How Do You Clean Outdoor Lights?

Tips for Cleaning Outdoor lighting Fixtures

Deck and landscape lighting add both style and substance to your home's outdoor living space, backyard, and garden. Creating a charming, fairy-tale type of area, outdoor lights help family, friends, and neighbors to gather around to enjoy each other's company under the stars. But how do you clean outdoor lights and how do you help outdoor lighting last its longest?

Clean outdoor light fixtures create a more attractive backyard area, provide more light to increase safety, and lasts longer than those that are neglected year after year. Outdoor light fixtures should be wiped off whenever needed and actively cleaned at least twice a year. It doesn't require any special equipment or know-how to learn how to clean deck lights. It does, however, require some time and a bit of care careful attention to ensure that your outdoor light fixtures don't become damaged and that no excess water reaches electrical sockets or open wire leads.

Check out these helpful tips for cleaning outdoor lighting fixtures below and let your deck and landscape lighting help illuminate the nights for you!

Learn more easy steps on how to clean outdoor lights and keep your deck post lights clean and bright even on the coast

Cleaning Deck and Outdoor Lights

  • Turn off any power supplies or deck lighting transformers before beginning to clean your outdoor light fixtures.
  • Be sure to wait for any older, incandescent light bulbs in your deck light fixtures to cool down before touching them. Modern, energy-efficient LED deck lights, however, will not become warm to the touch.
  • In a bucket, mix 1-2 gallons of warm tap water with roughly two tablespoons of a mild, liquid dishwashing detergent such as Dawn® or Joy®. If you have hard water in the area that you live, consider using distilled water in place of tap water to eliminate any other minerals which may dry to leave streaks on the light.
  • Dip a clean rag or sponge with soapy water, and use it to wipe down the housing of the light fixtures. Wash and scrub the light fixture housings carefully, to prevent water from running entering the outer housing of deck post lights, deck rail lights, or stair lighting.
  • Lightly rinse the cleaned pieces with water. Another option is to use a separate rag to wipe them clean of soap, and dry.
  • Apply polish or wax to metal parts when they are dry, if desired. Use glass cleaner to clean glass globes or shades.
  • Wipe off light bulbs or tubes with a damp rag. Reinstall the light bulbs or reassemble the deck light fixtures. Turn the power transformer and timer back on after it has been thoroughly dried. Check for any issues.

When cleaning recessed deck light fixtures, you may want to use a long-handled, extendable duster to reach into the recess, and gently knock down or capture dust, cobwebs, and grime. If you don’t have a duster, or you’d rather get up close and personal, you can also wipe down the insides of the lighting units with a microfiber cloth.

Detergents, including dishwashing liquid soaps, can discolor bronze and copper fixtures. Wipe these with a damp cloth rather than submerging them in a bucket and use soap only when absolutely necessary.

Cleaning Genuine Brass or Copper Outdoor Lighting Fixtures

Real brass or copper outdoor (unlacquered) lighting fixtures will naturally tarnish and patina over time. For more rustic-style gardens, backyards, and patios; a tarnished or patinaed light fixture can elevate the look of an entire outdoor space. However, if you would like to keep your true brass or copper light fixtures clear from age; you can create your own safe, natural cleaners from everyday kitchen ingredients.

Lemon and Salt

A classic choice to clear away grime or rust from brass or copper deck lights is to rub the cut side of a lemon along the surface. For a tougher deck light cleaner, mix equal parts table salt, lemon juice, and cornstarch together to make a paste. Rub the paste on the surface with a soft, clean cloth. Mix together a bucket of warm water with a little mild, detergent soap such as dish-washing liquid. Castile soap also works well for removing any excess dirt. Use the soapy water to rinse the paste away. Then, dry softly with a dry cloth.

Baking Soda

Baking soda makes a great, eco-friendly alternative to harsh copper and brass cleaners. Mix two teaspoons of baking soda with a squirt of lemon juice to make a paste. Use the paste, applied to a soft cloth, to polish the surface. For tougher stains sprinkle just baking soda on a damp cloth and then rub over the tarnished area. You can also sprinkle baking soda onto the cut surface of a lemon and then rub. Wash off the paste with a mixture of mild, vegetable-based soap, such as Castile soap, and water. Rinse with clear water and dry with a clean towel.

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