How To Clean Solar Lights?

How To Clean Solar Lights?

September 15, 2020

Solar lights are a serious technological advancement. They have been on the market for many years but continue to provide amazing services and be economical and efficient. Solar lights can be easily placed outside to provide lighting to many areas including your entryway, garden, and even your sidewalk. Once you have a solar light you actually need to do some slight maintenance to keep them working in tip top shape. One of the simplest maintenance is to clean them. Because the solar powered lights have electronic components and are kept outside they need to be cleaned in a certain way to keep their integrity. In order to learn how to properly clean your lights you should know what they are, the different types and locations they might be, how they work, and of course the process of cleaning them. 

What Are Solar Lights?

Solar lights use solar power to create lighting for outdoor spaces. They use a special cell to collect the sun’s rays and convert it into usable energy and create light. They come in many shapes and sizes to accommodate many spaces and needs. Some solar lights even come with motion sensing technology to only turn on when you are in the area. This is perfect for conserving energy and making sure it is available when you need it to serve your needs. This is also a great security feature that can deter animals and criminals from engaging with your home because it can alert the home or business owner that something is present. Overall, solar lights are a light that uses solar energy to provide adequate lighting outdoors and more. 

How Do They Work?

In order to know why you need to clean solar lights you should understand the mechanics of how the light is working. The main functional area of a solar light is the photovoltaic cell or “solar cell.” This cell looks like a glassy dark black or grey area on the light that may have thin lines going throughout it. This solar cell is made up of a crystalline silicon. The cell is divided into positive and negative areas of the cell which are used to create the energy for the light. As the sun light reaches the negative areas of the cell it excites the electrons which are then passed on into the positive areas and eventually into a conductor that transfers the electrons into usable energy to create the light. Because the functionality of the light is dependent on the most possible contact with the cell it is imperative that nothing is disrupting the pathway of light. This means no dirt, debris, or water spots should be accumulating on the solar cell, or else it could begin to not work as well.  

Why Does It Matter If The Light Is Dirty?

It may not seem like a big deal if your outdoor light is dirty, but it can actually have a major impact. Depending on their location and size you may need to clean the light more or less. When dirt or other debris gets on different parts of the light it can have a different impact on its functionality. For example, a solar light that is in a muddy garden or stair solar lights may need to be cleaned more often because the dirt could get splashed or kicked onto the light. If the dirt gets onto the motion sensor it may no longer be able to tell when someone or something walks by and will not be triggered to turn on. If the dirt gets on the photovoltaic cell the solar light may not be able to collect energy from the sun and therefore will not have enough energy to create light.  If the dirt gets on the base of the light there may not be any functional change, but the aesthetics of the light could be altered and the material may break down with excessive wear overtime. 

Hard water is actually one of the largest enemies of the solar light. Hard water build up can occur from typical rainwater, but is most common from municipal water used in your yard for the sprinkler system or garden hose. The minerals in the water leave residue on the lights as it dries which can build up over time and block the view of the cell to the sun. This is a task that needs to be regularly kept up with so that it does not get to a point of no return. While it may be easy to neglect your outdoor lights, if you want them to last you a lifetime and continue to work properly it is essential that they are routinely cleaned. 

How To Clean Solar Lights

Cleaning solar lights is nothing to worry about and is very simple and easy. Because solar lights are electronic it is important that you do not dump any direct water on to the light or have an over saturated towel or sponge. That being said, the very first step is to take a dry or damp cloth or paper towel and simply wipe off the solar cell. If your light is not very dirty this may be the only step you need to take. Remove any visible dirt or scale that has accumulated on your light. If your light still needs more work, use a damp cloth and a squirt of dish soap or mild soap and rub the light cell gently. Then, follow it up by removing the excess with a damp cloth with water. This cleaning routine can be repeated every one to three months as needed.

Now that you know everything you need to know to keep up your solar lights you should be all set. Cleaning up your solar lights is a simple process that takes minimal time and effort. Mark a recurring date on your phone calendar to make it even easier on yourself. That way you will be reminded every so often and you can simply check it off of your to-do list. Taking the time to do these simple steps can keep your lights working well as new and will continue to keep your home lit up through the night. 


Sources:

https://news.energysage.com/the-history-and-invention-of-solar-panel-technology/#:~:text=In%20theory%2C%20solar%20energy%20was,light%20torches%20for%20religious%20ceremonies.


https://www.wqa.org/learn-about-water/perceptible-issues/scale-deposits


https://www.wikihow.com/Clean-Solar-Lights