How to Clean the Satellite Dish to Improve Reception

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Satellite dishes offer more channels than you can possibly watch, in glorious High Definition. They're also a boon for rural viewers whose neighborhoods haven't been wired into the local cable network yet. But, the number of channels and size of your screen matter little if your reception is blocked by a dirty dish. Keeping your satellite dish clean helps ensure that you never miss that unbelievable touchdown, grand slam, full-court basket or favorite show.


How to Clean the Satellite Dish to Improve Reception
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Dust, Dirt and Leaves

Turn off your satellite receiver, which should be located close to your TV. Brush any dust, dirt and leaves off of your satellite dish with a small, soft whisk broom. Be extremely careful not to move the satellite dish because that will interfere with your reception and possibly require the dish to need re-aiming. Wipe the dish down with a slightly damp, lint-free cloth to remove any remaining dust.


Bird Droppings

Bird droppings on your satellite dish are unattractive and somewhat unsanitary but aren't a huge problem when it comes to reception. If your satellite dish is on the ground close to your home rather than on the roof, it's understandable that you'd want to clean it off. Don't use a garden hose or pressure sprayer because they both can move your dish, and the latter could possibly damage its electronics. Soak the droppings thoroughly with a nontoxic, biodegradable cleaner and let it sit for five to 10 minutes. Put on dishwashing gloves to protect your hands from any diseases the droppings might carry and carefully wipe away the droppings with a clean, damp, lint-free cloth. Discard the gloves and the cloth after cleaning the dish, and wash your hands thoroughly.


Water, Snow and Ice

Gently dry your satellite dish with a lint-free absorbent cloth after a heavy rain. Satellite dishes are designed to withstand wet weather, but it never hurts to show yours a little extra TLC. Brush snow away from your dish with a small whisk broom. Ice will have to melt naturally because anything you do to chip or scrape it away is likely to make the dish move, which can disrupt your reception. Don't use any type of salt on your dish as it may damage it.

Care and Maintenance

The better care you take of your satellite dish, the longer it will stay functional. Brush away dust and debris regularly and wipe down your dish after heavy rains or high winds. Consider purchasing a cover to help protect it from extreme weather. Always turn off your receiver before cleaning your dish. Avoid touching any wires and be careful of your footing when cleaning a dish that's on your roof, especially in wet or icy weather.



Brynne Chandler built her first bookcase at eight years old, which is also right around the time she started writing. An avid crafter, decorator and do-it-yourselfer, Brynne has remodeled several homes including one cantilevered on a cliff and one that belonged to Olympic swimmer and actor Buster Crabbe. Best known for her EMMY-nominated TV animation writing, she has been writing non-fiction content for almost a decade and has been featured in the San Francisco Chronicle and the Houston Chronicle online, among other places.

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