How to clean solar panels safely and efficiently

Preserve your solar panels for the future by establishing a regular cleaning routine

Solar Panel System on Single Home Roof -
(Image credit: Philippe Gerber via Getty Images)

Solar panels are a great way to generate energy which can be used to power your home and reduce its reliance on your energy provider, making it a great eco-home improvement. Therefore it's important that you know how to clean them to optimize their efficiency.

Cleaning solar panels can be quite simple, whether you hire professional cleaners or do it yourself. The approach you choose will vary based on surface soil buildup, geographic location, environmental conditions, and the type of pollutants affecting them. 

While snow and rain can remove some of this buildup naturally, maintaining clean solar panels is a must if you want them running effectively for years to come. 

How to clean solar panels 

It's not uncommon for solar panels to gather dust and bird droppings, but it's not so difficult to clean them by following some simple steps: 

Prepare & Plan

Solar panels

(Image credit: Vivint Solar/Unsplash)

Before attempting to clean solar panels, you need to ensure that you are correctly prepared with appropriate gear and cleaning equipment. In terms of safety gear, you will need to arm yourself with a helmet, non-slip gloves, and non-slip shoes, all available from Amazon.

According to Kraig Edelman, CEO of Edelman Inc, you should choose a cool, cloudy day to avoid hot panels and water evaporation. Check the weather forecast for rain, as you don't want to clean right before a downpour. 

Set up a stable ladder on level ground, ensuring it extends at least 3 feet above the roof edge. Secure the ladder with straps and if possible, have someone hold it for stability as well.

Once you're safely at the top of the ladder, remove any debris like leaves, branches, or dirt around the panels. Be cautious not to damage electrical wires.

Kraig Edelman
Kraig Edelman

Kraig was raised on a family farm where honesty, integrity, and a positive work ethic were instilled in him by his father. After high school, he joined his brother's company, Edelman Electric, and eventually purchased it. In 2010, he acquired Kupferschmid Plumbing Heating and Cooling, with the goal of providing a comprehensive service. In 2015, the two companies merged to form Edelman, Inc., and they've been committed to offering excellent services to homeowners ever since.


According to solar panel expert Robin Saidov, you should use a hose with a gentle spray to loosen and remove loose dirt and debris, avoiding high-pressure settings that can damage the panels.

After rinsing, prepare your cleaning solution. Mix a mild dish soap solution according to the panel manual's instructions. Avoid harsh chemicals, abrasive cleaners, or ammonia, as these will damage the surface of the solar panels as well as stain your roof from spillages.

Robin Saidov
Robin Saidov

Robin is an electrical engineer with 20 years of experience in the energy industry, including as a renewable developer. She's managed utility-scale solar, including contracting cleaning the panels and researching washing cycles and options, and battery projects for Private Equity investors. 

Clean & Rinse

Dip your sponge or soft bristle brush in the solution and gently scrub each panel, working your way from top to bottom. Rinse the sponge frequently to avoid spreading dirt.

Once thoroughly cleaned, use a hose with a gentle spray to rinse away all soap residue. Ensure no suds remain, as they can leave streaks and attract dirt. For a spotless finish, use a squeegee with a soft rubber blade, like this one from Amazon to remove excess water and prevent water spots. Start from the top and work your way down in smooth, overlapping strokes.

And if you want an absolutely streak-free finish, use deionized water from Science Company for the final rinse. This is especially helpful in areas with hard water. 

Dry & Inspect

A modern house with metal tiled roof, skylight, solar panel, chimney, open balcony, and window in the attic

(Image credit: Getty Images)

‘Let the panels air dry completely before reconnecting to your system. The sunlight will help speed things along,’ says TaKelle Newton, marketing manager at Blue Raven Solar. ‘After drying, visually inspect the panels for any damage, cracks, or loose connections. If you notice anything concerning, contact a qualified solar panel professional.’

TaKelle Newton
TaKelle Newton

Blue Raven Solar’s mission is to make homeowner's lives better by reducing their energy bills, by increasing their reliance on clean and abundant renewable energy, and by providing a world-class customer experience through a reliable sales process and a speedy, high-quality installation. 

Additional tips

Clean your panels 1-2 times per year, depending on the amount of dust and debris they accumulate. Consider hiring a professional cleaning service if you have a large or complex solar panel system. 

Never walk directly on the panels, as this can damage them. This also applies to the electrical wires and connections around the panels.

The best time to clean your solar panels is between sunset and sunrise. This is when the production of solar power is at its lowest and therefore the panels are not generating power. 

By following these steps and prioritizing safety, you can keep your solar panels clean and functioning efficiently for years to come. If you're unsure about any step, consult a qualified professional to ensure your safety. 

Seraphina Di Mizzurati
Contributing Editor

Seraphina is a contributing editor at Homes & Gardens, writing Solved features on organizing and storage. She loves to decorate and also grow her own produce from her home in London. Her previous experience includes working at Women's Health and Fabulous Magazine.