Most experts would have you believe that there is no possible way to clean dirty window screens unless you pull them all out, and spend half a day on the chore. While this is a very effective and thorough way to go about improving the view when looking out of your house, there is also a much easier way to achieve similar results. Instead of fumbling around to take them out, you could leave them in place and remove just as much dirt. You may not experience the same triumph that is felt after completing a long, drawn out process, but you will have the satisfaction that comes from window screens that are free of dirt, dust, pollen, and other debris.
Not many of us would enjoy our home if it was sans screens because the stuffy air, or bug filled rooms would become pretty annoying. In order to enjoy fresh air, and not get bit by mosquitoes, those metal grids become pretty darn important. The criss-cross pattern is ideal for air flow and insect reduction, but it also leaves quite a bit of surface area for dirt to settle. As the grime builds over time, it cuts down on the freshness of the air, ruins your view, and also causes weakness in the structure. Because it fixes all of these problems, makes them look good, and is way cheaper than replacement, sooner or later we all find ourselves trying to clean our window screens.
This is one of those jobs that seems hard because people are unsure of a good method, and it is also one that folks put off due to perceived difficulty, and lack of time to complete the task. If you procrastinate too long, they will be extra dirty and possibly ruined, so avoiding a semi-regular schedule will only lead to increased frustration. Save yourself the hassle of doing it twice or buying new ones due to waiting too long. Use one of the methods below to rejuvenate the material, eliminate dirt and increase longevity as you complete the job to satisfaction.
Traditional Way To Do It:
Although this is not the fastest or easiest way to do finish, it may be the most thorough, and it will not require any new purchase in most cases. It will take quite a bit of time, start to finish, and it will require you to know how to remove the screens from every window you intend to clean, but once completed, things will be looking great, and the air blowing through will be nice and clean. Removal alone will take a good amount of time, and it is ripe for failures like dropping screens from second story windows, or pressing too hard to rip, tear or otherwise ruin a perfectly good screen. Once you move on to the actual scrubbing, you are in for even more work and time spent, but if done properly the end product can be quite satisfying. The instructions that follow will walk you through the process for standard cleaning, but if you would prefer a faster and easier method, continue reading for a simply good approach to the problem.
Step By Step Instructions:
- To prepare, remove each screen from the frame. If doing your whole house at once, labeling might be a smart idea to make it easier to find the right window when you put them back in.
- Lay out all screens on a flat surface that has been covered with a tarp or drop cloth for protection. Your driveway or lawn is a good location because you will need plenty of room. Make sure to avoid overlapping and ensure that the area is free of debris that might cause damage.
- Use your garden hose to give them all a good rinse. You will not need too much pressure, and a good back and forth motion will help to ensure all areas are sprayed. You want to completely soak as preparation for washing, but also rinse away any loose chunks of dirt.
- Mix together a cleaning solution of soap and water in a bucket. Also get a scrub brush or similar tool to do the washing.
- Scrub the entire surface using an up and down, or back and forth motion. Work from top to bottom, and overlap slightly to ensure total coverage. Be careful not to use too much pressure as you may puncture the material or bend the frame.
- To clean the frames, use a soft cloth or sponge to wipe the surface.
- Once clean, use your hose to rinse thoroughly. Flip and rinse the back side too.
- As you rinse, inspect all areas for any missed spots. Scrub again for any dirty parts, and rinse again for any with soap left. Residual dirt will make it look like you didn’t do a good job, and soap residue will make new dirt cling faster.
- Once cleaned and rinsed, lift up and shake or tap to knock out water and promote drying.
- Wipe remaining moisture with an absorbent cloth, or lay out on a drop cloth to air dry.
- To clean inside outer grooves, a butter knife and cleaning rag combined can make the task easy. Simply poke the cloth in and use the knife to run up and down along the groove.
- Once dry, replace screens.
Simply Good Method
Using a specially designed tool can really simplify this job. Although incredibly messy when using traditional techniques, you can actually clean screens without taking them out of the frame when you have a better tool. Because the removal step increases overall time exponentially, when you eliminate this step, the whole job is far less time consuming. A tool designed for the task also eliminates some possibility of damage and speeds up the scrubbing process, so you will save time there as well. In the end, you will have similar results in a fraction of the time, and you will not have to scale the roof, break out the tool box, or risk damage by attempting to remove them first. Scrubbing will be far faster, way easier, and not at all risky, and you will still have the crystal clear finish you are after. This technique will require a special purchase in order to have the tool necessary, but when you consider the time, effort and frustration saved, you can easily justify the amount. Plus, in most cases it will actually allow the cleaning to take place instead of being put off until next year.
Better Tool = Easier Job
You can tell by the name alone that the Screen Cleaning Tool was born for this job. It doesn’t do a whole lot else, but it does make this chore super easy. You can get the hand held roller all by itself, or you can get it as a set with a 5′ or 12′ extension pole. It is basically a lightweight roller that is coated in two types of microfiber. Most of it has a plush exterior, but a band of longer, more coarse material adds to it’s ability. As you roll back and forth, the material will clean all surfaces, and the longer fibers will even dig down to clean inside the holes. It can be used dry for light dusting and maintenance cleaning, or you can get it wet to increase your power. Add some soap to the mix, and you will be able to thoroughly clean any screen you encounter. You can use this tool to help when doing things traditionally and it will save time and effort, but you can also use it to avoid taking screens out, and it will be even more useful and efficient.
How To Use It:
- To prepare for cleaning, make sure the roller is free of any debris.
- You can remove all screens and place them on the ground, or you can leave them in to avoid the hassle.
- For removing pollen, cottonwood fuzz, and other dusty debris, you can use the roller dry to quickly pick it up.
- When wet with water alone, it will remove most dirt and grime that is a little more stuck. To wet, simply hold under faucet to saturate. Shake out to remove excess moisture.
- For really stubborn grime, add soap to your water and use the roller that way. The microfiber material cleans amazingly well on it’s own, but sometimes a little extra help will make the job easier. Quick N Brite works well, and is safe for all surfaces, but many others will do a fine job too.
- To clean, simply roll up and down or back and forth depending upon orientation. As you roll the fibers will dip down into the holes, and completely cover all surface area to remove any dirt encountered. The material gently scrubs the surface to lift up and lock in dirt and germs, and the metal will be left perfectly clean. It is far more gentle than a brush, and way quicker too.
- For the frames, you will not need another tool. Simply roll over them too, or use the tool sideways to sort of wipe the surface without rolling.
- Once the grid has been washed, it is time to rinse if you used soap.
- Method 1: Wash soap out of the roller, get wet again, and roll to remove excess soap and rinse the material. Method 2: make sure windows are closed, and use a hose to spray them down from outside. Method 3: If you took them out and they are on the ground, use a hose to spray them off where they are laying.
- For screens you never removed, you can just let them air dry,or you can use a dry cloth to wipe away moisture.
- For screens you took out, shake or tap out excess water and then wipe with a cloth to dry.
- Use from inside or outside your home. Add to the extension pole if you need an extended reach.
- If using a pole, attach the roller by taking off the cap on the handle. This will reveal threading that will screw onto the end of either size pole.
- To extend the poles, simply twist to loosen, adjust for length, and then twist back to lock it in place.
- The roller material is totally reusable, so rinse clean and hang to dry when you finish.
The Screen Cleaning Tool is easily one of the best options for this task because it allows you to do a better job in less time, and the impressive material actually makes this dreaded chore and easy one. You can certainly remove each window screen if you feel the need, but leaving them in will work in most cases. The long pole will allow you to reach from far away, and the material will deeply clean with very little mess. You could never use a scrub brush with screens left in place, but this handy roller is different. Take them out or get right to work, and due to versatility of use, you can quickly dust surfaces, or thoroughly scrub them depending upon your needs. The superior material will remove all dirt without any risk of damage, and you can use it over and over again, so it is incredibly affordable, long term. Stop putting off this job because you think it will take the whole weekend. Get this effective tool to save loads of time and energy while making things look like new again.
Additional Tips To Consider:
- Regular cleaning will make this job easier. Heavy build up always takes longer to remove. Cleaning on a more regular schedule will improve results and reduce effort. When dry, the roller is perfect to quickly remove loose dirt before it gets glued in place.
- A vacuum can be an effective tool for window screen maintenance, but make sure to utilize a brush attachment to avoid scratching and other damage. Also be careful with machines that are overly powerful because too much suction can be a problem.
- If you want to remove screens for washing, but do not have a yard or driveway available, a bathtub, garage or basement can make for a good second choice. It will obviously be more difficult to hose things down when working indoors, and the tub will limit capacity, so these locations are not as ideal as one that is outside.
- If you encounter small holes or rips as you wash, a small dab of nail polish or super glue can fuse the gap and keep out unwanted bugs.