When you’re housecleaning, you wash your windows until they’re sparkling clean. But when you put the screens back, you lose that shine because the window screens are filthy. Window screens can get just as dirty as windows and they collect all sorts of debris, including wind-blown dirt, insects, pollen, and dust.
Not only does this make the windows look bad, but it also affects the air quality inside your home when you open the windows because dirt or collected pollen can make its way inside. Cleaning the screens can make them look better and keep the trapped dirt outside of your house. Read on for 6 of the best ways to clean window screens.
Best Ways to Clean Window Screens
There are several ways to clean window screens, ranging from quick, easy hacks to thorough jobs that will get your windows completely clean. Check out which option will work for you below.
1. Use a Lint Roller
For a basic cleaning job, you can tackle the window screen with a lint roller. Use a small roller to get to all the corners, or slide the lint roll off of the handle and mount it on a paint roller for a longer reach.
This works for cleaning screens from the inside, but it works better to clean them from the outside if the windows are within reach since most of the dirt collects on the exterior side of the screens. Do both sides if possible.
2. Use a Magic Eraser
Magic erasers pick up dirt that wet rags can’t loosen. Moisten the eraser and rub it gently on the screen. Make sure you only use new erasers. An old eraser can loosen and tear into fragments, leaving white debris on your screen.
You can vacuum a window screen using the brush attachment of your vacuum. Start at the top and work your way down, in case you dislodge any dust as you work. Vacuum both sides of the screen if you can. You can also vacuum out the window sills and window tracks as long as you have the vacuum out.
4. Take Them Down to Wash
To wash the screens thoroughly, you must remove them. This is a job you can do when scrubbing the windows, as you need to remove the screens to wash the windows anyway. Most window screen frames have small tabs you can pull to pop them right out of the windowsill. Work carefully, as the screens are fragile and can break.
Once you have the screens down, take them outside and lay them on a tarp or some towels. Spray them down with the hose on its gentlest setting. Then scrub the screens gently with a soft brush. Wash the screens with a window cleaning solution such as:
- a mixture of three parts water to one part ammonia (make sure to use rubber gloves when you use ammonia!)
- a dish soap solution using 1/4 cup dish soap to 1/2 gallon of water
- a vinegar solution using 1/4 cup vinegar to 1/2 gallon of water
Be gentle! If the screens seem fragile, skip the scrubbing step. Instead, just hose them off and then wipe gently with a rag. Once you’re done, go over the screens with a sponge to collect any loose dirt that’s been dislodged by the scrubbing. Spray the screens once more on each side. Wipe the screens off with dry rags or shake them to remove excess moisture. Then you can let the screens dry by laying them flat to drip, leaning them against a wall to let air circulate, or leaving them in sunlight.
5. Pressure Washing Screens
Pressure washing lets you clean screens that you can’t reach and you can’t remove. You should only do this, however, if your pressure washer has a low setting. Otherwise, spray the screens with a hose to remove all the grime you can.
6. Cleaning Rusty Window Screens
Even rusty window screens can be cleaned, although the process is a little bit different. If you have a metal window screen getting rusty, try soaking the screen with vinegar. Knowing how to clean window screens with vinegar is a good idea because it is something most of us have around the house. If possible, detach the screen and lay it flat on a tarp or cleaning towel. Then wipe it down with vinegar and let the vinegar soak in. Otherwise, rub the screen with a vinegar-soaked rag every few minutes.
After a few hours, the vinegar should have dissolved most of the rust. Use a brush and clean water to gently scrub the rust off of the screen. If the rust doesn’t come off, you can make a thick paste of water and baking soda, then use it to scrub the screen. The baking soda acts as a gritty abrasive like sandpaper and can rub the rust away. Rinse the screen with water.
Maintaining Your Window Screens
After deep cleaning your screens, make the window screen cleaning part of your regular cleaning routine. Doing light cleaning, such as vacuuming, will reduce the buildup of dirt, so that deep cleaning does not need to be done as often.
Should You Buy New Screens With New Windows?
When you buy new windows, you have the choice between new construction windows and retrofit windows. When you choose new construction windows, a contractor will be replacing the whole window frame, including the screens. When you choose retrofit windows, only the glass gets replaced. If you want to keep your window screens when you buy new windows, you may want to consider a retrofit window installation.
Start Cleaning Your Window Screens Today
When it’s time to clean, choose one of the best ways to clean window screens and make sure dirty screens aren’t taking away the clean look of your home! Whether you’re brushing the dust off of your all screens, vacuuming screens for a few minutes, or removing the screens to thoroughly clean them, you’ll be able to get your window screens perfectly clean.
If you liked this article, check out the rest of our website for more great articles on improving your home.