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How to clean exterior skylights properly

Cleaning exterior skylights properly is essential to maintain their appearance and functionality. Over time, skylights can accumulate dirt, dust, leaves, and other debris, which can reduce the amount of natural light that enters your home. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to clean exterior skylights effectively:

Materials you’ll need:

1. Safety gear: Before you start, ensure you have the appropriate safety gear, including a stable ladder, non-slip shoes, and safety goggles.

2. Cleaning solution: You can use a mild dish soap, a commercial glass cleaner, or a mixture of water and vinegar (1:1 ratio). Avoid using abrasive or ammonia-based cleaners, as they can damage the skylight.

3. Soft cloth or sponge: Choose a soft, non-abrasive cloth or a sponge to avoid scratching the skylight surface.

4. Bucket: For mixing the cleaning solution and holding water.

5. Squeegee: A squeegee helps to remove cleaning solution and water from the skylight’s surface without streaking.

6. Extendable pole with a brush attachment: This tool can be helpful for cleaning hard-to-reach skylights, especially if they are high up.

Cleaning steps:

1. Safety first: Always prioritize safety. Ensure the ladder is stable and properly placed. If the skylight is very high or difficult to access, consider hiring a professional or using a telescopic pole with a brush attachment.

2. Remove loose debris: Before applying any cleaning solution, use a broom or a long-handled brush to remove leaves, twigs, and other loose debris from the skylight’s surface. This will prevent scratches during the cleaning process.

3. Prepare the cleaning solution: In a bucket, mix your chosen cleaning solution with water. A mild dish soap or a water-vinegar solution can work well. Avoid using harsh chemicals.

4. Wet the skylight: Using a soft cloth or sponge, dip it into the cleaning solution and gently wet the entire skylight. Make sure to thoroughly wet the surface but avoid letting the cleaning solution drip onto the floor or furniture below.

5. Scrub the skylight: Use the cloth or sponge to gently scrub away any dirt, grime, or stains on the skylight. Pay extra attention to any areas with stubborn spots. Be cautious not to apply too much pressure, as you don’t want to scratch the surface.

6. Squeegee the skylight: After scrubbing, use a squeegee to remove the cleaning solution and water from the skylight’s surface. Start at the top and work your way down in a vertical motion. Wipe the squeegee blade with a clean cloth between passes to prevent streaks.

7. Rinse and repeat:** If necessary, repeat the cleaning process until the skylight is completely clean and streak-free. Rinse the cloth or sponge and change the water in the bucket as needed.

8. Dry the skylight: Use a dry, clean cloth to wipe down any remaining moisture on the skylight’s frame or edges.

9. Inspect for streaks or spots: After the skylight has dried, inspect it for streaks or spots. If you notice any, you may need to repeat the cleaning process.

10. Safety during descent: When descending from the ladder, do so carefully. Ensure the ladder is on a stable surface, and use the appropriate safety precautions.

Regularly cleaning your exterior skylights will help maintain their appearance and ensure that natural light can enter your home unobstructed. Depending on your local climate and the level of dirt and debris, you may need to clean them a few times a year.