How to Clean Skylights

October 11, 2010

Skylights should be periodically cleaned for peak performance. Twice a year is highly recommended. There's more to cleaning than just laying on liquid and wiping it off. Skylights tend to be in hard-to-reach places. The following tips on how to clean skylights will help you do the job safely and sanely.

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How to Clean Skylights on the Inside

Start from the inside.

Put a drop cloth underneath the work area since spider webs, dust and dirt collect in skylights. Make sure you can reach the surface to be cleaned without putting life and limb in danger. A cloth on the end of a broom or long pole is practical. After brushing away the debris, use a clean cloth dipped in a mild soap or ammonia solution to clean the glass or plastic. Many chemicals harm plastic so use something mild. Finish with a soft dry cloth to prevent streaks.

How to Clean Skylights on the Outside

On the outside, rain is an ally but only to a degree since it can also leave debris and spots. For serious cleaning, you'll need to get up on the roof or within workable reach of the skylights.

Keep that inside drop cloth underneath. Rinsing with a hose is a good start. Again, mild soap or diluted ammonia work well for cleaning, followed by a dry cloth or cellulose sponge to finish up. Caked-on items like bird droppings or tree sap respond to good commercial cleaners. Never scrape. Scratches ruin everything. When working outside, consider whether it's wise to do it yourself. Anything that puts you on a ladder or rooftop is potentially dangerous, so call in professional help if you have the slightest inkling the job may be trickier than you expected.

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