How to Clean Yellowed Plastic Solar Lights

Have you ever had those disgustingly yellowed plastic solar lights that used to beautify your outdoor space but now just look dirty and dingy? Are your outdoor plastic solar lights looking a bit yellowed and dull? The good news is that you don’t have to replace them just yet! With a few simple items, you can make them look brand new and enjoy their illuminating rays for even longer.

How to Clean Yellowed Plastic Solar Lights

In this blog post, we will show you the best techniques on how to clean yellowed plastic solar lights so they shine brightly once more. Not only are these methods friendly to the environment, but they are also economical solutions for adding outdoor decoration!

We’ll provide step-by-step instructions on bringing back the original glow of your solar lights in no time at all – let’s get started. So get your cleaning supplies ready – let’s learn together about the ins and outs of cleaning yellowed plastic solar lights!

What Makes the Plastic Solar Light Yellow?

1. Damage to the Protective Layer

Before you start cleaning your plastic solar lights, it’s important to understand why they have yellowed in the first place. Most plastic solar lights come with a protective coating that is designed to protect them from UV rays and other environmental wear and tear. Over time, this protective layer can become discolored or yellowed due to exposure to the sun and other elements.

2. Oxidation

In some cases, oxidation can also contribute to the yellowing of plastic solar lights. Oxidation is a chemical reaction that takes place when oxygen atoms interact with polymer molecules in the plastic, resulting in discoloration and yellowing.

3. Dirt or Pollution

Finally, dirt and pollution can also play a role in the yellowing of plastic solar lights. Because outdoor plastic solar lights are exposed to the elements, dirt, and pollutants may build up over time on their surfaces leading to discoloration or yellowing.

Required Items

Once you know the cause of yellowing, it’s time to gather your supplies. Here is a list of items you will need to clean yellowed plastic solar lights:

  • Mild detergent
  • Sponge or soft cloth
  • Bucket or container for mixing
  • Clean water
  • Soft brush for scrubbing
  • Protective gloves
  • Dishcloth or towel

10 Steps on How to Clean Yellowed Plastic Solar Lights

Do Not Use Harsh Detergents or Abrasive

Step 1: Mix the Detergent and Water

Fill your container with warm water and add a few drops of mild detergent to it. Mix the solution together until the detergent is fully dissolved in the water. Note: do not use harsh detergents or abrasive cleaners, as these may cause damage to your plastic solar lights.

Step 2: Prepare the Surface

Before you start cleaning, it’s important to prepare the surface of the plastic solar light. Use a soft brush and gently scrub away any dirt or debris that has accumulated on its surface.

Step 3: Dip the Sponge in the Solution

Once you have prepared the surface, dip a sponge or soft cloth in the detergent solution you previously mixed. Make sure to wring out any excess water before using it on your plastic solar light.

Step 4: Wipe Clean

Gently wipe down the plastic solar light with a sponge or cloth. Use a circular motion and make sure to cover all areas of the surface. Also, be sure not to scrub too hard, or you may damage the protective coating of the light.

Step 5: Rinse with Clean Water

Once you have wiped down every surface of the plastic solar light, rinse it off with clean water and a new cloth or sponge. This will help remove any residue left behind by the detergent. Remember to use lukewarm water and avoid using any abrasive scrubbing tools.

Avoid Using Any Abrasive Scrubbing Tools

Step 6: Dry with a Soft Cloth

Once you have rinsed off the solar light, make sure to dry it completely with a clean, soft cloth or dish towel. Avoid leaving any residue on the surface of the light, as this could lead to discoloration or yellowing over time.

Step 7: Check for Any Signs of Discoloration

After you have wiped down, rinsed, and dried your plastic solar light, take a look at it closely to check for any signs of discoloration or yellowing. If you notice any areas that have begun to change color, you may need to repeat the cleaning process.

Step 8: Apply a Protective Coating

If your plastic solar light is still in good condition after cleaning, consider applying a protective coating to help protect it from future discoloration or yellowing. This can be done by spraying on a clear coat sealant or using a brush to apply protective wax.

Step 9: Put the Solar Light Back in Place

Once you have finished cleaning and applying a protective coating, you can now put your plastic solar light back in place. Make sure it is securely fastened and pointed in the direction of the sun for optimal performance.

Step 10: Monitor Your Plastic Solar Lights

It is important to monitor your plastic solar lights regularly and perform regular cleaning and maintenance as needed. This will help keep them looking their best and working efficiently for years to come.

Monitor Your Plastic Solar Lights Regularly

Cleaning yellowed plastic solar lights can be a time-consuming task, but with the right supplies and some patience, you can restore them back to their former glory. Just remember to always wear protective gloves and be gentle with the cleaning process. If done correctly, you will have beautiful plastic solar lights that will bring light and beauty to your outdoor area for years to come.

8 Maintenance Tips for Yellowed Plastic Solar Lights

1. Make sure to check your solar lights regularly and give them a quick clean if they’ve become dirty from the elements. To do this, use a soft cloth dampened with warm water and gently wipe away any dirt or dust. For tougher dirt, you can add a mild detergent to the cloth.

2. Avoid using harsh chemicals, as they can damage the plastic and cause it to turn yellow even more quickly. Chemicals such as bleach, rubbing alcohol, and other abrasives should be avoided.

3. Store your solar lights indoors during winter and when not in use to help prevent the plastic from becoming yellowed from the sun’s rays. Also, keep your solar lights in a cool place to help prevent the plastic from becoming discolored.

4. If you have yellowed plastic solar lights, try mixing one part water with two parts vinegar and wiping down the surface of the plastic using a soft cloth. This should help to restore some of the luster to the plastic and reduce the yellowing.

5. For more serious issues, you can purchase a special cleaning solution made specifically for yellowed plastic solar lights. These are usually sold in hardware stores or online. Issues provide specific instructions for how to use the cleaning solution, so make sure to follow those closely.

6. If you have tried all of these methods and your plastic solar lights are still yellowed or discolored, it may be time to replace them. Plastic solar lights typically don’t last more than a few years before they need to be replaced.

7. If you are looking for a more cost-effective solution, consider purchasing a vinyl coating spray that is designed for plastic solar lights. This will help to protect the plastic from becoming damaged due to UV rays, which can cause it to yellow over time.

8. Lastly, don’t forget about the importance of regular maintenance. Make sure to check your solar lights every few months and give them a quick clean if they become dirty or dusty from the elements. Doing so will help to keep them looking nice and prolong their lifespan. 

Following these tips can help you keep your yellowed plastic solar lights in good condition for years to come!

Frequently Asked Questions

Check Your Solar Lights Every Few Months

How Often Should You Clean Plastic Solar Lights?

It is best to give your plastic solar lights a quick clean every few months or whenever they become dirty. Make sure to use a soft cloth dampened with warm water and mild detergent, as harsh chemicals can damage the plastic and cause it to be yellow even more quickly.

Can I Use Bleach on Plastic Solar Lights?

No, it is not recommended to use bleach or any other harsh chemicals on plastic solar lights. These can damage the plastic and cause it to yellow over time. Instead, opt for a mild detergent and warm water, or purchase a special cleaning solution made specifically for yellowed plastic solar lights.


It is possible to restore yellowed plastic solar lights with a few simple steps. After cleaning the exterior of the light with a mild soap and water solution, it’s essential to wax the surface in order to protect it from further discoloration or damage. You can also apply a coat of glass cleaner and cloth as another way to clean and protect your plastic solar lights.

And if you’re feeling creative, why not make your own light diffuser using fine mesh fabric or wispy yarn? The possibilities are nearly endless when it comes to crafting some added beauty into your plastic solar light collection. So with this guideline on how to clean yellowed plastic solar lights, make sure you take a moment now to freshen up what’s been gathering dust and get out there and enjoy those sparkling lights once again!

Leave a Comment