Solar Cleaning: Harnessing the Power of the Sun

Living in Arizona, we are lucky to enjoy beautiful sunshine nearly 360 days of each year. It makes sense, then, that we would tap into the rays of the sun to power our homes. But what about solar cleaning? Is that even a thing? Could sunlight really help us keep a cleaner home?

How the Sun Powers Cleaning

It turns out there’s really something to the idea of opening the windows and letting a little light in. Not only does sunshine illuminate your home and provide a dose of happiness, but it also disinfects. Just 30–60 minutes is all that’s needed to get the benefits of some old-fashioned solar cleaning. In that time, the sun will kill the bacteria on a number of common household items.

And this isn’t just an old wives’ tale. Science backs up the idea of solar cleaning.

In a 90-day study on the effects on sunlight on bacteria, the University of Oregon found that rooms exposed to sunlight have fewer germs. Their findings showed that sunlit rooms had 50% or less viable bacteria than rooms left in the dark.

And did you know UV is used to clean drinking water? If it’s good enough for that, surely it will work in your home.

How Do You Implement Solar Cleaning?

Florence Nightingale was a proponent for sunlight as a way to heal hospital patients, noting that wounded soldiers recuperated faster when exposed to the sun regularly. And even before the University of Oregon study was published, it was known that the sun acts as a disinfectant that kills bacteria.

Hanging clothes out to dry on the line is just the start of how you can use solar cleaning around your home. Of course, the trick is to get items exposed to direct sunlight, which isn’t always possible in today’s homes. After all, living in one of the hottest places in the world, many of us take measures to keep the sun out. From window tinting to darkening blinds, our goal is often to avoid letting in too much sun for fear of higher cooling bills.

Thankfully, you can use the sun’s power without necessarily letting too much light and heat into your home. The answer: put things outside.

Have an area that can’t be exposed to the sun directly? Try a UV lamp, which offers the same disinfecting power.

What Can the Sun Clean?

Given that laundry has long been hung outside to dry and disinfect, it’s natural to start the conversation about solar cleaning with fabric. Pretty much anything that’s soft sided can benefit from the sun’s rays:

  • Sheets
  • Pillows
  • Comforters
  • Rugs
  • Clothes
  • Stuffed animals
  • Upholstery

But solar cleaning isn’t limited to fabrics. How about that stained plastic bowl? The sun can help there as well. Leave the bowl in direct sunlight for an hour or more and watch as that stain fades away. A little spray of lemon juice or vinegar only boosts the solar power, so if you’re not seeing any effect with sun alone, add a little help.

Sunlight is also a natural anti-fungal. If you have anything with mold or mildew, putting it outside for a bit will clean that right up. Note that this only works with hard surfaces that don’t allow mold to get into the fibers. First, wash the item thoroughly, and then let it dry in the sun for the day. That solar power will kill any spores.

Bonus: sunlight and heat also help to rid items of dust mites and bed bugs. That means your suitcases and other items that can’t run through the washer and dryer can be placed outside after your next trip to disinfect them. Ensure that all sides of any objects you put outside get exposed to direct light. You may need to turn them a few times to accomplish that.

Keep Your Home Clean with the Sun—and Carnation Home Cleaning

Although we don’t show up at your home with a bottle of sunlight to clean, we do have sunny smiles! And we only use natural remedies and environmentally friendly cleaners to clean and disinfect your home. After all, clean doesn’t smell. Just like sunshine doesn’t smell. All you’re left with is a fresh, clean home, perfectly safe and inviting for your family, pets, and friends.

Contact us to learn more about our services.