How to Clean Solar Panels on a Roof [6 Steps from the Pros]



How to Clean Solar Panels on a Roof [6 Steps from the Pros]

Solar panels on roof

Many people are fortunate enough to live in an environment with low levels of smog, dust, and sand in the air, which means cleaning the solar panels on a roof is unnecessary. However, many areas in California are not so lucky.

We deal with these environmental elements daily, so our solar panels could probably use an occasional cleaning. And with the new California Solar Mandate having taken effect, more Californians will have solar than ever before—meaning they’ll need to know how to clean their solar panels. 

Don’t worry if you don’t know how to clean the solar panels on your roof—it’s not as hard or messy as you may imagine. 

6 Steps for Cleaning Solar Panels

For solar panels that shine, follow these six simple steps:

  1. Be safe: Some roofs simply aren’t safe enough to step on due to their steep angle. Even with flatter roofs, falling is still possible and can be potentially fatal. Follow proper roof safety protocol such as using a sturdy ladder, having a watchful partner, and wearing a hardhat and safety harness any time you step foot on your roof.
  2. Gather your gear: Mix dish soap and warm water in a bucket. Use only a soft sponge or cloth to avoid scratching the panel surface as you wipe. If your panels have an oily stain (which can occur on panels near truck routes or airports), have isopropyl alcohol and another soft cloth on hand. Use a hose to apply water, not a pressure washer. Grab a squeegee.
  3. Turn off your system: Follow your panel’s shutdown procedure listed in the user manual.
  4. Hose down: Direct the water right over your panels, not onto the back of the panels or in between the panels and your roof.
  5. Wipe the panels: Gently wash the dirt and dust off the surfaces using soapy water and a soft sponge. If there’s an oily stain, apply a little bit of isopropyl alcohol with a clean, dry cloth.
  6. Squeegee the surface: After rinsing the panels one more time with hose water, gently squeegee them and let them air dry. Turn your system on per the instructions in your owner’s manual.

For a safer option, clean your solar panels from the ground using a gentle spray nozzle attached to a hose (not a power washer) and a soft cloth draped over an extendable squeegee.


These are some of the most commonly asked questions we get about cleaning solar panels.

Do Solar Panels Work When Dirty?

Yes, solar panels work when dirty, but their efficiency may be lowered slightly. 

Does Cleaning Your Solar Panels Make a Difference?

In most cases, the occasional rain shower will be enough to effectively and safely clean your solar panels. When it hasn’t rained for an extended period, which is very common in California, a hose with a spray nozzle is likely enough to keep solar panels clean enough to operate well.

Can I Call an Expert to Clean the Solar Panels on My Roof?

Yes, there are experts you can call to clean the solar panels on your roof.

How Often Should You Have Your Solar Panels Cleaned? 

How often to clean solar panels depends on the environment in which you live. Solar panels should only need to be cleaned twice a year if there hasn’t been any rain. However, if leaves or bird droppings cover your panels, you may want to clean them more often.

Contact Current Home

For information regarding your current solar energy system or how to go about purchasing one for your home, contact Current Home.