Cleaning Window Screens

Most experts would have you believe that there is no possible way to clean dirty window screens unless you pull them all out, and spend half a day on the chore. While this is a very effective and thorough way to go about improving the view when looking out of your house, there is also a much easier way to achieve similar results. Instead of fumbling around to take them out, you could leave them in place and remove just as much dirt. You may not experience the same triumph that is felt after completing a long, drawn out process, but you will have the satisfaction that comes from window screens that are free of dirt, dust, pollen, and other debris.

Not many of us would enjoy our home if it was sans screens because the stuffy air, or bug filled rooms would become pretty annoying. In order to enjoy fresh air, and not get bit by mosquitoes, those metal grids become pretty darn important. The criss-cross pattern is ideal for air flow and insect reduction, but it also leaves quite a bit of surface area for dirt to settle. As the grime builds over time, it cuts down on the freshness of the air, ruins your view, and also causes weakness in the structure. Because it fixes all of these problems, makes them look good, and is way cheaper than replacement, sooner or later we all find ourselves trying to clean our window screens.

This is one of those jobs that seems hard because people are unsure of a good method, and it is also one that folks put off due to perceived difficulty, and lack of time to complete the task. If you procrastinate too long, they will be extra dirty and possibly ruined, so avoiding a semi-regular schedule will only lead to increased frustration. Save yourself the hassle of doing it twice or buying new ones due to waiting too long. Use one of the methods below to rejuvenate the material, eliminate dirt and increase longevity as you complete the job to satisfaction.


Traditional Way To Do It:

Although this is not the fastest or easiest way to do finish, it may be the most thorough, and it will not require any new purchase in most cases. It will take quite a bit of time, start to finish, and it will require you to know how to remove the screens from every window you intend to clean, but once completed, things will be looking great, and the air blowing through will be nice and clean. Removal alone will take a good amount of time, and it is ripe for failures like dropping screens from second story windows, or pressing too hard to rip, tear or otherwise ruin a perfectly good screen. Once you move on to the actual scrubbing, you are in for even more work and time spent, but if done properly the end product can be quite satisfying. The instructions that follow will walk you through the process for standard cleaning, but if you would prefer a faster and easier method, continue reading for a simply good approach to the problem.

Step By Step Instructions:

  1. To prepare, remove each screen from the frame. If doing your whole house at once, labeling might be a smart idea to make it easier to find the right window when you put them back in.
  2. Lay out all screens on a flat surface that has been covered with a tarp or drop cloth for protection. Your driveway or lawn is a good location because you will need plenty of room. Make sure to avoid overlapping and ensure that the area is free of debris that might cause damage.
  3. Use your garden hose to give them all a good rinse. You will not need too much pressure, and a good back and forth motion will help to ensure all areas are sprayed. You want to completely soak as preparation for washing, but also rinse away any loose chunks of dirt.
  4. Mix together a cleaning solution of soap and water in a bucket. Also get a scrub brush or similar tool to do the washing.
  5. Scrub the entire surface using an up and down, or back and forth motion. Work from top to bottom, and overlap slightly to ensure total coverage. Be careful not to use too much pressure as you may  puncture the material or bend the frame.
  6. To clean the frames, use a soft cloth or sponge to wipe the surface.
  7. Once clean, use your hose to rinse thoroughly. Flip and rinse the back side too.
  8. As you rinse, inspect all areas for any missed spots. Scrub again for any dirty parts, and rinse again for any with soap left. Residual dirt will make it look like you didn’t do a good job, and soap residue will make new dirt cling faster.
  9. Once cleaned and rinsed, lift up and shake or tap to knock out water and promote drying.
  10. Wipe remaining moisture with an absorbent cloth, or lay out on a drop cloth to air dry.
  11. To clean inside outer grooves, a butter knife and cleaning rag combined can make the task easy. Simply poke the cloth in and use the knife to run up and down along the groove.
  12. Once dry, replace screens.