Skylights allow natural light into the rooms in our homes. Welcome additions in homes with too few windows, they are stylish ways to open up high-ceilinged rooms to the great outdoors. Unlike regular windows, however, skylights require special care when cleaning them. Those who employ a maid service need not worry about this household task. The rest of us must utilize the steps that follow.
Don’t Clean Skylights Like Windows
Unless you’re certain your windows are made of glass, you can’t clean them the way you clean the rest of the windows in your home. Many are made of acrylic or polycarbonate. Cleaning them with ammonia or household window cleaners the way you’d clean regular windows would destroy them.
Materials That Are Safe to Use
The following materials are safe to use on skylights made of acrylic or poly-carbonate, as well as on the seals. You will likely find you already have some of these items in your home.
- Liquid dish soap
- Basin or bucket for holding water
- Long-handled dry mop
- Auto wax
- Cleaning cloths or clean rags
- Power washer (for the outside of skylights only)
- Cellulose sponge or long-handled cellulose sponge mop
Safety First for You
In addition to making sure the materials you use for cleaning these windows to the sky are safe, you must also make sure you remain safe while cleaning them. If you can’t comfortably reach the window you plan to clean with a ladder—or if you’re simply too afraid of heights to climb a tall ladder—a long-handled floor mop with a cellulose sponge is the way to go. If that isn’t long enough to reach, consider hiring a maid service for this job. The cleanest skylights in the world won’t make you happy if you’re recovering in traction from doing the job!
Steps to Cleaning Skylights
- Start the cleaning process by removing all dust and debris from your skylights with a long-handled dry mop. If you are on a ladder, you may simply use a clean, dry cloth for this part of the process.
- Once the debris and dust are gone, move on to step number two. This involves filling a bucket or basin with warm water and a few drops of liquid dish soap.
- Soak your cellulose sponge in this soap and water mixture and wring it out. Wash the window gently with the sponge—either by hand or on the end of a long handled mop.
- Once all of your skylights are clean, empty the soapy water and replace it with cool, clean water. Rinse the sponge clean, and proceed to rinse the soap from the skylights with the sponge and clean water.
Protect Your Assets
Skylights aren’t cheap and cleaning them isn’t easy. Protecting your cleaning job as well as protecting your windows from stains will save both time and money. After your windows have air dried, apply a thin layer of auto wax with a cleaning cloth or a clean, dry rag. Follow package instructions for applying the wax. (This usually involves applying and then buffing the wax to a sheen.)
Cleaning Your Skylights from the Outside
Often times natural rainfall is enough to clean your skylights from the outside. After the work you’ve put into cleaning the insides, you certainly don’t want streaks and dirt showing through from the outside. If rain doesn’t keep them clean, tending to the outside of your windows also falls on your shoulders.
The best way to clean the outside of these windows involves accessing the roof. If you don’t have a maid service to do this chore for you, proceed with caution. While you may employ the same steps taken to clean the insides, a power washer will make the job much quicker—meaning you’ll be up on the roof for a much shorter amount of time. Don’t fill the power washer with a commercial cleaning product. Instead, fill it with a mixture of liquid dish soap and water, just like you used inside.
Spray the skylights until the dirt and debris are removed. There is no need for utilizing the initial step of sweeping or dusting the debris away. The power washer will take care of this step as it cleans. Switch the power washer to non-soapy, clean water and spray until all the soap suds are gone. Allow the skylights to dry in the fresh air. Complete the task by applying a thin layer of auto wax as you did to the inside of the skylights.
Cleaning your skylights isn’t a job for the faint of heart. Fortunately, it’s one that doesn’t need to be done weekly—or even monthly. One good cleaning of both the inside and outside of your skylights on a yearly basis will let the beautiful bright sunshine and blue sky in—and keep unsightly dirt and streaks at bay.