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How to Clean Skylights

How to Clean Skylights – Care and Maintenance Tips

Skylights bring unparalleled natural light into your home. Yet, knowing how to clean a skylight inside and outside is essential for maintaining that luminous glow. Whether your skylight is easily reachable or demands a ladder for access, this comprehensive guide on how to clean skylights effectively.

How to Clean Glass Skylights

Cleaning glass skylights involves a bit of planning. First, you need to assess if you can reach the skylight from the inside or if you’ll have to climb onto the roof. Either way, you’ll want to gather your essential tools, such as a ladder, mop, sponge, and soapy water. We recommend a mixture of warm water and a few drops of dish soap.

Start with the interior. If your skylight is within arm’s reach, a simple step stool may suffice. Otherwise, a ladder will be your go-to. Dampen the sponge in your soapy water, wring it out, and gently scrub the glass focusing on removing grime and any cloudy spots. Wipe the surface with a dry towel to remove streaks.

Now, for the outside. If the skylight is low, you may be able to clean the skylight without a ladder. Otherwise, climb up and place a plastic tarp underneath the area. Pre-rinse the skylight window using a hose to remove surface dirt. Then, use your mop or sponge dipped in the soapy water to scrub. For stubborn stains, a ½ cup of white vinegar mixed with water does the trick. Finish off by wiping with a dry rag, ensuring that you leave no streaks behind.

How to Clean Plastic Skylights

How to Clean Plastic Skylights

Plastic skylights, often made from acrylic, offer durability but also require specific cleaning methods. For this task, gather a soft sponge, a microfiber or lint-free cloth, and a cleaning solution of soapy water. Avoid ammonia or other abrasive cleaning products, as these can damage the skylight pane.

Start by cleaning the inside of the plastic skylight. Using your lint-free cloth, gently wipe away any dust or cobwebs. Next, dip your sponge into the soapy water and scrub the surface lightly to remove dirt and grime. Once done, wipe it down with a dry towel.

For the outside, you’ll follow similar steps as you would with a glass skylight. If it’s possible to reach the skylight without a ladder, fantastic. Otherwise, it’s ladder time. Lay down a plastic tarp and hose down the surface to pre-clean. Then, take your soapy sponge to remove any grime or tree sap. A microfiber cloth is excellent for drying and reducing streaks on the plastic surface.

How to Clean a Cloudy Skylight

Cloudiness on your skylight can drastically cut down the amount of natural light coming through. Thankfully, you can often fix this issue without resorting to a professional cleaning service. You’ll need warm water, a sponge, and white vinegar. A vinegar solution of ½ cup white vinegar to one gallon of water works well for this.

For the inside, soak the sponge in the vinegar solution and apply it generously to the cloudy areas. Allow it to sit for a few minutes before scrubbing gently. Use a dry rag to wipe off the vinegar solution thoroughly.

For the exterior, follow the same procedure. Lay down a tarp, climb onto the roof if needed, and use your vinegar solution to tackle the cloudy areas. Your sponge is your best friend here, so make sure it’s thoroughly soaked. Once the cloudiness is gone, use a dry towel to remove any lingering moisture or streaks.

How to Clean a Sun Tunnel Skylight

Sun tunnel skylights are unique; they channel light through a tube from the roof to brighten up your indoor spaces. Cleaning them can be a bit challenging due to their design. Here’s how you do it:

First, gather your tools. Typically, a cleaning pole with a rag attached to the end works best for reaching into the sun tunnel. A simple mixture of warm water and a few drops of dish soap will suffice as a cleaning solution.

To clean the inside, attach a wet rag to the end of your cleaning pole. Reach up into the sun tunnel and scrub gently, working your way around to cover all areas. Be careful not to disturb any interior lighting mechanisms. For the exterior, it might require climbing onto the roof. Just like other skylights, a pre-rinse with a hose helps remove surface dirt. Then use your cleaning pole and soapy rag to scrub. Always finish with a dry towel to remove streaks and prevent moisture buildup.

How to Clean Bugs Out of a Skylight

If bugs have made your skylight their final resting place, you’ll need to tackle this unsightly problem. First, create a cleaning solution of warm water and dish soap. For this task, you’ll need a sponge and a dry rag.

On the inside, bugs usually collect on the skylight window and underneath the skylight structure. A soft sponge dipped in your soapy water is ideal for lifting away these unwanted visitors. Be gentle to avoid smearing or causing further mess.

For the outside, the same steps apply as with standard skylight cleaning. If your skylight is hard to reach, a ladder or cleaning pole may be necessary. Use your soapy sponge to remove the bugs and then rinse with water to remove any remaining debris. Always finish by drying with a lint-free cloth to leave your skylight sparkling clean.

How to Clean Mold from a Skylight

Mold is not just unsightly; it’s a health hazard too. And if it’s growing on your skylight, you’ll want to address it immediately. You’ll need white vinegar, warm water, and a sponge. A vinegar solution comprising ½ cup of white vinegar mixed with a gallon of water will do the trick.

For the inside, apply the vinegar solution liberally on the moldy areas using a sponge. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes. This will loosen the mold, making it easier to scrub away. Make sure to wear gloves and avoid getting the solution in your eyes. Wipe away the vinegar and mold with a dry, lint-free cloth.

On the outside, the steps are similar. Lay a plastic tarp below, especially if you need to climb onto the roof. Apply the vinegar solution to the mold spots and let it sit. After a few minutes, scrub the mold away using your sponge. Always complete the process by drying the area with a clean rag to prevent further mold growth. Dry the skylight thoroughly. 

Professional Skylight Cleaning

How to Clean Hard to Reach Skylights from the Ground

Skylights come in various designs and heights, making some easier to clean than others. If you’re dealing with hard to reach skylights, a cleaning pole will be your best friend. Attach a rag to the end of the pole to assist with cleaning skylights from the inside. For tackling skylights from the outside, you may need to use a ladder or even consider a professional cleaning service for extremely high or complex installations.

If you’re lucky enough to have skylights that are easily accessible from the ground, a long handled mop or cleaning pole can suffice. Dampen a rag with soapy water and attach it to the end of the pole. Simply reach up and scrub away. To rinse, either use a hose or a separate rag soaked in clean water. And don’t forget, always finish off by drying the surface with a dry towel to remove streaks. Happy window cleaning!

Skylight Maintenance Tips

Consistent skylight maintenance goes beyond just cleaning. By following these tips, you’ll ensure your skylights remain in top condition:

  1. Inspect Regularly: At least every two to three months, examine your skylights for signs of wear or damage.
  2. Seal Check: Look at the seals. If they seem to be deteriorating, consider resealing to prevent leaks.
  3. Apply Wax: For glass skylights, a thin layer of auto wax can protect against grime buildup.

Note: You can also opt for a professional exterior home cleaning service for a thorough job, particularly if you find the task too daunting.


Skylights should be cleaned regularly to maximize the natural light that floods your living space. Armed with the right cleaning products, from dish soap and water to vinegar solutions, you’re well-prepared to tackle any skylight—be it glass or acrylic, easy to reach or demanding a ladder.

With this comprehensive guide, you’ve learned how to clean various types of skylights, from sun tunnels to those plagued by bugs or mold. Now, not only do you know how to clean your skylights from the inside and the outside, but you’re also well-equipped to handle household cleaning of skylights that are hard to reach from the ground.

So, don’t let dirty skylights dull your home’s brilliance. Follow these steps, and your skylights will remain a bright spot in your home for years to come.

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