Cleaning Solar Panels: Why? When? How?

As long as your panels are clean and are not covered by different droppings and dirt, you can be sure of long-lasting effectiveness. However, you should know how to handle the cleaning process before you venture into cleaning your panels; otherwise, you’ll get them damaged. Sometimes, cleaning may become disgusting as a result of sticky bird droppings. Nevertheless, you can protect them with solar panel bird proofing.

Why Do You Need to Clean Solar Panels?

Contrary to the general belief that rain will wash solar panels, and that you don’t need to wash your panels, panels need washing. Most people see cleaning solar panels as a needless, or unreasonable activity because they rely on rain to do the washing. Know this: if your solar panels aren’t cleaned, they won’t stop working. Nevertheless, you should be aware that not cleaning your solar panels will reduce efficiency. While rain will wash away substances that have accumulated on the panels, it will not be as effective as a manual clean. Moreover, rain doesn’t fall all the time. If you live in a particularly dusty and polluted area where it doesn’t rain too well, it can significantly impact your panel’s efficiency.

When Should You Clean Your Panel?

Generally, weekly cleaning of solar panels is enough to keep your panels functioning effectively. However, in some cases, the time interval between each clean could be affected by the amount of dust in your environment.

And when you think about the most suitable time to clean your solar panel, morning or in the evening would be best.

The reason why it is not advisable to clean your solar panel in the afternoon is that, during the day, panels get heated by the sun. Apart from you getting burnt by the sun, panels could also get damaged if they are washed when they are hot. When panels are hot their glasses heat up which could result in thermal stress if water is applied. The end result is breakage.

How to Clean Solar Panels

As long as you have the right tools to clean solar panels effectively the exercise is not entirely difficult. All you need to do is get a ladder that will take you as high up as where the panel is. Ensure that you have a low-pressure sprayer, and a gentle scrubber or brush that won’t mark or scratch your panel. You also need a mild soap with no chemicals to avoid degrading the panels. Afterward get a bucket of warm water, mix your mild soap in it, and dip your scrubber in. Rinse the solar panel’s surface using the low-pressure sprayer, then remove your scrubber from the warm soapy water and gently scrub the panel.  After removing all the debris, rinse the panel ensuring that there is no soapy water left. Finally, allow the panel to dry. It is as simple as that and your panel will function with whole new effectiveness.

Tips for Solar Panel Cleaning

an image of a man cleaning a solar panel

When it comes to cleaning solar panels, there are cleaning kits available specifically for the purpose. In these kits, you will get a wiper, biodegradable soap, and a small brush with a long handle. Moreover, an instructions manual is given on the bottle. All you are required to do is, dip the brush in the bucket and wipe the panels gently with it. You can use a soft brush or plain water to remove the built-up dirt on the panels.

But before you start, here are a few tips to consider while cleaning solar panels.

  1. Don’t use an abrasive soap or sponge for cleaning panels as it may scratch the glass. Always go for a soft rag or biodegradable soap.
  2. If you clean often, then running a hose along the panel will be sufficient to remove the dust.
  3. Use a wiper with a long handle for panel cleaning while standing on the ground for the sake of your safety. 
  4. If you have to get on the roof for cleaning, then make sure to take proper care because the top may get slippery and slide you down. Keep safety ropes or harness with you for support. 
  5. Don’t let the dirt build up because it can affect the efficiency of the solar panels. A dust-free panel absorbs more sunlight than otherwise.
  6. Depending on the type of panel you use, you might be cleaning it weekly or monthly. The manufacturer can advise you better on this. 

Tips for Solar Panels Maintenance 

One-time cleaning of panels is not enough. You need to do extra measures to maintain the system. 

  1. Keep checking your solar panels regularly and make sure green lights are flashing. 
  2. Note down the day-to-day performance of the solar panels to compare the amount of energy being produced. Make notes of the days when it is cloudy. 
  3. If you are not able to clean the system by yourself, it is suggested to hire cleaning services for the purpose, or installing automated cleaners


Solar panels are very soft and delicate to handle. As such one must be careful when cleaning them. Do not be too hard on your panels.  Even if there are sticky droppings on your panels, you still want to tread with caution. Also avoid the use of high pressure jets when washing your solar panels.