From dust to soil to foliar sprays to pesticides, our grow lights can get dirty fast. And when you aren’t regularly cleaning them, not only are you not getting your money’s worth, you’re jeopardizing the health of your lights and garden.
5 Reasons You Should Clean Your Light Fixture
From poor yields to issues with safety, there are several big reasons why you should be regularly cleaning your grow lights. And it’s even more important when growing with LEDs because there are no bulbs that need replacing yearly. With incredible lifespans, an LED grow lamp could illuminate your garden for the next 10, maybe 20, years without it needing a single component replaced. That is a lot of time for those lights to get dirty!
1. Optimal Performance
It’s simple; the cleaner your lights, the better they perform. Perhaps, the biggest factor in LEDs’ success is their efficacy and efficiency over other grow lamps. If you let them get dirty, they can get too hot, hurting their ability to turn energy into light. This means you’re taking away one of the biggest things that makes them amazing.
2. Retains High Yield
Dirty lights = blocked light = less light on your crops = lower yields. Growing your own crops isn’t always the most economical route to take. If your lights are dirty and that’s contributing to lower yields, you’ll quickly find yourself questioning whether it’s all worth it. Gardening can be a lot of work, don’t make it harder on yourself!
3. Keeps Things Safe
From allergies to fire hazards, keeping your grow lights clean and free from dust and grime isn’t just for your plants but also your safety. HIDs, in particular, already run incredibly hot without dust and grime buildup.
4. Prevents Operation Failure
Besides their incredible efficacy, the lifespan of LEDs dwarfs other grow lamps, lasting decades where they often last for a handful of months. LEDs are sensitive to high temperatures, making thermal management very important, as we saw above. But not only can dirt/dust/gunk buildup hurt their ability to deliver light to your plant, but it can also cut their lifespan short.
5. Less Work In The Long Run
There will be a time when you’re forced to either clean your LEDs or throw them out. With regular cleanings, it takes less than a minute to clean your lights. However, if you let dirt and grime buildup, you’ll find it incredibly vexing because not only will it take longer for you to scrub off the gunk, the pressure you’ll need to apply to the diodes to clean them increases the risk of damaging them.
How To Clean Your LED Fixture
*BEFORE CLEANING ANY PART OF YOUR LIGHTING FIXTURE, ALWAYS ENSURE THEY ARE UNPLUGGED, AND THE LIGHTS HAVE COOLED TO AMBIENT TEMPERATURE*
To go about cleaning your LED grow lights, the first thing to do is to look up what the manufacturer of said lights recommends.
Common supplies you may need when cleaning grow lights include:
- Isopropyl/rubbing alcohol
- A nonabrasive towel, such as a microfiber cloth
- Window cleaner or hand wipes for glass coverings
- Canned Air
At ChilLed, we recommend isopropyl alcohol or rubbing alcohol for our grow lights.
To clean your Growcraft, all you need to do is dab a microfiber cloth with isopropyl or rubbing alcohol and gently wipe it over the diodes. Start by applying a small amount, as more can be applied later if needed.
*Currently, the Growcraft has no protective coating against direct moisture exposure. If moisture accumulates near the LEDs, damage may occur. Make sure to point any sprays downward and away from the LEDs. And this damage is NOT covered by warranty*
Make sure always to apply gentle pressure, as too much pressure can damage the diodes. While at it, make sure to clean the dust off the other components of your lights, which will include the frame and driver.
If you’re having trouble finding instructions on how to clean your LEDs, try looking up cleaning instructions for the diodes/PCB board. Many LED grow light makers source their diodes from Samsung and Bridgelux. If still no success, in most cases, isopropyl alcohol, along with canned air (make sure to keep upright), make for the safest light cleaning agents. In this case, perform a pre-test on a small portion of the light to ensure your cleaning solution isn’t damaging to the light.
If using a solvent other than isopropyl alcohol, confirm it does not dissolve the resin. For some LEDs from OSRAM Opto Semiconductors, wet cleaning is not applicable due to non-hermetically sealed packages. As well, ultrasonic cleaning is usually not recommended for any LED.
Before you place your grow light back into its proper place, make sure to go over the entire fixture one last time, looking for any loose screws, wiring issues, failing clasps, etc. This can be a great time to make a thing of it, going over your entire grow room (fans, surge protectors, etc.). Take the time to vacuum and wipe down your tent, as this will save you time in the long run as you won’t need to clean your lights as aggressively.
How To Clean Non-LED Grow Lights
While LEDs are now dominating the grow lamp world, many are still using HID-style grow lights. HID bulbs can be cleaned in the same way most LEDs can, by taking a non-abrasive (preferably a microfiber) cloth that’s been lightly damped with isopropyl/rubbing alcohol. Make sure to give that reflector a good scrub down too.
How To Care For Your LED and Other Grow Lamps
Besides regularly cleaning them, there are a few things you should do when handling them to keep them in tip-top shape.
- Except for mainly the frame, use caution when touching the lights when in operation.
- Avoid touching the bulbs, diodes, PCB board, or any other circuit components with your bare hands or any sharp object.
- For thinner LED fixtures like Quantum Boards, refrain from bending them or applying moderate pressure.
- Avoid pulling on wires or making any electrical fixes on the lights when they are plugged in.
- When not in use, store your light in a location sealed off from dust and high-traffic areas.