When we think about washing windows, we’re probably worried about the glass panels both inside and outside of our homes. But if you also have window screens, those need to be cleaned on a regular basis, too. Screens exist for the sole purpose of serving as a final barrier between the outdoors and your home, keeping things like insects and larger pieces of debris outside. But that also means that over time, they will get clogged with dirt, dust, and—hello, allergies!—pollen.
If you’re not sure where to start, Jessica Kielman walks us through the process in an article on Hunker. Here’s what to know to keep yourself breathing easier while enjoying some fresh air indoors.
How to clean window screens you can remove
According to Kielman, window screens should be washed at least twice a year. Fortunately, she has a pretty simple method for doing it—provided you’re able to remove the screen and take it elsewhere to wash it. (Sometimes window screens can get rusty or corroded or just stuck in place, so taking them out isn’t always an option. We’ll get to how to clean non-removable screens in a minute.)
Here’s what to do:
- Remove the screens and place them on a flat surface like a driveway or patio, or somewhere else without grass. If you don’t have outdoor space, your best bet is to use the bathtub.
- Mix one teaspoon of liquid dish soap with water in a bucket or a bowl. (Kielman doesn’t specify whether it should be hot, warm, or cold water, but hot water generally cleans better than cold.)
- Clean the screens one at a time. Start by wetting one down with a hose if outside, or a detachable shower head if indoors. Either way, use the lowest water pressure setting so you don’t blast through the screen (you don’t want to make those holes any bigger).
- Dip a soft dish brush in your soapy solution and lightly wash the screens either in an up/down or circular motion. The idea is to get rid of dust, dirt and other debris, but not press or scrub so hard that you’ll risk damaging them.
- Give the screens another gentle rinse.
- Wipe the screens down with a clean cloth, then let them air dry for an hour or two before placing them back in the windows.
How to clean window screens you can’t remove
The process is pretty similar, but if you’re looking for some specific information, Kimbry Parker wrote a separate article at Hunker walking us through the process.
One thing to note is that you may only need to clean one side, so start by washing the inside or the outside of the screens, then go back to see if they need more work. If they do (and it’s possible to get to the other side) wash that side too. Here’s what to do:
- If you’re cleaning the screens from the inside, put down some towels or sheets so you don’t get the inside of your home messy.
- Wipe the screen with a soft rag to knock off the loose dust, then go over it with a soft brush vacuum cleaner attachment to pick up everything left behind.
- Fill two buckets with warm water, then add a few squirts of dish soap into one of them.
- Use a lint-free rag (like an old T-shirt or something else made from cotton) to wipe down the window screens with the cleaning solution, frequently rinsing and wringing out the rag as you go.
- Wipe the screens down with the clean water to rinse them.
- Keep the windows open and give them a few hours to air dry.
You probably don’t want to add to the list of things you need to clean regularly, but it’s worth considering: Cleaning window screens can be especially helpful if someone in your household is allergic to dust or any type of pollen floating in from outside and getting trapped in the wire mesh.