How to Clean Outdoor Light Fixtures (Tips and Tricks for a Brighter Home)

Clean Outdoor Light Fixture

Outdoor light fixtures are an essential part of any outdoor space. They provide illumination and add to the overall aesthetic appeal of your home. However, over time, outdoor light fixtures can collect dirt, dust, and other debris, making them look dull and dim. Regular cleaning is necessary to keep your outdoor light fixtures looking their best. So, if you’re wondering how to clean outdoor light fixtures effectively, this guide is for you.

Why Clean Outdoor Light Fixtures?

The benefits of regular cleaning for your outdoor light fixtures are numerous.

Improved lighting performance

A build-up of dirt and grime on your outdoor light fixtures can reduce their lighting performance. Cleaning them regularly ensures that the light can shine through unobstructed, providing optimal lighting for your outdoor space.

Extended lifespan

Dirt and debris can also cause damage to your outdoor light fixtures over time. Regular cleaning helps prevent this build-up, thus extending the lifespan of your fixtures. This saves you money in the long run by avoiding costly replacements.

Enhanced appearance

Clean light fixtures can significantly improve the overall appearance of your outdoor space. They will look brighter, newer, and more appealing to the eye. You’ll be surprised at how much of a difference it can make.

General Cleaning Tips for Outdoor Light Fixtures

Follow these general tips to ensure the best results when cleaning outdoor light fixtures:

  • Turn off the power supply before starting to avoid any accidents.
  • Use appropriate cleaning tools such as soft cloths, sponges, and mild detergents.
  • Avoid abrasive materials that can damage the fixtures’ finish.
  • Regularly clean and maintain your light fixtures to prevent heavy build-up.
  • Check for any damaged parts and replace them if necessary.

The supplies you’ll need

Gather the following supplies before starting the cleaning process:

  • Soft cloths or sponges
  • Mild detergent or dish soap
  • Warm water
  • Screwdriver or appropriate tool for removing parts (if applicable)
  • Soft brush or toothbrush (for stubborn stains)

Cleaning Process for Metal Light Fixtures

If your outdoor light fixtures have metal components, follow these steps for a thorough cleaning:

Step 1: Remove the globes, shields, or grills

First, remove any removable parts such as globes, shields, or grills. This will make it easier to clean the entire fixture without any obstructions. Globes and shields can be removed by gently unscrewing them from the fixture. You may need to use a screwdriver or other appropriate tool to remove the grills. Some older light fixtures or coach lamps may have screws or clips that must be loosened before removing the parts.

Step 2: Prepare a cleaning solution

The cleaning solution removes dirt and grime from outdoor light fixtures. You can create a simple cleaning solution by mixing mild detergent or dish soap with warm water in a bucket. Other alternatives include using an all-purpose cleaner or a vinegar and water solution. Some light fixtures may have specific cleaning product recommendations, so check the manufacturer’s instructions before using any solutions.

Step 3: Wipe down surfaces

Dip a soft cloth or sponge into the cleaning solution and gently wipe down all metal surfaces of your light fixture. For hard-to-reach areas, you can use a toothbrush or soft brush. Avoid using abrasive materials that can scratch or damage the finish of your fixtures.

Step 4: Rinse and dry

Once you have wiped down all surfaces, rinse any remaining cleaning solution with clean water. Use a soft cloth to dry the fixture thoroughly before reattaching any removed parts. This step is crucial, as leaving moisture on the fixture can cause damage or rust over time.

Cleaning Process for Non-Removable Light Fixtures

If your outdoor lamp cover fixtures have non-removable parts, follow these steps for a safe and effective clean:

Step 1: Turn off the power supply

The power supply to the light fixture should always be turned off before beginning the cleaning process. Flip the circuit breaker or switch off the power at the main panel to ensure safety. This will prevent any accidents from occurring during the cleaning process.

Step 2: Prepare a soapy water solution

Mix warm water with a small amount of mild detergent or dish soap in a bucket or spray bottle. This gentle solution is safe to use on most materials and won’t cause any damage to your fixtures. You can also add a few drops of essential oils for a pleasant scent. The cleaning solution should be enough to cover the entire fixture.

Step 3: Wipe down the housing

Using a soft cloth or sponge, dip it into the soapy water and gently wipe down the surface of the fixture. Make sure to clean all areas thoroughly, including any hard-to-reach spots. Let the solution sit for stubborn dirt or stains for a few minutes before scrubbing with a soft-bristled brush.

Step 4: Scrub stubborn stains

You may need to use a little more elbow grease for tougher stains or grime buildup. Take a soft-bristled brush and gently scrub the affected areas with the soapy water. Be careful not to apply too much pressure, as this can cause damage to the fixture.

Step 5: Rinse and dry

Once you have finished cleaning, rinse off all remaining soap residue with clean water. Then, use a soft cloth or towel to dry the fixture completely. Leaving any moisture behind can lead to rust or corrosion, so ensure it is thoroughly dried before turning the power back on.

Read Also How to Dye Outdoor Cushions

Cleaning Tips for Specific Materials

Different materials may need specific cleaning methods to avoid any damage. Here are a few tips for cleaning common back porch light fixture materials:

Copper fixtures

Copper fixtures can develop a beautiful patina over time but also require regular cleaning to maintain their shine. To clean copper light fixtures, cut a lemon in half and dip one of the halves into salt. Use this mixture to scrub the copper surfaces gently, then rinse thoroughly with water and dry.

Glass or acrylic fixtures:

It’s best to use a glass cleaner or a solution of vinegar and water for glass or acrylic fixtures. Spray the cleaner onto a soft cloth and wipe down all surfaces, avoiding spraying directly on the outdoor glass light fixtures. Vinegar is an excellent natural cleaning agent that can remove stubborn dirt and grime.

Plastic fixtures

Plastic fixtures are relatively easy to clean with mild detergent or dish soap mixed with warm water. Use a soft cloth or sponge to wipe down all surfaces and rinse thoroughly before drying. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive materials on plastic fixtures, as they can cause damage to the surface.

Regularly cleaning your outdoor light fixtures improves their appearance and helps them last longer and function better. With these simple steps and tips, you can keep your outdoor space well-lit and looking its best.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the outdoor light fixture base waterproof?

Yes, most outdoor light fixture bases are waterproof. They are usually designed to withstand weather conditions like rain, snow, and heat. You can check the IP rating to ensure your outdoor light fixture is waterproof. This rating indicates the degree of water and dust resistance that a fixture has.

How to remove old can light housing?

Removing old can light housing is easy. First, you must turn off the power supply to avoid accidents. Then, remove the bulb and trim from the fixture. You should be able to see screws or clips holding the housing in place. Remove these screws or clips and gently pull out the housing. If there are wires attached, make sure to disconnect them carefully.

How to clean outdoor string lights?

Cleaning outdoor string lights is a simple process. First, unplug the lights and remove them from their location. Then, use a mild soap solution or vinegar solution to wipe down the bulbs and wires. Make sure to dry them thoroughly before plugging them back in. You can also use a soft cloth or brush to scrub away dirt or grime gently.

Are the flush mount porch light fixtures easy to install?

Yes, flush-mount porch light fixtures are usually easy to install. They come with mounting hardware and instructions that make the installation process straightforward. The key is to ensure the power supply is turned off before installing.

Can you clean lenses with vinegar?

Yes, vinegar can be used to clean light fixture lenses. Mix equal parts of white vinegar and water in a spray bottle and use a soft cloth to wipe down the lenses. Make sure to dry them thoroughly before using the light fixture again.

What is the best rust remover for light fixture?

The best rust remover for a light fixture will depend on the material the fixture is made of. You can use a commercial rust remover such as WD-40 or vinegar mixed with baking soda for metal fixtures. You can use a mild soap solution and a soft cloth to gently scrub away any rust from plastic or glass fixtures.

How do you shine a light fixture?

To shine a light fixture, ensure it is clean and free of dirt or dust. Then, use a metal polish or vinegar solution to buff the surface of the fixture gently. Make sure to dry it thoroughly after polishing. You can also gently use a soft cloth to rub away any stubborn spots or stains. Finally, turn on the light and see how it shines.


In this guide, we have covered the basics of how to clean outdoor light fixtures. We hope that by following these simple steps, you can keep your outdoor lights looking as good as new for years.

However, cleaning your outdoor light fixtures is not just about maintaining their appearance. It also ensures the proper functioning of the lights and keeps them shining bright.

Regular cleaning can prevent the buildup of dirt and debris that can affect the amount of light emitted from the fixtures. It also reduces the risk of potential safety hazards such as electrical malfunctions or fire outbreaks.

Aside from regular light cleaning, keep in mind to inspect your outdoor light fixtures for any signs of damage. If you notice any cracks, loose wires, or other issues, it is best to get them fixed by a professional before cleaning them.

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