How to Clean Outdoor String Lights?

Your string lights are meant to be used outdoors, but they’re bound to pick up dirt and dust over time – especially if you live in an area with high levels of pollution or seasonal allergens like pollen.

It will degrade the light quality and eventually shorten the life of your light strands.

Hence, it’s essential to clean them regularly to keep them in good condition and working order.

Keep your outdoor shining brightly with these helpful tips for cleaning outdoor string lights!

how to clean outdoor string lights

Can You Wash String Lights?

Yes, you can wash string lights. However, before you start scrubbing, you should know a few things.

First of all, not all string lights are created equal: many of them are made from materials that will break down over time if you put them in water.

Ensure your lights are labeled as water-resistant or water-proof before giving them a good cleaning.

To do so, turn off and unplug your string lights and soak them for about five minutes under warm running water to get rid of dust and pollen (wipe up any excess moisture with a clean cloth after soaking).

Then rinse again by filling a bucket with clean water and dunking your light strands inside.

Let everything dry completely before using it again.

How to Clean Outdoor String Lights?

1. How to clean oxidized outdoor string lights?

To get your outdoor string lights looking their best, you need to take good care of them.

Step 1: First, buy an outdoor string light cleaning kit.

Step 2: Then clean with a toothbrush (precisely as brushing your teeth). This gets into all those nooks and crannies better than anything else.

Step 3: Finally, cover them up after they’re dry, so they don’t oxidize again.

Step 4: If a stain is particularly stubborn, try rubbing a damp cloth with baking soda and working your way up to it.

Step 5: You can also rub a lemon cut surface with baking soda sprinkled on it.

Step 6: Use a minor vegetable soap and water to remove the paste.

Step 7: Rinse and dry with a clean towel.

2. How to clean the mold on outdoor string lights?

To clean the mold on your outdoor string lights, you need a sponge and warm water.

Step 1: Squeeze out all excess water from your sponge and apply soapy water on a clean, dry cloth to wipe off dust gently.

Step 2: Then rinse off with clean water, dry it naturally in sunlight or under a sunlamp for several hours, and put them back together.

Step 3: If some stubborn stains remain on the wires, using an all-purpose cleaner can help remove them.

3. How to clean outdoor rope lights outdoors?

Before cleaning your outdoor rope lights, be careful when touching any wires or cords as they might still have electricity going through them.

Step 1: The first step is starting with a clean bucket of water and some dish soap.

Step 2: Next, you need to submerge all of your rope lights underwater. This will loosen up most of what was holding on dirt and grime.

Step 3: You should now take one light at a time out of your bucket full of warm (not hot) water.

Step 4: Then scrub each light with soap on both sides using an old toothbrush.

Take note, not to damage any cables while cleaning these lights!

How Often to Clean Outdoor String Lights?

It’s best to take down and clean your string lights after each season.

Store them in a dry place, out of direct sunlight or heat. You can use a hose or brush and warm water.

Use soap if needed, but be careful not to stretch out your string lights by pulling too hard on them while cleaning.

Dry off with a towel once you are done rinsing off excess dirt and grime under running water; then store them in a box until next year!

Outdoor String Lights Maintenance

Most people don’t think of their outdoor string lights as a piece of equipment that requires maintenance.

But if you neglect them, they can stop working before time and you will be disappointed.

Knowing how to clean your string lights can help keep them looking good for years and save you from buying new ones when one bulb blows out.

The best ways to clean your lights are with warm water and mild soap.

After cleaning, remember to dry thoroughly, preferably overnight, because moisture is an enemy of electrical devices.

Leave enough slack on extension cords so they don’t become kinked or tangled when lights move around in the wind.


1. Can outdoor string lights get wet?

Yes, they can get wet, especially if you live in an area that gets lots of rain or snow.

If they’re exposed to water regularly, you should clean them periodically.

If water sits on your outdoor string lights for more than a day, it could leave residue and ruin them; even if water doesn’t sit on them long enough to cause damage, it still might dirty your strings and leave marks that are hard to remove.

2. Can I leave outdoor string lights outside in the rain?

The short answer is no; you should not leave your lights outside in heavy rain.

Water can seep into light sockets and cause electrical problems that lead to short circuits or fire hazards.

If a light fixture gets wet, switch it off immediately and allow it to dry completely before turning it back on.

Minor water damage is nothing compared with a potential fire hazard.