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Cleaning window screens is an important step in buttoning up your house for the winter or starting fresh in the spring. Window screens that have been exposed to the elements all season long collect dirt,grime, and even pollen. Cleaning dirty screens will help them last longer and deliver fresh air for years to come.
Here are a few tips to make this DIY home improvement project easier.
Know your screens
Before you deep clean your window screens, it’s helpful to understand the type of window screens you have, as well as the screening material.
Generally, there are two types of screens:
Metal Storm Windows and Screen
If your home has metal storm windows, the screens are made of a sturdy aluminum mesh and very durable. Each storm window will have three tracks built into the frame. Two will hold solid glass storm panels and one holds the screen. When not in use, the screens store in between the storm windows and the window itself, which actually helps preserve them.
Removing window screens from storm windows for cleaning is a bit tricky. This handy video provides a good demo.
Interior/Exterior mounted window screens
Newer, more energy efficient windows typically have fiberglass screens. These are much easier to remove. These screens are mounted to the interior or exterior and held in place by spring-loaded pins. While the fiberglass mesh doesn’t last nearly as long as the metal screens, they’re lighter and easier to handle. Exposure to the UV rays of the sun can make the fiberglass mesh brittle. Cleaning these fiberglass screens must be done gently to avoid damage.
Window screen cleaning supplies
To get ready for your window cleaning project, there are a few things you’ll need:
- Garden Hose
- Dish Soap
- 2 gallon bucket
- Soft bristle brush
- Tarp or drop cloth
Steps to deep clean your window screens
Step 1: Remove the window screens old storms
To get this cleaning routine started, first remove the windows screens from the window frames. Place the window screens on a flat surface such as the driveway or lawn, or use a table covered with a vinyl tarp or drop cloth. If you have many screens, it is helpful to label each one with its location. You can easily make a label with masking tape and a marker to keep screens organized.
Step 2: Remove loose dirt
Use a brush attachment on your vacuum cleaner or a lint roller to remove any loose dirt from the surface of the screen.
Step 3: Wet and scrub screens
Next, mix up a soapy water solution of ¼ cup of liquid dishwasher soap to a gallon of water. Wet the screens down with a garden hose. Then scrub gently to remove dirt and grime using a soft bristle brush. A toothbrush is also sometimes helpful to get into groves and spaces between the window screen material and it’s frame.
Screening material can weaken from exposure to the sun’s UV rays, So, it’s important to be careful not to scrub the screens too vigorously. Also, use care when handling aluminum mesh screens. These can be dented or creased if too much pressure is placed on the screen.
Step 4: Rinse, dry and replace the screens
Clean both sides of the entire screen, scrubbing around both the interior and exterior of the frame. Rinse off the window screens with warm water, and allow the screen to dry completely before replacing in the window.
While it may be tempting, never use a pressure washer to clean window screens. The force of the water can damage the screens. Also, use extreme care when handling aluminum mesh screens. Itcan be dented or creased if too much pressure is placed on the screen.
How to store your clean window screens
While most window screens may remain in the windows year-round, some homeowners prefer to store screens during winter months. This also lessens the need for spring cleaning and helps the screens last longer.
If you choose to remove your window screens, make certain to store them either in an upright or flat position. Covering them with plastic or a sheet will keep windows screens clean while in storage. Finally, make sure nothing sits on top of (or leans against) the window screens to eliminate the chance of frames being bent or holes being poked in the screens.
Cleaning your window screens may not be a fun DIY project to look forward to. But these tips will help you get the job done quickly and efficiently!