturally, impacts its efficiency. Dirt can decrease a solar panel’s efficiency by up to 40%, so regular maintenance is an excellent idea. The solar panel is generally located at the top of the light to maximize its exposure to sunlight. To clean the solar panel, follow these steps:
- Power off the solar system to reduce the risk of an electric shock.
- Gently wipe the panel with a soft dry cloth or a sponge.
- Dip the cloth in soapy water and wipe gently.
- Use a soft-bristled brush to get rid of stubborn dirt and bird droppings.
Ensure that you are gentle throughout the process because exerting too much force can scratch the plastic protecting the solar panel.
3. Inspect the Battery
A common oversight of solar maintenance is not taking care of the battery. Since it is exposed to the elements, a solar battery is prone to corrosion and needs to be inspected regularly. If there are signs of white powder visible around the battery, clean it off using a piece of cloth and vinegar.
Replace the battery if the white residue becomes a common occurrence and if the light’s running time decreases. A battery typically lasts from 1 to 3 years, so be mindful of when you need a new one.
If your solar light is not powering on, try swapping out the batteries as a troubleshooting method.
4. Check if They are On
Have you tried turning it off and on again? If you recently got solar lights and they aren’t working, you might want to check if they are switched on. Often, there is a small plastic tab on the battery used to preserve its life during storage.
5. Dealing with Cloudy Lights
After your lights have been installed for a few years, they might become cloudy due to exposure to sunlight, heat, and rain. Not only does cloudiness reduce the light output, but it also adversely impacts the look of your yard.
To clean them, follow these steps:
- Clean with a soft dry cloth or a sponge.
- Use a soft-bristled brush to clean up the gaps between the plastic cover and the light’s body.
- Detach the plastic cover and rinse it with soapy water.
- Dry the cover before installing.
If the light still appears cloudy, wet the cover and sand it using circular motions with a 600-grit sandpaper. Keep rinsing the light while you’re sanding it to avoid damage to the cover from the plastic particles.
Additionally, you should apply UV protective polish on the cover to prevent further damage to it.
6. Fixing Cloudy Panels
Taking care of your light’s solar panels is extremely important as they significantly impact its functionality. Like the lights, solar panels are covered with a protective hard plastic that fades when exposed to sunlight.
Here’s what you should do for cloudy solar panels:
- Clean with a dry sponge or a soft cloth to get rid of dirt.
- Wipe it with a damp, soapy sponge.
- Spray on lacquer evenly to restore the shine.
Remember to spray the lacquer evenly to avoid build-up. If the panel still looks cloudy, apply a second layer of lacquer and allow it to dry for half an hour.
7. Clean the Fixtures
Now that we’ve addressed how to clean solar lights, let’s talk about how you should clean the fixtures. Use the soapy water and sponge to eliminate any dirt on the fixture and use a soft-bristled brush to clean hard-to-reach spots.
Make sure to dry out metal fixtures after you’re done cleaning them because moisture can corrode them. For added protection, we recommend using lacquer which protects the metal against the elements.
8. Check the Wiring
To avoid problems in functionality and damage to property, we advise you to check your solar light’s wires. Since wires are exposed to changing weather conditions and can be damaged by birds or wild animals, you should frequently inspect them.
Our Final Thoughts
We provide you with solutions to a greener and a healthier lifestyle.
We recommend that you conduct monthly maintenance on your solar lights to get the most out of them and detect potential problems early. While this might seem like a redundant task, maintenance is essential to prolong your solar light’s life.
This was our guide on how to clean solar lights. Maintenance isn’t more complicated than regular lights and using them helps you reduce your carbon footprint.
Have any questions? Feel free to reach out to us by clicking here [link to contact]. We’d be happy to help!