We’re pretty sure that cleaning window screens is nowhere near the top of the list when it comes to things homeowners are excited to take on. However, like many maintenance tasks, it’s a necessary evil from time to time, and cleaning your window screens isn’t quite as simple as wiping down the windows themselves. Whether you’re looking for tips on how to scrub those screens until they’re like new again or want a few ideas on how to manage the dust and dirt in between deep cleans to maximize natural light in your home, here’s what you need to know.
Deep Clean Your Window Screen
The biggest and baddest version of window screen cleaning is the deep clean. Ideally, you want to clean your window’s screens one to two times a year, depending on the level of grime they accumulate. Whatever cadence you decide on, the deep clean is all about eliminating build up over time to keep your window views as pristine as possible. To accomplish this, you should:
- Choose a sunny day. You want the weather on your side for this endeavor as you will be most efficient cleaning your window screens outdoors.
- Take the screen out of the window frame. The easiest way to tackle deep cleaning window screens is to remove them from the window completely.
- Label your screens. If you have a larger number of window screens, it may be helpful to label with masking tape to avoid confusion when it comes time to reinstall the clean, dry screens.
- Mix about ¼ cup of dish soap or vinegar with ½ gallon of water to prepare your cleaning solution.
- Hold the screen upright. This will allow you to clean both sides of the screen carefully and serve as a reminder not to use too much pressure.
- Gently wash with a cloth or sponge. Use light pressure to avoid stretching or breaking your window screens.
- Rinse with a hose on a gentle setting. If your hose nozzle doesn’t have an appropriate setting, giving them a rinse in the shower works, too.
- Lay your screens flat to dry (preferably outside, in the sun).
- Once completely dry, run a lint roller over them or use a soft bristle attachment on your vacuum to pick up any left behind dirt. Then, reinstall your fresh, clean screens!
Cleaning Your Window Screen Without Removing It
Between deep cleanings, you may notice more dust and dirt buildup than you’d prefer. If the view from your windows starts getting a little foggy, there are a few things you can do to manage the debris without removing the screens and undergoing a full deep window screen cleaning.
- Gently running a lint roller over the screen. Be extra careful not to push too hard as this can result in stretching or poking holes in your screen, but a lint roller can help manage light dust and dirt.
- A damp sponge or magic eraser. If opting for a sponge, make sure to only use water and only dampen the sponge as the addition of soap or the use of too much water will make things messier and pose the risk of introducing mold or rust if water is left to sit.
- A vacuum attachment with soft bristles. The key to any screen cleaning is to be gentle and softly remove dirt. A soft bristle attachment helps manage the suction from the vacuum cleaner while still eliminating dirt and dust well.
Managing Window Screen Rust
Keeping your window screens clean isn’t just about dust and dirt management. As with any metal exposed to the elements over time, outdoor window screens battle with rust over the years. It can be tough to deal with, but you do have options outside of total window screen replacement (at least for a while!).
To manage window screen rust, you can:
- Apply vinegar and let it soak on rusted areas for a few hours. This is easiest if you can remove the screen in order to soak it fully, but even stuck screens can benefit from a vinegar-soaked cloth applied with a little elbow grease over the course of a few hours.
- Sometimes, clean water and a bristle brush do the trick. It may take patience and a good amount of muscle, but the combination of water and abrasive bristles can manage more screen rust than you might think.
- A paste of baking soda and water. Mix the two until you have a paste similar in consistency to toothpaste, apply, and rinse thoroughly after scrubbing.
In all instances of rust on your outdoor window screens, drying thoroughly should be a priority after the application of any cleaning methods. Moisture left to evaporate is likely to spur further rust issues in the future.
Upgrade to Pella’s Easy Care Screen Technology
If you are tired of expecting great views and being met with the meshy look of your window’s screen altogether, you have options. Pella’s Hidden Screen, Integrated Rolscreen® and Rolscreen® Retractable Screen offer better visibility without the added risk that a screenless window provides.
Our Hidden Screen windows appear when the window is open and fold away when it is closed, whereas our Integrated Rolscreen® is incredibly low-maintenance and offers an exceptionally polished look. Curious about how you can make window screen maintenance easier and keep your views cleaner? Request a consultation today to learn more.