How To Clean Solar Lights [Step By Step Guide]

By Kami Turky

Last Updated:

Unfortunately, weather conditions such as rain, humidity, and even snow can negatively impact your solar lights and reduce their lifespan.

The accumulating dirt and debris won’t only make your solar lights look hazy and faded.

In fact, it will actually rust the metal parts of your lights and damage the surface of the solar panel, resulting in less power generation. Thus, reducing their running time and brightness.

But there’s some good news: In today’s article, we’ll show you an easy way to efficiently clean your solar lights and bring them back to life.

So, without further ado, let’s get down to how to clean solar lights.

What To Use To Clean Solar Light Panels?

1. Sandpaper or a soft brush

If it has been a long time since you last cleaned your solar light, it may have some accumulated debris and dirt that will be a bit harder to remove using a sponge.

So, for this reason, we need to use sandpaper or a soft brush to scrub off any stubborn dirt on your solar lights.

2. Dish Soap or mild detergent

Obviously, we need a detergent to help us loosen the dirt, so we can easily wipe it off.

For cleaning solar lights, we will use a normal dishwashing liquid, as it is frequently a better choice as a household cleaner than other harsh chemicals that may damage your solar light or the panel’s internal electronic parts.

3. Dry cloth or towel

Drying out your solar lights after cleaning is extremely crucial to prevent any sort of damage to the lights.

So, we need to use a dry cloth or towel to completely dry out the lights after cleaning.

4. Clear coat spray

A clear coat spray is a transparent paint that goes over your base coat and protects it from damage and UV rays. 

It also gives a glossy finish that deepens the base color quality and lets you easily buff out small scratches.

So, We are using this spray to make our solar cell bright as it used to be.

How to clean solar lights step by step?

Step 1: Prepare your water mixture

Mix some non-abrasive detergent or soap (½ teaspoon) with 2 cups of water and ¼ cup of vinegar to make a gentle but highly effective solution for your panels

ٍStep 2: Remove the top cover and clean it

The second step is to remove the top cover from the base of your solar light.

Then use the kitchen sponge and the water mixture to wipe the top cover.

Once you are done cleaning the cover, you need to wash it with water to remove any soap residue, as this residue can be a little sticky, which can attract more dirt.

Just make sure not to get any water on the side of the lid because that’s where the battery and electronics are.

After washing the top cover, it’s time to use the towel to carefully clean the top and leave it in the sun for a few hours to make sure there is absolutely no water residue that can compromise your light’s performance.

Related Article: 12 Reasons Why Your Solar Lights Not Working & How To Fix

Step 3: Clean the fixture

The next step is to clean the fixture of the solar light.

All you need to do is gently slide your kitchen sponge through the surface.

Note: If you are using the scrubby side be sure to use light pressure, so you don’t damage the solar panel or any other part of your pathway light.

After you finish cleaning the fixture, wash it with water, dry it with your towel, and leave it in the sun for a few hours.

Step 4: Tape off the solar cell

So now that we have everything nice and clean, and before we start cleaning our solar cell, we are just going to tape it off. 

This is going to protect the metal or plastic surrounding the panel from getting scuffed up as we perform the next steps.

Step 5: Clean the solar cell

After we covered the metal, we are going to fully wet down both the solar cell and our sandpaper.

Next, it’s time to use the sandpaper or the soft brush to send away the top layer of grime on the solar cell. 

Note: Make sure that you are using the sandpaper with light pressure as it’s important to keep everything nice and moist to prevent any scratches.

Then, take a little bit of alcohol and just give it a final wipe down. This does a great job at removing any leftover dirt and oil.

Step 6: Clean the cloudy solar light panels

Before we spray our solar cell we need to trace out a square the same size as the panel and cut that out and use this as an overspray protector.

Here we come to the most important step in this whole project, you want to make sure that when you are spraying the clear coat that you do nice short bursts of light sprays, you don’t want to be too thick or heavy.

After spraying it, let it dry for five minutes then you will see the solar cell looks great.

Step 8: Clean Solar Light Battery Terminals

Finally, check if the batteries of your solar lights have white dust around them. If so this means that your batteries suffer from white corrosion, and you need to remove that white powder surrounding the connecting terminals with sandpaper.

In some cases batteries need to be replaced, In general, the batteries in outdoor solar lights are intended to last 3-4 years before needing to be changed.

Related article: Can I Use Higher mAh Battery In Solar Lights?

Last Words

As promised, in this article we provided you with an easy and actionable step by step guide on how to clean your solar lights.

In the end, we hope you enjoyed this article as much as we did.

Do you have any questions about restoring solar lights?

If so, please share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.

Kami Turky

Kami is a solar engineer with nearly a decade of experience in researching, testing, and reviewing various solar products. He has also provided technical consultation to several organizations on the best ways to incorporate solar energy into their operations. When he’s not busy helping others find the best solar solutions, Kami enjoys spending time outdoors, hiking, camping, and exploring the natural wonders of his home state.

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2 thoughts on “How To Clean Solar Lights [Step By Step Guide]”

  1. The best and most sensible advice on the internet on how to clean solar lights. Though I use Bowden’s Own “Three Way” and “Clay Rubber” to remove the contaminants on the panel then spray with clear coat. The soapy water and sandpaper also does a great job. I have also used soapy water and a magic eraser to do clean them also.
    Great article.


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