an open roof window on a sunny day

Source: Finecki/

Are the dirt and cobwebs starting to obstruct the beautiful natural light from flowing through your skylights? That’s a sign it’s time to get cleaning!

Sure, climbing a ladder might seem like the obvious place to start, but when 20 percent of falls in homes cause serious injury, it's reason enough to take a step down. Cleaning windows can be frustrating enough without the added height that skylights bring. Keep reading to discover best practices on how to clean your skylight safely. 

The Basics

Your residential skylights are probably made of either plastic or glass. Understanding what your skylight is made of will help ensure you clean it properly.

Typically, more inexpensive skylights are made of plastic, such as acrylic or polycarbonate. Plastic skylights are more affordable and less likely to break, but the downside is they can have discoloration, become brittle and scratch easily. 

On the other hand, skylight glass will not discolor and is generally more robust than other materials. Within the glass subsection, you'll find most providers will offer two types: laminated LoE3 or tempered glazing. 

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Laminated glass is safer to clean overall because it holds the glass fragments together if it breaks. It consists of multiple glass sheets combined with layered resin or plastics. 

Tempered glass, however, doesn't have layers to hold it together. It will break into small pieces and potentially cause injury during cleaning or skylight installation if it shatters.

a person cleaning a window with a squeegee

Source: r.classen/

Cleaning the Interior 

Because a skylight is likely to be made of laminated or tempered glass, you'll want to avoid any harsh cleaners like Windex. To expedite the cleaning process, gather the following materials:

  • Several clean rags
  • Skylight cleaning pole or extension pole
  • Warm water
  • Dish soap
  • Bucket
  • White vinegar
  • Plastic tarp
  • Rope or rubber bands

Once you gather your materials, follow these 10 easy steps to clean your skylights and make them crystal clear: 

  1. Secure a dry rag to the end of your pole with rubber bands or rope and dust off any cobwebs and dirt.
  2. Fill the bucket with warm water and add a drizzle of dish soap and a half cup of white vinegar.
  3. Remove the dirty rag from dusting and replace it with a dry, clean rag.
  4. Dip the cloth end of the pole into the cleaning solution and wring it out.
  5. Gently work your way around the glass horizontally and then vertically.
  6. Replace the dirty rag with a clean one, throw out the cleaning solution and replace it with fresh distilled water.
  7. Dip the clean rag in the fresh water and rinse off the cleaning solution.
  8. Go over it with clean water as many times as necessary.
  9. Remove the rag and replace it with a clean, dry rag.
  10. Dry the glass using the same horizontal and vertical motion as when you used the cleaning solution.
There you have it! The interiors of your roof windows are now clean and shiny.

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Cleaning the Exterior

While the interior of your skylights can be cleaned without climbing a ladder, the exterior is an entirely different story. If you're worried about falling, the best option is to call a professional window washer to get it cleaned. 

You'll need the same equipment and cleaning solutions, as well as a ladder. This can be challenging because you must keep your cleaning solution on the ground and climb back and forth between rinses and scrubs. 

If you run into any stains that won't come out, like animal excrement, adding more vinegar to the cleaning solution will help get it out. When it's time to rinse off the soap and vinegar, it's best practice to do it with a hose as close to the ground as possible. 

The exterior of your skylight doesn't require special drying instructions. Let it air dry. 

a worker with a hard hat falling

Source: Gino Santa Maria/

Stay Safe

Cleaning VELUX roof windows or any skylight can pose serious falling and heat stroke dangers. Remember to stay safe, know your limits and call on a professional if you have any trouble. 

If you're looking to install new skylights or replace the ones you have, get in touch with one of our trained specialists to find the perfect fit.