How to Clean Window Screens Like a Pro

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We’ve never met a single soul who gets excited about the prospect of cleaning screens. It’s a chore most of us put off until it can no longer be avoided—meaning you can’t see out your windows. Not only do dirty screens obstruct your view, they can also affect the air quality that’s filtered throughout your house.

There are lots of ways to clean screens depending on the severity of the dirtiness, but just to stay on the safe side, it’s important to deep clean all your window screens and door screens at least once a year— and there are some relatively easy methods to go about this unpleasant business.

You can do a quick clean with a lint roller, or go super deep with a soapy bath and toothbrush.

We even have you covered for those seemingly un-saveable rusty screens that you were just going to replace. And once you’ve embarked on this cleaning spree, you might as well read up on how to clean your dishwasher, the best grout cleaners to make your tiles look brand new, and how to get rid of black mold for good.

You can take on these tasks while you wait for your screens to dry.

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Lint Roller

If your screens are not especially dirty, try a lint roller. You can pick up loose dirt and dust without going through the trouble of detaching the screen. Try a smaller lint roller for easier access to small crevices.

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Mr. Clean Magic Eraser

If your lint roller doesn’t pick up all dust and dirt from your screens, try a Magic Eraser. Wet the foam and begin scrubbing the screen lightly enough that you do not stretch or damage it. We recommend the extra-strength eraser, as it will withstand prolonged scrubbing on a rougher surface. You can take on this task without detaching the screen.

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Using a vacuum is probably the easiest way to get rid of loose dirt and grime. Use a soft bristle attachment so you don’t damage or stretch your screens. To keep things nice and clean, add this chore to your monthly cleaning routine. For a deeper clean, try detaching the screens and laying them on a drop cloth to give a full once over with a vacuum.

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Soapy Water or Vinegar Bath

When your screens have stubborn, caked-on grime, it’s best to give them a bath. This is best done on a sunny day when screens can be left outside to dry.

  • Remove your screens from the windows and lay them outside. If you have a larger number of screens, it may be a good idea to label them with masking tape and a marker to make re-installation easier later on.
  • Mix 1/4 cup of all-purpose dish soap with 1/2 gallon of water. You can also do this with 1/4 cup of household vinegar instead of dish soap if you prefer.
  • Lift the screen into an upright position and gently wash soapy water over the screen with a sponge or dish cloth.
  • Before the screen dries, hose down the screen on the lowest pressure setting to rinse off any residual soap. If your hose does not have an option for a light spray of water, rinsing the screens in the shower is a great substitute.
  • Lay the screens out to dry for a few hours. Once they are fully dry, you can vacuum them with the soft bristle attachment to make sure any loose dirt is picked up before you put them back in their place.

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For really tough dirt, give your screens a soapy bath and add a slightly harder bristle brush like a toothbrush to really scrape off grime. Try not to press too hard on the screen because you don’t want to bend it out of shape. It may be tedious, but a toothbrush can break through any dirt stuck in those tiny holes, nooks, and crevices.

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