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Cleaning Outdoor String lights with Bar Keepers Friend

August 10, 2022

Cleaning outdoor string lights begins by understanding your lights. String lights are large transparent bulbs strung from a cable, sometimes called a string, that can light up the space below them. Most string lights are LEDs with either glass or plastic bulbs. Almost all string lights are waterproof, but it’s always a good idea to check before cleaning. If you don’t have the original box, check the manufacturer’s website.

String lights are made for the outdoors. They add warm white light and an inviting atmosphere to any outdoor space. They’re used over restaurant patios, backyard grill areas, and elevated decks. They’re a beautiful addition to any outdoor space. However, being outdoors, they get dirty, dirt and dust, pollen and pollution, bugs and birds, all soil string lights. And then there’s oxidation and mold! It’s important to stay ahead of the dirt and keep your lights clean, so they look their best and last their longest.

Cleaning Outdoor String lights with Bar Keepers Friend 

You can use Bar Keepers Friend Powder Cleanser or BKF MORE Spray + Foam to clean your outdoor string lights.

The first step is to be sure the lights are unplugged. I know that sounds obvious, but folks have tried to clean “live” string lights – not a good idea.

Using the Original Powder Cleanser 

Fill a bucket with water and soak the string and bulbs for a couple of minutes. This will remove much of the dust and light grime from the bulbs.

  • Take the lights out of the water and lay them on a dry drop cloth or paper
  • Sprinkle Bar Keepers Friend Powder Cleanser on the bulbs
  • Rub the BKF into the bulbs with a soft cloth
  • Let the powder sit for one minute on the bulbs
  • While waiting, you can wipe the powder from the string
  • Wash with a soft, damp cloth
  • Dry with a cloth or paper towel
  • For stubborn stains such as mold or oxidation, repeat using a toothbrush.

Warning: Before cleaning plastic bulbs, test one bulb to be sure the cleanser doesn’t dull, stain, or scratch the bulb’s surface. 

Using MORE Spray + Foam 

What if you only have one hour before guests start arriving to your cookout? In that case, use BKF MORE Spray + Foam for a quick clean. Lay the lights on a dry drop cloth. This is easier when the drop cloth is on a table, not the ground.

  • Shake the More Spray + Foam before using
  • Rotate trigger spray nozzle to foam
  • Apply the foam to a soft, non-abrasive cloth and gently rub each bulb
  • Clean off the foam with a soft, damp cloth
  • Wipe the bulbs dry with a paper towel

Warning: Be sure the bulbs are completely dry before using.

String lights are more than illumination. They add a warm ambiance to any outdoor setting. They make the food taste better, the people look prettier, and the space feel richer than ordinary lighting. Don’t let them get too dirty to do their magic, and if, no … when they get dirty, let BKF do its magic.

What out-of-the-ordinary things have you cleaned with Bar Keepers Friend? We’d love to hear about it.

Have questions about Bar Keepers Friend and our many cleansers and products? Contact us today!

About the Author 

Randy Clark is a speaker, coach, and author. He publishes a weekly blog at Randy Clark Randy is passionate about social media, leadership development, and flower gardening. He’s a beer geek, and on weekends (after COVID-19), he can be found fronting the Rock & Roll band Under the Radar. He’s the proud father of two educators; he has four amazing grandchildren and a wife who dedicates her time to helping others. Randy is the author of the Amazon bestseller The New Manager’s Workbook: A crash course in effective management.




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