All of the solar lights have been mounted, hung or positioned. At night, they shine or change colors- giving the garden a distinctive look. Midnight walks are soothing and fun. However, lately the lights are not as bright as they were.
They’re not wearing out already. The lights will last for many years. It’s not hopeless. Once cleaned, they will shine as brightly as they did from the store.
The first thing to do is an overall inspection of the solar lights. Take notes on each light fixture to make sure what the problem is. Armed with this information, it’s time to clean the solar lights to restore the garden’s nighttime beauty.
This is the most common problem covering the small solar panels. Simply wipe off with a clean, damp soft cloth. If the fixture has a removable top, as in those staked in the ground, remove it and clean the inside as well.
Clean the outside of all the fixtures at least once a week to keep them in optimum condition.
Caked on dirt
The lawn mower and weed eater are notorious for tossing grass and dirt onto fixtures. Heavy rain also kicks up dirt near ground level lights. Sometimes it’s not possible to clean them right away, and by the time cleaning is possible, the dirt is caked on.
Don’t throw the fixtures away. Get a bucket, some warm water, mild soap and purchase a soft child-sized toothbrush. Wet the dirt with a soft, damp cloth and wait a few minutes. Dampen the toothbrush and begin gently scrubbing to release the dirt. It will come off with minimal effort.
Take care not to get the batteries wet while cleaning is accomplished. Check the device to see if the battery (usually the size of a camera battery) can be removed and set in a small dish and replaced.
Everyone loves songbirds, but not what they leave behind. In San Antonio, grackle birds are well known for having “atomic poop.” They coat cars parked downtown, and in the Texas sun a paint job can be done in in a single day.
Cats and dogs who are marking their territory will spray anything in sight. The ammonia from their urine has destroyed more than one fence.
Approach this problem almost the same as with caked on dirt. Wear gloves to protect your hands when handling animal waste. Soak and gently scrub as before.
Unfortunately, there isn’t much one can do to discourage birds from being near the fixtures except to eliminate any branches near them. Sprays are available to discourage dogs and cats.
Regular cleaning and care will keep your new solar garden lights operating for years. The nighttime garden can be enjoyed by everyone.