There’s nothing better than having your home shower in sunlight. Many households opt to use skylights in order to conserve energy and enjoy a well-lit home. Skylights and roof lanterns do not require too much maintenance, however, knowing how to properly care for them can make all the difference and prolong their life.

So if you:

  • Like to have a clear view of the sky
  • Care for the maintenance of your windows
  • Want to fill your home with natural light

Then, this article is for you!

Table of Contents:

Why is Washing Your Skylight Important?

There are two major reasons why you should maintain the cleanliness of your skylight:

Health Benefits

It’s no secret that the human body needs access to natural light. This has to do with the body’s Circadian rhythm, which dictates the main bodily functions, including when to eat and sleep. Therefore, exposure to sunlight not only helps reduce anxiety and stress, but it also improves your sleep pattern. Studies have also found a direct connection between the diminished cognitive function in depressed individuals and access to natural light. That’s why light therapy has been prescribed for a variety of medical conditions.

Window Care

Another important reason to clean your skylight is general window maintenance. Regular cleaning inevitably turns into routine window inspection. Thus, extending the life of your skylight and all the benefits that come with having one. It’s important to check the state of the flashing around the skylight for breaks and tears, as well as the condition of the window panes. This will ensure you avoid draftiness, potential water leaks and structural damage.

Materials you will need

  • Old bed sheets or an oilcloth
  • Oilskin
  • Protective glasses/goggles
  • Ladder (optional)
  • Extendable pole
  • Sponge mop attachment
  • 1” razor blade
  • Garden hose
  • Squeegee head attachment
  • Dish soap
  • Water
  • Vinegar
  • Microfibre cloths
  • Bucket
  • Chamois
  • Auto wax
tip

If your skylight has self-cleaning glass, avoid using the squeegee head attachment and soap with a dyeing agent inside, or else you risk removing the organic film on the window panes that makes them self-cleaning. When in doubt, always check the manufacturer’s instructions.

Before You Start

Washing your roof lantern is not rocket science, but there are certain things you need to keep in mind in order to avoid damage. Most skylights in the UK are polycarbonate or acrylic, which means that you cannot use any harsh or abrasive cleaning tools, such as ammonia, Windex, or petroleum-based products. In addition, if your skylight is newly-installed, you may need to repeat the washing process several times due to the manufacturing coating on it.

The final thing you need to check before you proceed is whether your skylight is fitted with self-cleaning glass. The organic compound in the self-cleaning glass is made to react with sunlight, thus preventing dust build-up and organic materials from sticking to the window panes. The dirt particles are usually washed away by rain. Abrasive materials and solutions can easily remove this coating. If that is the case, then you need to follow a few rules.

Depending on the placement of your skylight, you may need to take precautions against accidents. Using a ladder is optional, but if there is no other way to reach your skylight windows from the inside, follow the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) guide on safe use of ladders and stepladders.

  1. Move decorations and furniture out of the way;
  2. Lay down the old bedsheets or oilcloth directly under the skylight. This will prevent excess water from spilling, making the floor slippery and further endangering your life;
  3. Remove skylight fixtures as per the manufacturer’s instructions;
  4. Put on the safety goggles. After all, water, detergent and grime may fall on you during the cleaning process;
  5. Remove window screens and skylight air filters. Make sure to clean them separately and let them dry before you install them again.
tip

You can wash the window screens and air filters by soaking them in the bathtub and then spraying them with the showerhead. Alternatively, if you have a garden with an external water tap, you can clean them with the garden hose.

How to Clean the Inside of a Skylight

  1. Attach the sponge mop and squeegee head attachments to both sides of the extendable pole;
  2. Wipe away the cobwebs and large dust particles with the dry sponge mop attachment;
  3. Rinse the sponge mop and reattach to the extendable pole;
  4. Mix water with a few drops of dish soap in a bucket. Try not to make too many suds.
  5. Dip the rinsed sponge mop head into the washing solution and wring it out. The idea is to have a sufficient amount of detergent on the attachment, but not enough so that the solution is dripping from it;
  6. Apply the solvent on the windows and frames, starting from top to bottom;
  7. Use the squeegee head attachment and wipe away the remaining dirt and debris. Be extra careful to avoid touching the glass panes with any of the metallic parts of the squeegee or the extendable pole. Remember to wipe the squeegee regularly, otherwise, it will leave dirty streaks on the glass.
  8. Wrap the squeegee with a microfibre cloth or chamois and soak up the excess water;
  9. Apply auto wax to the window panes. The wax application will keep dust from building up on your skylight;
  10. Reattach the fixture, insect screens and air filters.

If you identify any hard stains or etched particles, climb on the ladder and use a 1” razor blade to remove them. Do not use the blade on large areas and always scrape in one direction. Afterwards, clean the debris by applying vinegar on the skylight and wiping the particles with a microfibre cloth.

tip

Typically, skylights rarely have hard-to-wash stains, unless they are placed in bathrooms, kitchens and near fireplaces. Vinegar is ideal for removing limescale and grease stains. If there are nicotine and tar spots, consult with the manufacturer’s guide before you use harsh solvents.

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How to Clean the Outside of a Skylight

In terms of washing the exterior of your roof lantern, the process is even easier than the steps above. However, be extra careful when working at heights. If you have a balcony or patio with easy access to the skylight, use an extendable pole.

  1. Inspect the flashing of the skylight prior to cleaning. It serves as insulation around the skylight, preventing water leaks and drafts. Consult an expert, if you establish any damages;
  2. Climb the ladder, if you’re using one, preferably with the bucket. Another option is to combine all the ingredients on the ground and use the extendable pole;
  3. Add 2-3 drops of dish soap in a water-filled bucket, once you’re on the roof;
  4. Use the sponge mop attachment to remove large debris or cobwebs and rinse it;
  5. Dip the clean sponge mop into the detergent and wring it out;
  6. Soak the exterior of the skylight with the soapy solution;
  7. Spray with a garden hose to wash away all the dirt;
  8. Apply auto wax.

For hard-to-remove stains, you can use vinegar. If you have self-cleaning glass, make sure that this cleaning solution is safe to use as per the manufacturer’s guide.

tip

The best way to wash a self-cleaning glass is by using a water-fed pole and purified water. The deionized water removes accumulated dirt without disturbing the organic coating on your glass.

Hire a Professional

Washing your roof lantern is not difficult, but it takes a lot of time to do properly. This can cost you time and money, especially if you injure yourself while doing it. If you don’t want to spend your weekend cleaning your skylight or simply want to avoid accidents, you can book Fantastic Services’ professional window cleaning service. The fully-trained technicians follow all health and safety guidelines and use chemical-free cleaning methods to restore the shiny finish of your skylights.

Learn what window cleaning solutions we offer by visiting our main website.

Learn more

Takeaways

  • Regular window and skylight maintenance can prevent serious structural damage and make cleaning easier;
  • For best results, wash your skylight windows in spring and autumn, when there are more cloudy days and the weather is not too hot;
  • Always practice safe use of ladders and step ladders;
  • Ensure proper ventilation to avoid condensation and foggy window panes;
  • Do not use harsh cleaning solutions and abrasive equipment.

***

We hope you found this guide on how to clean your skylight helpful. Share your experience in cleaning hard-to-reach windows or ask your questions in the comment section below!

Image source: Deposit Photos / Observer
Image source: Deposit Photos / krooogle

Posted in Cleaning Guides, Window Cleaning Tips

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