How to Properly Clean Window and Door Screens

Your window and door screens play such an important role in keeping your family home cool and aerated during the warm summer months. Screens help to filter particles and debris from entering your home, as well as a plethora of insects. As such, they can get filthy pretty quick. Once they start to retain dirt, they won’t filter the air as well and can even get a little smelly at times. That’s why it’s crucial to maintain both your door and window screens by giving them a deep clean once a year, along with monthly maintenance cleans. By doing so, you’ll be extending their lifespan, so they can continue to provide you with the protection you need from dirt and insects.

Cleaning your window/door screens isn’t exactly an activity one looks forward to, and doing it at the wrong time of the year can make matters worse as bugs can enter when they’re being removed. To prevent creepy crawlies and winged insects from entering, try to schedule your screen cleanings right after the winter season, and remember to close the window altogether after the screens are removed.

Remove the Screens

Begin the cleaning session by removing the screens from your windows and/or doors. if you’re removing a good deal of them, it’s a good idea to use tape to label each screen so it returns to the window you removed it from. Take care that you don’t accidentally force them, which could result in bent frames.

If you only have a couple of screens to clean, then you could probably get away with cleaning them in your bathtub. However, if you’re doing a deep spring cleaning, and have your heart set on removing all the window and door screens, then it’s best to set up your workspace outside. It’s not a bad idea to start early in the day, so your screens get a chance to naturally dry in the sun before you re-install them.

Once removed, lay each screen down on a clean towel or painters drop cloth. Next,, it’s recommended that you first rid them of excess dirt, spider webs, bugs, and any fluff from vegetation such as cottonwood trees. To do this, you can either hose your screens down, or gently vacuum them. It can’t be stressed enough, that you need to be gentle throughout the entire process, or risk ending up with torn or sagging screens.

Wash and Rinse Your Screens

When it comes to the cleaning solution, you can use either a commercial brand, or make your own solution. Place your solution of choice in a bucket of water, making certain it’s soapy enough. Next, grab each screen and hold it vertically. Take a microfiber cloth or sponge and begin to gently wash one side of the screen, then the other. Next, carefully wipe down the screens frame. Again, remember that your screens are delicate, so avoid using a pressure washer or garden hose on full force, as it may tear your screens.

Let Dry and Replace

While your screens are drying in the sun, you can make use of the time by taking the reminder of the cleaning solution back to the windows, and remove any dirt and grime you find in the tracks, inner sill, etc. Sometimes, just a light vacuuming with the brush or crevice tool will do. if the dirt is ensconced in corners, then take a toothbrush and scrub it clean. This way your screen is guaranteed to have a good, clean fit. When all is dried, gently replace your screens.

Homemade Cleaning Solutions

While there are plenty of sudsy cleaning solutions you can purchase at the store, there are also a good deal of cleaning solutions you can make at home which do an excellent job in ridding your screens of filth and debris. Remember to wear rubber gloves when using these or any other cleaners.

Baking Soda and Hydrogen Peroxide Paste

  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Put the baking soda in a bowl, and slowly add just enough hydrogen peroxide to make a thick paste. Next, use that paste to remove stubborn stains.
  • 2. Borax Cleaner (
  • 1/4 cup ammonia
  • 3 Tbsp Borax powder
  • 5 gallons of water

Do not use on aluminum screens as the ammonia may discolor the screens.

Window Screen Maintenance

If the idea of removing all your window and door screens sounds a tedious and unpleasant activity, well, for most it is. To avoid, or lessen the chances of this, you have the option to perform regular maintenance on your screens using a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, lint roller, or vacuum cleaner. ( While these methods aren’t as good as a real, solid cleaning, they can help keep your screens fresh and clean.

Use a Lint Roller

For window and door screens that aren’t too dirty, use a lint roller. Nothing special, the bargain brand at your local dollar store will do just fine. By rolling the lint roller over the screens, you’ll be able to pick up most of the dirt and debris. This can be done by leaving the screen in the window. If a lint roller isn’t handy, you can also use masking tape to remove lose dirt.

Vacuum Your Screens

First, attach your vacuums brush attachment. You can also use your crevice tool if you’ve got dirt and debris nestled deeply in corners. With the brush tool attached, simply go over each screen lightly, using gentle strokes. Doing this on a regular basis is sure to keep your screens free from dust.

Mr. Clean Magic Eraser

This is great for any tough spots you encounter, as well as regular maintenance. Simply purchase the Extra Strength Magic Eraser, follow the directions on the box, and begin to wipe down the screen and frame using a circular motion.

Screens with Rust

If your outdoor screens begin to show the signs of rust, no need to toss them to the side. Save yourself some money by using a touch of vinegar and some elbow grease.

  • Remove your screens and place them on a tarp or drop cloth. Grab some white vinegar and baking soda, you’ll need it to saturate the rusted screening. Once you let your rusted screens soak in the vinegar for a few hours.
  • Next, get a bristle brush. Using a lite touch, gently brush over the screens. Pretty soon, you should see the majority of the rust wash off.
  • If parts of the screen still have rust, then take some of the baking soda, mix with water until you get a paste. Take the bristle brush and gently rub onto the screen. When finished rinse and dry.

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