3 Tips For Maintaining Your Neon Sign

Posted on: 6 July 2016

Neon signs are a great way to draw attention to your business when they're placed outside. They can also be used to give your place a little extra personality when they're used as interior décor. They're also affordable, long-lasting, and easy to maintain. If you have a neon sign, or if you're planning to get one for your business, it's important to know a little bit about what kind of maintenance they need. Take a look at some simple tips that will help you take care of your neon sign.


The most important thing that you'll have to do to keep your sign in good shape is keep it clean. When neon signs aren't kept clean, they eventually stop looking bright and welcoming and start to look dingy and uninviting. Dust and grime really show when they're located on top of a brightly-lit tube.

Before you start cleaning your neon sign, make sure that you unplug it. It's easy to think of neon signs as safe to handle because they don't get hot when they're lit. However, they're still powered by a transformer that can give you a dangerous shock if you're not careful.

To remove dust, use a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment to get rid of as much of the dust as you can, then wipe down the tubes with a nylon brush or a soft cloth. A paintbrush can be a useful tool to clean out dust located in hard-to-reach nooks and crannies.

Depending on where your sign is located, dusting the sign regularly might be enough. However, some signs accumulate more grime and need deeper cleaning. For example, neon signs located near the grill in a restaurant tend to accumulate grease, and neon signs located in the smoking section of a bar can end up covered in nicotine stains. To clean away grime, spray an ammonia-based cleanser onto a soft cloth and use that to gently rub the dirt off of the sign. Don't apply too much pressure – you don't want to break the glass tubes. Once you've removed the dirt, spray a new clean cloth with water and use it to remove any residue of the cleanser before plugging it back in.

Keep Bugs Away

If your sign is indoors, you're probably already doing everything you can to keep bugs from coming indoors. But if you have an outdoor neon sign, bugs can become a problem. Bugs are attracted to all kinds of light, and brightly colored neon tubes can be especially attractive.

Not only will you have to clean your sign more often if bugs use it as a hangout spot, if a large number of bugs are crawling on your sign, they can partially block it from view. Plus, bugs crawling over your sign is just not a good look. The simplest fix is to simply install electronic bug zappers or mosquito traps on your property to help keep the bug population down. You should try to install them near the source of the bugs – for example, if there's a drainage ditch near the back of your property, mosquitos are likely to come from there. Installing a mosquito trap near the ditch should prevent many of the bugs from ever getting to the sign located on the front of your property.

Don't Unplug

Believe it or not, you're better off leaving your neon sign plugged in at all times, unless you're cleaning it or having it repaired. This is because turning the neon sign off and on all the time puts more wear and tear on your neon sign transformer than simply leaving it on does. Left alone, a neon light can last a remarkably long time – just ask the restaurant owner who discovered a neon light that had been shining for 77 years, forgotten behind a partition.

This isn't as expensive as you might think. Neon is actually a very efficient form of lighting. The average cost to run a neon sign for 24 hours a day is about 20 cents a day, or less than it costs you to run a 75 watt bulb. And because the sign doesn't get hot, leaving it on is not a fire risk.

If your neon sign seems to be malfunctioning, don't try to fix it yourself. Hire a sign repair company such as Apogee Signs to safely repair your neon sign so that it can continue to light up your business.