The best thing about having window screens is that they let fresh air into your home whilst keeping insects and other undesirable objects out. But the downside is that the screens are exposed to dirt, rain water, bugs and other elements. A clogged and dirty window screen is inefficient and prevents sufficient light and fresh air from entering your home. It is important that you know how to clean your window screens properly to ensure that fresh air gets through and that they look good and last long. A clean screen will leave your room feeling airy and well-lit with natural light.
We have put together this guide to help you clean your window screens the easy way. This guide is broken into four sections:
- Drying & Re-installation
- A bucket or large bowl
- Household Ammonia
- Water Hose Connected to a Tap
- Rubber Gloves
- Mild Dishwashing Detergent (optional)
- A soft scrub brush
- Soft Cloths
Prep the Screen For Cleaning
Step 1: Find a work area where you’ll clean the screen. We recommend that you clean the screens outdoors so you can have enough space to clean the screens comfortably. If you have a grass or a hard floor yard, clean the screens there. Make sure the water hose can extend to your work area.
Step 2: Remove the screens from the window. It is best to remove all the screens and take them outside to clean them. How you remove the screen from the window depends on how it is installed. Most window screens have tabs that you pull out, letting you easily pull the screen off the window frame. Be careful when taking out window screens because they can be easily ripped.
Step 3: Make a cleaning solution. Mix a 1:3 ratio of household ammonia and cold water in a large bucket or bowl. This mixture is excellent for breaking down and removing dirt and grime from the screen.
- You can replace the ammonia cleaning solution with a solution of warm water and mild dishwashing detergent if you don’t have household ammonia at home.
- Wear protective rubber gloves before mixing and cleaning with ammonia.
You are now ready to clean the screens.
How to Clean The Window Screens
Step 1: Spray the screen with water to remove surface dirt and dust. Do not use a high-pressure setting on your hose because too much water pressure can rip the screen. Spray the entire screen with the water to remove the surface dirt and dust.
Step 2: Dip a scrub brush in the cleaning solution and use it to scrub the surface of the screen.
- Begin at one end of the screen and work your way to the other end, making sure you scrub the entire surface of the screen.
- Turn the screen over and repeat the scrubbing process on the other side of the screen.
- Use a circular scrubbing motion to scrub the entire surface of the screen to break down grime and caked-on dirt.
- Rinse the brush with the water hose each time you want to dip it back in the cleaning solution to make sure you are not reapplying dirt to the screen.
Step 3: Dip a sponge in the cleaning solution and use it to wipe the surface of the screen to break down and remove any remaining dirt and grime.
- Use the sponge to wipe the frame of the screen clean.
- Inspect the screen to make sure you’ve not missed any areas
- Use the sponge to clean the corners of the frame
Step 4: Rinse the screen by spraying it with the water hose. Use enough water pressure to just spray off the dirt and cleaning solution from the screen but not rip it. Turn the screen over and rinse the other side as well. Ensure that you’ve sprayed the entire surface of the screen to rinse it.
How to Dry and Reinstall the Window Screen
Step 1: Inspect the surface of the screen after rinsing to make sure you’ve cleaned the entire surface of the screen. When you are satisfied, it’s time to dry the screen. You want the screen to dry completely before reinstalling it.
Step 2: You can leave the screen in the sun to dry naturally, however, use any of the methods below to speed up the drying process.
- Use a dry, soft cloth to wipe moisture off the screen and leave it out in the sun to dry. This speeds up the drying time.
- If you don’t have cloths or towels to wipe the screen dry, gently shave the screen to remove excess water before leaving it in the sun to dry.
- Lean the screen against a wall outdoors, turn on a fan and focus it on the screen to speed up the drying process.
- You can simply leave the screen in direct sunlight, and it should dry within an hour. Prop it against a wall or any standing object.
Step 3: Install the screen. You can reinstall the screen on your windows by doing the exact opposite of what you did to remove it. Slide your screens to make sure they are properly secured in the window frame.
Maintaining Your Window Screens
We recommend that you clean your window screens regularly to avoid having to do a deep clean often.
- Vacuum the screen at least once every week to remove dust and other trapped items that clog the screen. Use a brush attachment on the vacuum cleaner and vacuum both sides of the screen if you can. Then wipe the screen frames and screens themselves with a soft, damp cloth.
- Wash off any stains as soon as they occur. Mix mild dishwashing detergent and warm water in a bucket. Dip a sponge in the solution and use it to scrub off the stain. Use gentle pressure so you don’t rip the screen. Dip a soft cloth in water and wring out excess water. Use the damp cloth to rinse the area and wipe the frames clean.
- Do the above two steps on a regular basis to avoid having to take the screen out for cleaning. However, we recommend that you remove the screen from the frame for cleaning once every 3 months.
- Roll a lint roller over your window screens to lift off surface dust
- Large screens and difficult to remove screens can be cleaned in place. Add about 1 cup of vinegar to a gallon of water in a bucket. Dip a soft cloth in the solution and squeeze out excess liquid. Wipe the entire surface of the screen and frame with the damp cloth. Your screen will come out looking clean, and you didn’t even need to take the screen out or use water hoses.
- Remove greasy screens, take them outside, lean them against a wall and spray oven cleaner all over them. Oven cleaner will break down the grease on the screen. Rinse off with a water hose and let the screen dry.
- Some screens do not have tabs on them that allow you to remove the screen. For some screens, you lift them and then pull them out to remove them.