How to Clean Window and Door Screens

A close up shot of a screen door swinging open onto a sunny porch

 

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Nothing says spring and summer like open windows catching a cool, fresh breeze. Nothing says misery like flies and mosquitoes getting into your home and aggravating everyone in sight. That's why window and door screens are essential for moderate seasons.

Unfortunately, those screens catch lots of dust, pollen, and insects so they need to be cleaned regularly.

How Often to Clean Window and Door Screens

Both fixed and removable screens should have a thorough cleaning twice per year; once at the beginning of the season and once at the end of the season. While windows are open, the screens should be dusted or vacuumed weekly to keep dust at bay and to check for holes that might need repair.

How to Clean Removable Window and Door Screens

It is usually much easier to clean removable screens because you can avoid ladders and splatters on clean glass panes. If you intend to clean all of the screens from your home in one session, take the time to mark each screen and window with numbered or lettered pieces of masking tape. It will make replacing them much more simple since window sizes can vary slightly.

What You Need

Supplies

  • Water
  • Household ammonia

Tools

  • Tarp or drop cloth
  • Vacuum with dusting attachment or hand duster
  • Bucket
  • Sponge, microfiber cloth or scrub brush
  • Water hose with spray attachment
  • Old towels
  • Rubber gloves (optional)

Instructions

  1. Remove the Dust and Spiderwebs

    Spread the tarp or drop cloth on a deck or patio and lay each screen down flat. Vacuum well using the dusting attachment or use a disposable duster to remove dust, pollen, and spiderwebs. Turn each screen over so you clean both sides.

    If you can't access an outside work area, the screens can be cleaned in a bathtub. Place old towels or a drop cloth in the bottom of the tub to prevent scratches.

  2. Mix the Cleaning Solution

    In a large bucket, mix one-part household ammonia to three-parts of water, stirring to mix well. Dip the sponge or microfiber cloth in the mixture and wipe down every surface of the screen including the frame and edges. You may wish to wear rubber gloves because ammonia can be harsh on your skin.

  3. Rinse and Dry

    Using the spray attachment on the garden hose, rinse down the screen well on both sides. Do not use a pressure washer or an extremely forceful spray that could bend or distort the screen. If you have time, allow the screens to air dry. If you need to get them back up quickly, use old towels to pat them dry.

  4. Clean the Window Frames and Reinstall the Screens

Before you reinstall the screens, take the time to vacuum and clean the window frames. Dust and pollen can collect in the crevices and corners. Be sure the screens are completely dry before reinstalling in place.

How to Clean Non-Removable Window and Door Screens

The process for cleaning fixed-in-place screens is very similar, but you won't be able to use a garden hose inside the house!

What You Need

Supplies

  • Water
  • Household ammonia

Tools

  • Tarp, drop cloth or old towels
  • Hand duster
  • Vacuum with crevice tool
  • Two buckets
  • Sponge, microfiber cloth or scrub brush
  • Old towels
  • Rubber gloves (optional)
  • Eye protection (optional)

Instructions

  1. Protect the Surrounding Area

    Place a drop cloth or old towels around your work area to protect floors and carpets.

  2. Remove the Dust

    Since the screen will not be lying flat and can easily become bent, it is better to skip the vacuum and remove the dust using a disposable duster. Do your best to dust both sides of the screen. Use the crevice tool on the vacuum to remove dust and dirt from the window and door frame before you begin cleaning.

  3. Prepare the Cleaning and Rinse Solutions

    In one bucket, mix one-part household ammonia and three-parts water. Fill the second bucket with plain water for rinsing.

  4. Wipe Down the Screen

    Using a sponge, microfiber cloth or soft-bristled brush, and the ammonia solution, clean each section of the screen. It is a good idea to wear eye protection and rubber gloves. You should also wipe down the window or door frame to remove any grime. When the screen is clean, dip a clean cloth in the plain water and wipe down the screen and frame to rinse.

  5. Completely Dry the Screen

Use an old towel to completely dry the cleaned screen before moving to the next location.