Most people decide to install the outdoor solar lights, the ones that will light up their gardens, backyards, pool area, or pathways, so it’s necessary to know how to maintain them properly and keep them clean all the time. They are exposed to different weather conditions, from the sun to rain, storm, and snow, so they need to be checked regularly in order to make sure they will perform as expected, with full capacity.
The fact is solar lights that are placed outside will become filthy after some time, and that dirt will reduce their ability to generate the sun’s energy into electricity. Because of that, they will be less efficient for sure. To prevent that from happening, here is a detailed guide on how to clean solar lights properly.
Solar light cleaning guide
Usually, there are three parts of solar lights that need to be cleaned. The most important one is a solar panel that dictates how much sunlight will be transformed into usable energy. If there is too much dirt, or the plastic that’s covering the panel is all cloudy, then it is definitely the right time for regular maintenance. Then there is the battery that can be subject to oxidation thanks to the moisture remained on solar lights, and the light cover, as the third part, that also needs some attention. Given that this piece is usually made of plastic or glass, it can also become filthy or stained after some time, so it won’t project as much light as it actually can. So here are the steps you can take in order to make sure every part is super clean and ready to deliver what it is supposed to deliver.
1. Cleaning the solar panel
Solar lights are almost always located on top of the solar lights since that is the most exposed place. They need to be placed in a way they can accumulate all the sunlight they can, and then transform it to the energy we can use. Given that solar panels are super sensitive, they are covered with the plastic part than can protect them, but at the same time allow them to do their job. But that plastic can become dirty and cloudy thanks to the fact the light is placed outside, and lower the efficiency rate of that particular solar light.
In order to clean the solar panel properly, you need to brush off the dirt that’s on top of it with a paper towel or some cloth, and then to wipe it thoroughly. If you notice some stains or cloudiness that simply won’t go away, you can use a bit of dish soap and water, but make sure to rub it gently. And don’t forget to remove the rest of the soap with the clean and dry cloth.
2. Cleaning the battery
Yes, solar lights are designed in a way that allows them to be resistant to all weather conditions and to work well despite the snow, rain, storm, or extreme heat. But, if they are in a very humid environment, or they are exposed to heavy rain, it may happen the wires or the battery inside start corroding. That’s because of the moisture accumulated inside of the solar housing.
You need to check your battery from time to time and see if there are any traces of white powder. That’s corrosion, and you need to brush it off immediately. It should come off easily, but if that’s not happening, then use the fine-grit sandpaper. Don’t forget to clean the housing of the battery as well, and to check if it’s dry. It needs to be completely drily before replacing the battery in order to provide a safe and corrosion free area.
3. Cleaning the light cover
Every solar light has a glass or plastic cap that serves as a protection of the LED light. Since this part is surrounded by nature and exposed to different weather conditions too, after some time, debris or dirt will find its place on its surface or inside of the cover. Because of that, the emission of light will be weaker, so you need to clean it from time to time with a soft sponge and water. If it’s needed, you can also use dish soap, just like when cleaning a solar panel. Depending on the climate of the area you live in, you will have to do this more or less often. If, for example, you live in a place that’s surrounded by sand or has a lot of rainy days, you should clean your lights at least once a month.
How often should solar lights be cleaned?
There are no strict rules when it comes to this question, but, given that these lights are placed under the open sky, and that they are disclosed to every weather condition, it would be good to determine some kind of regular cleaning schedule. Solar panels should be checked and maintained quite often, for example, once a month just to make sure they are working properly. Batteries are not so demanding, so you can subject them to cleaning once in three months, and the light caps are somewhere in the middle regarding this topic. You should monitor their condition and do the work when it’s needed. That will be every two months, on average.
How much time does cleaning solar lights take?
Those who do this kind of work regularly say it takes around 20 minutes to clean one light completely. But you need to bear in mind that in order to reach that speed you will need some practice and some time. Also, you will be pleased to hear that you will need just some basic tools like a screwdriver, soft brush, and paper towel. But solar lights can be very different, design and construction-wise, so make sure to have the instruction on how to disassemble and reassemble it without making a mistake.
Why is it important?
Let’s sum up things. It is crucial for you to clean each part of your outdoor solar light because of multiple reasons. First of all, you want your solar panel to accumulate and generate as much sunlight as possible into the electricity. If it’s dirty, it won’t be able to do that with full capacity. Second of all, you want your light to shine as bright as it can. In order to make sure it does its work, you have to make the light cover clean and non-cloudy. And the third thing is the battery. You should protect it from corrosion, so it has a long lifespan. So make sure this part is always clean too, and more importantly, dry.
It’s really not so hard to keep your solar light functional and clean. It won’t take much time, and you don’t need some extra tools to do it properly. Don’t be lazy, it will save you a lot of money if you do this once in a while, and it will provide you with good and bright lighting in your backyard.
Just have in mind that the average lifespan of a battery is two years, so you will need to replace it probably after that period of time. Also, in order to keep the solar panel well protected, you can apply clear nail polish on top of the plastic that covers it. That will keep this part safe from UV light.