Get the most out of your solar lighting with these 3 easy steps
This guide shows you how to clean & care for your solar lights in 3 easy steps. Keep your solar lighting at peak performance with this simple maintenance protocol 2-3 times per year.
1. Clean the solar panel first
If your solar panels are clean, they will collect more solar energy from the sun. Solar panels can be gently cleaned with warm water and a soft cloth. If the dirt is sticky or tough to get off, you can use a little dishwashing liquid with the water.
Use a light touch and not too much water, just a damp non-scratching cloth. If it’s only dusty, a feather duster works fine. After it dries, be sure there are no water spots left. If there are, you can gently buff them out. Clean your solar panels during the cool part of the day, either early in the morning or just before dusk.
2. Clean the light enclosure and fixtures next
The globe, plastic or glass enclosure that houses the LED can be cleaned with the same soft cloth and mild detergent. Be cautious of decorative paints or laminated plastics though. Wiping the light housing keeps the light shining brightly through without any dulling or dimming. Use painters tape to mask any delicate areas.
3. Clear out leaves, brush, and obstructions
Shade is the enemy of solar. One little leaf on one corner of your solar panel will greatly diminish how much energy it absorbs. Regularly trim foliage around the solar panel to insure good sun exposure. Check the orientation of the panel and adjust for the season if needed.
Maintenance tips for peak solar light performance
You don’t need to do these checks as often, depending on the manufacturer’s recommendations. They can help extend the life of your solar lighting.
Check the batteries for corrosion
If the battery on your lighting is replaceable, check it annually for corrosion. Clean the battery and connectors if they’re dirty just like you would AA batteries. If they are corroded, get replacements. Longer life batteries may not be replaceable or removable. Be sure when you replace batteries you are using the proper type, size and mAh rating.
Check your wires & connections
A benefit of solar lighting is not having to run electrical wires all over your yard. There are still wires that may need your attention, however. If your fixtures are separate from the solar panels, a wire connection could be loose from pets, weather, or kids. Check all the connections annually.
Store solar lighting during long snowy winters
If you live in heavy snow areas, you may want to store your decorative solar lighting during the winter to extend its life. There may be other reasons to store your lights, such as landscape work or moving.
If your solar lighting is stored for a long period of time, remove the batteries to avoid corrosion. As I said before, not all batteries are removable, so this only applies to removable types. Put them in small ziplocks and mark the bag with a sharpie so you know what light it goes with in case they get separated. Bundle the lighting and battery carefully together when you store them.
Now you know how to clean & care for solar lights
Following these simple steps will prolong the life and enhance the performance of your lights for years. If you have a solar bike light, these tips are crucial for the best performance as they will accumulate a lot of debris from riding.
See our Decorator’s Guide To A Solar Garden for solar lighting inspiration based on various themes that fit every style.