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Can You Clean Solar Panels with Vinegar?

solar panel cleaning vinegar

Solar panels must have the ability to absorb energy from the sun. When they are dirty, the photovoltaic cells are blocked from receiving sunlight, which impedes their performance.

If you have been wondering if vinegar is a safe solution for cleaning your solar panels, the answer is a resounding yes!

Vinegar Is an Ideal Cleaner for Solar Panels

Vinegar is a natural alternative to harsh chemical cleaners that may have abrasives that cause damage to your solar panels. One of the main reasons this natural liquid should be your cleaner of choice is because it contains acetic acid.

This acid is created through the conversion of ethanol and oxygen. Acetic acid is an organic compound that is colorless but gives vinegar that pungently sour smell and taste we all know.

This acid is powerful enough to break up dirt, grease, grime, and mineral deposits while being safe for humans and animals.

Avoid Using Soap!

One of the worst cleaners you can use on solar panels is soap because it can leave behind a thin film that could prevent your cells from absorbing the sun’s energy.

White vinegar works so well because it breaks up any grease and grime without using caustic materials. That being said, there are some precautions to consider before using undiluted vinegar to clean your solar panels.

Is Vinegar Safe for Cleaning Solar Panels?

If you use domestic cleaning types of vinegar to clean your solar panels, you will find they are completely safe.

You can expect domestic vinegar to contain around 5–8% acetic acid by volume. Commercial preparations can be much stronger and should be avoided.

Even domestic vinegar is too strong for direct cleaning without dilution. To get the best results and avoid any damage to the protective coating on your panels, it is important to mix two cups of de-ionized water with ¼ cup vinegar.

Although some people add a few drops of detergent to their vinegar mix, this is not recommended. Detergents can leave behind streaks. The panel needs to be sparkling clean to work at its prime.

What Solar Panel Components Could Be Affected by Vinegar?

You have spent a lot of money investing in solar panels, so you certainly do not want to damage them by using the wrong cleaners. Domestic vinegar is entirely safe for use on solar panels.

It will not degrade the coating or cause any damage to the components of the cells.

White cleaning vinegar has just enough acetic acid concentration to provide cleaning power, without being so aggressive as to cause damage, especially when watered down to the right ratio.

Will Vinegar Cause Any Discolorations on Solar Panels?

Diluted white cleaning vinegar, with an acetic acid concentration of no more than 5 to 8%, will not cause any discolorations on your solar panels.

It also does not leave behind a film, as soap does, so there will be less dirt buildup the next time you clean your solar panels.

How Often Should You Clean Solar Panels?

To ensure you stay on a proper cleaning schedule, please refer to your manufacturer’s instructions.

How often you need to clean your panels will depend on the weather conditions where you live.

Some people may need to clean their panels weekly, such as those that live in a desert area. Others may only need to clean their panels once a month or even less frequently.

How to Clean Your Solar Panels with Vinegar?

Always refer to the manufacturer’s instructions before performing these steps. If in doubt, hire a professional to clean your solar panels regularly.

The following steps should help to ensure you know how to clean your panels with white cleaning vinegar.

  • Thoroughly inspect your panels for any signs of damage before cleaning. If there are any cracks or other signs of damage get them repaired first.
  • In a clean spray bottle, place two cups of water to every ¼ cup of white cleaning vinegar and shake to mix.
  • Make sure to remove any large debris, such as limbs. Trim any trees that are hanging over the panels because they could be blocking the absorption of the sun’s energy.
  • Spray each panel with the diluted vinegar, working on one at a time. Use a very soft, non-abrasive sponge to clean the panel until it is free of dust. Make sure to use a squeegee to remove any excess moisture so hard water deposits are not left behind (This is especially important if you use tap water.).
  • Use a soft lint-free cloth to dry the edges of each panel.

Taking the above steps will allow you to remove all the dirt and grime that may coat your solar panels and prevent them from operating efficiently. If you maintain your panels with a regular cleaning schedule, they will become less dirty between cleanings so the work will be easier.

What Happens If You Do Not Clean Your Solar Panels?

Will a dirty solar panel continue working? Absolutely! Will it perform as well as it should? Likely not!

Keeping your solar panels free of dirt and grime is essential for their performance and longevity.

Since your goal of installing solar panels is to ensure they produce enough energy to save you money on electricity, it is wise to keep them clean. While solar panels require very little maintenance, they do need to be cleaned periodically.

Conclusion

Vinegar is an ideal cleaner for removing dust from solar panels. The acetic acid in this natural compound is powerful enough to remove stubborn grime, without causing any damage to your solar panels.

For the best results, make sure to mix the white vinegar with de-ionized water, whenever possible.

This type of water has no mineral content, so you will not have to worry about hard minerals causing streaks and buildup on your newly cleaned solar panels.

When cleaning your roof solar panels, make sure to practice ladder safety and have someone standing by to help. If you do not have the right equipment to clean the panels safely, rely on professionals.