What Are the Best Practices for Cleaning Neon Signs Safely

Date: 2024-03-29 | Author: Our Team

Neon signs are so much more than just ways to advertise or decorate. They’re like snapshots of art and culture, capturing the vibe of places like Melbourne and cool spots all around the world. 

Whether they’re lighting up a busy city street or adding some flair to your favourite local cafe, neon lights turn everyday places into something special to look at. But as awesome as these signs are, they don’t just keep shining bright on their own. 

Essential Takeaways

  • Neon Sign Composition: Whether traditional glass tubes or modern LED lights, knowing the components of your sign is crucial for safe and effective cleaning.
  • Safety is Paramount: Always prioritise safety by turning off and unplugging the sign before cleaning and gathering gentle cleaning supplies to prevent damage.
  • Step-by-Step Cleaning Guide: Follow a systematic approach, from gentle dusting to thorough drying, to rejuvenate your sign’s glow while preserving its integrity.
  • Regular Maintenance Tips: Beyond cleaning, regularly inspect your sign for damage, secure its installation, manage energy consumption and address advanced maintenance needs for long-lasting vibrancy.

They need a bit of love and care to stay looking their best. Keeping them clean is key to making sure they light up our spaces for a long time. So, if you’ve got a neon sign you want to keep glowing, you’re in the right place. 

This guide is all about showing you the easiest and safest ways to clean your sign, so it can keep doing its thing and lighting up your world.

A Close Look into Neon Sign Composition

To effectively care for your sign, a thorough understanding of its components is crucial. Traditional neon lights consist of glass tubes that are bent into various shapes and filled with neon or argon gas. When an electric current passes through the gas, it illuminates, producing the sign’s signature glow. 

These signs are fragile and demand careful handling during maintenance. Modern LED neon lights, while durable, mimic the aesthetic of traditional neon but use LED lights encased in flexible tubing. Regardless of the type, understanding the material and technology behind your sign is the first step in its proper care.

Preparing for Cleaning

Before going head first into the cleaning process, it’s crucial to gather all necessary supplies and understand the specifics of your sign. This preparatory step ensures a smooth and safe cleaning session, minimising the risk of damage to these delicate pieces.

Safety First: A Non-Negotiable Principle

The first rule of thumb in cleaning signs is ensuring safety. Always turn off and unplug your sign before beginning the cleaning process. This precaution prevents electrical hazards and protects the sign’s intricate components from damage during cleaning.

Gathering Your Cleaning Arsenal

Before starting the cleaning procedure, it’s always better to assemble the cleaning items. Here are some important tools that will be needed while cleaning neon signage:

  • Microfiber towels or lint-free cloths
  • Mild detergent or specialised neon sign cleaner
  • Warm water
  • Soft-bristled brush or feather duster
  • Ammonia-based cleaner (for stubborn stains, used with caution)

Ensure all your cleaning materials are gentle to avoid scratching or damaging the neon tubes.

Step-by-Step Cleaning Guide

This section will walk you through a detailed, systematic approach to cleaning your sign, from dusting to drying. By following these steps, you’ll effectively rejuvenate your sign’s vibrant glow while preserving its integrity for years.

Step 1: Gentle Dusting

Begin by lightly dusting the surface of your sign with a soft-bristled brush or feather duster. This step helps remove loose dirt without scratching the glass tubes.

Step 2: Preparing the Cleaning Solution

Mix a little amount of mild detergent with warm water. For tougher grime, an ammonia-based cleaner can be effective but should be used sparingly to avoid potential damage to the neon tubes.

Step 3: The Wipe Down

Dampen your microfiber towel or lint-free cloth in the cleaning solution, ensuring it’s not too wet. Carefully wipe down the neon tubes, applying minimal pressure to avoid breakage. This cleaning step is crucial for coastal areas in Melbourne, where signs may gather salt residue.

Step 4: Thorough Drying

After cleaning, thoroughly dry your sign with another clean, lint-free cloth. This prevents streaks and ensures no moisture remains that could harm the sign’s electrical components.

Regular Maintenance: Beyond Cleaning

Maintaining your sign involves more than just regular cleaning. Here are additional tips to ensure your sign remains vibrant:

  • Inspect Regularly: Check your sign for any signs of damage or wear and tear.
  • Secure Installation: Ensure your neon sign is securely mounted to prevent accidents.
  • Energy Management: Use a timer to manage your sign’s operation hours, reducing energy consumption and prolonging its life.

Advanced Maintenance Techniques

Other than the above-discussed cleaning techniques, there are some advanced maintenance techniques to keep your signs looking their best.

  • Addressing Stubborn Stains

For particularly stubborn stains, apply a small amount of ammonia-based cleaner directly to the affected area. Use a cotton swab for precise application and avoid spreading the cleaner onto unaffected areas.

  • Moisture Management

In humid environments, moisture accumulation can be a concern. Ensure that your sign is located in a well-ventilated area to reduce the risk of moisture-related damage. If necessary, consider using a dehumidifier to maintain optimal conditions.

  • Electrical Component Care

While the focus is often on the neon tubes or LED strips, the sign’s electrical components require attention too. Ensure that connections are secure and free of corrosion. If you’re uncomfortable checking these components, enlist a professional.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Can I use regular household cleaners on my neon signage?

It’s best to avoid harsh chemicals. Stick with mild detergents or cleaners specifically designed for neon signage to prevent damage.

2. How often should I clean my neon light?

Ideally, clean your sign every three to six months, depending on its exposure to dust and environmental factors.

3. Is it safe to clean a neon sign myself?

Yes, if you follow the recommended safety precautions, such as unplugging the sign and using gentle cleaning methods.

4. What should I do if my neon sign stops working after cleaning?

Ensure the sign is completely dry and properly connected. If it still doesn’t work, seek professional help for a thorough inspection.


Cleaning and maintaining neon signs, whether they’re illuminating the streets of Melbourne or adding flair to your interior space, it is essential for preserving their beauty and functionality. 

By following these best practices, you can ensure your neon signs in Melbourne continue to glow brilliantly for years to come. Remember, a little effort in maintenance goes a long way in enjoying the vibrant allure of neon lighting.