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Professional Tips to Clean Outdoor Light Fixtures

outdoor lights

Just like you maintain your lawn and clean your furniture and car, it’s also important to perform light maintenance. Lighting, like an outdoor porch light fixture, can easily be exposed to the elements and pick up dust and dirt over time. However, if you properly take care of them, your lights can shine to their true potential for their full-rated lifespan. The best part is that most outdoor lights only require cleaning once or twice a year, so the rest of the time can be spent beautifying and illuminating your garden landscape. Here are some top tips on cleaning and maintaining your light fixture(s) outside.

a man cleaning a light

Why is Light Maintenance Important?

Lights that aren’t maintained won’t look as good or last as long. Dust, bugs, and debris accumulating on a dirty fixture diminish the brightness of the light and your security and ambiance. It can also negatively affect the wiring and cause electrical problems.

All types of outdoor lighting fixtures should be cleaned. Listed below are some popular choices:

Light cleaning is a quick and worthwhile process that allows your lights to function optimally.

man fixing light display

How Do You Clean Outdoor Light Fixtures?

Here’s the best way to perform lighting cleaning:

The Four Step Process

Step 1: Turn off the power source

Turn the light switch off before cleaning. Whenever you’re dealing with electricity, you’ll need to double-check that the power is off. For extra security, you can turn off the circuit breaker.

Step 2: Clean

The light could be hot if it’s been on for a while, so you might need to wait for it to cool down. If the bulb is removable, set it aside for cleaning. Wipe away any dirt or debris on the fixture and bulb with a damp, soft cloth or sponge lightly dipped in mild soapy water. Wring out any excess water in the cloth or sponge, and be careful of the electrical parts. Best Pro Lighting only offers durable, water-resistant products with excellent Ingress Protection (IP) ratings, so you know your lights have a high degree of protection against moisture intrusion.

Step 3: Rinse

Next, lightly dip another cloth in clean water and wipe the fixture and bulb to rinse off any soap.

Step 4: Dry

Thoroughly wipe the fixture and bulb with a dry cloth or allow it to completely air dry before switching the power back on.

What is the Best Way to Clean Oxidized Outdoor Light Fixtures?

Metals oxidize and rust in a natural process when exposed to moisture or oxygen in the air. You can use fine sandpaper, steel wool, or a soft-bristled brush to gently remove any corrosion or rust from metal light fixtures. Alternatively, soak a cloth in lemon juice or white vinegar and apply a light pressure to scrub the rust off. The acidity of white vinegar breaks down the rust. Avoid using any abrasive cleaners or products with ammonia or alcohol. To restore your outdoor lighting and prevent corrosion, you can also apply a metal primer followed by a metal paint. 

pendant light in the dining table

How Do You Clean Glass Pendant Lights?

After turning off the power and removing the bulb, grab a microfiber glass cleaning cloth or foam brush and wipe the bulb and the inside and outside of the pendant light. If you can’t safely reach the light, use a stepladder and a microfiber duster with an extension pole.

If you feel your lights need a deeper clean, you can revert back to the trusted four-step process and fill a bowl with mild, soapy water. Lukewarm water works best. Take a soft, slightly damp microfiber cloth or sponge and wipe down the inside and outside of the pendant light and the chain or cord holding the fixture, being sure to avoid getting the soapy water directly on the electrical parts. 

Next, dip another cloth in a bowl of clean water, wring it out, and wipe down the glass pendant and chord to remove any soapy residue. A damp cotton swab (q-tip) can help with hard-to-reach crevices. Allow the glass pendant light to air dry completely or dry it with a cloth before placing the bulb back in. Drying the glass immediately with a cloth prevents water spots. 

Glass pendant lights are more delicate, so it’s best to stay away from any window cleaners and harsh chemicals and be gentle when cleaning. Best Pro Lighting offers products made with quality materials like strong tempered safety glass.

a hanging light

How Do You Clean Hanging Light Fixtures?

You might need a stepladder to reach hanging light fixtures. Make sure the stepladder is on stable, level ground. Asking a friend or family member to help stabilize the stepladder is always a good idea.  

You might be able to remove the hanging light shade using a screwdriver or by hand. Some hanging light shades can’t be removed. For a hanging light fixture, you’ll also need to do the quick four-step process and wipe it with mild, soapy water, then wipe it with clean water, and let it air dry or use a dry cloth.

outdoor christmas lights

How Do You Clean Outdoor Christmas Lights?

Bright Christmas lights are used outdoors to bring the holiday spirit to life, but how do you keep them sparkling through the festivities? You clean them annually, of course!

Make sure your lights are switched off, unplugged, and untangled, and inspect them for any damaged wires or bulbs. It’s easiest to lay them on a flat, clean, dry surface. Gently run a microfiber cloth, duster, or soft brush along the length of your Christmas string lights. 

If your lights have picked up lots of dirt and dust all year round, you can use a mild soap solution to dampen the cloth. Wring out any excess water to avoid saturating the lights, and use light circular motions to remove more stubborn stains. Don’t wipe the electrical plug-ins with a damp cloth, and avoid using harsh and abrasive cleaners and chemicals that can damage the coatings or wirings of the lights. 

Dip another cloth in clean water and wipe the string lights to remove any soap, or simply spray water from a bottle. It’s important you never immerse the lights in water. Next, use a dry cloth to wipe them dry or let the lights air dry before plugging them back in. Your clean Christmas lights should be completely dry before you store them away to illuminate next year. 

Cleaning light fixtures outside doesn’t have to be difficult with these tips from our Best Pro Lighting team!