When warmer weather approaches, so does the desire to open up a window and let some fresh air in. But what if that fresh air is more dust and debris than a warm spring breeze? That's when you know it's time to clean your window screens. Cleaning window screens is an oft-forgotten chore that can lengthen the life of your windows, improve your air quality, and improve your view. Keep reading to see how the pros do it.
Meet the Expert
- Danesh Deonarain and is the owner of Galaxy Maids, a residential and commercial cleaning company serving the NYC area.
- Mitch Thompson is a product service specialist at Andersen Windows & Doors, a window and door manufacturer.
How Often Do You Need to Clean Window Screens?
How often you clean your window screens depends on how dirty the screens get, and a number of factors can affect this. "Depending on location and surrounding environments, some screens are more prone to the buildup of airborne dirt and dust," says Thompson. If your windows get more wind or debris, or if it's autumn and there's foliage falling every-which-way, you'll need to clean them more often.
But if they're debris-free more often than not, consider a deeper clean once or twice a year. "Fall is the best time to clean window screens," says Deonarain. "This makes it easy to get the cleaning done and also helps the cleaning last the longest... dirt gets more difficult to wash off if it is left sitting on the screen over winter."
What You'll Need
Cleaning your window screens is any easy chore that requires neither skill nor specialized tools. Here's what you'll need to get started.
- Vacuum with hose attachment
- Microfiber cloth
- Soft bristle brush
Step 1: Clean Without Removing the Screen
When cleaning your window screens, you don't always need to remove them from the frame, especially if you're cleaning them regularly. To clean your screen quickly, first vacuum it with a brush attachment to remove any excess dirt or dust.
"Vacuuming first will save you some additional clean-up time as you will capture any loose dirt and debris, says Deonarain. This will also limit the likelihood of this loose dirt/debris getting stuck in the crevices of the screen leading to more work to get out."
Next, spray the screen with a mixture of one part white vinegar and one part water, and wipe it off with a damp microfiber cloth. Wipe gently with circular motions. Let the screen dry before closing the window on top of it.
Step 2: For Deeper Cleans, Remove the Screen
For deeper seasonal cleans, remove the screens from your window frames and place them against the side of your house or shed. If your screens are different sizes, don't forget to label where they go.
Step 3: Spray, Brush, and Rinse Your Screens
Next, hose down your screens with light pressure—too high water pressure can damage them. This will remove the bulk of the dirt and dust stuck in the screens. To get whatever is left behind, you'll need to get a bit more focused in your cleaning. "Wash the screen with a soft bristle brush and mild soapy water, rinsing with fresh water once finished," says Thompson. You can also wash the screens with the same 50-50 vinegar mixture to used to wash them inside.
Step 4: Let Them Dry
Once your window screens have been sprayed, brushed, and rinsed, the hard work is over. Now you'll just need to let them fully dry before reinstalling. When reinstalling your screens, make sure you install the correct screen for that specific window frame.
How to Keep Window Screens Clean Longer
Cleaning your window screens may seem like an unnecessary chore, but it's important one that can extend the life of your windows and the improve the quality of air in your home. "The regular cleaning and maintenance of windows and window screens is highly recommended to keep everything working properly," says Thompson. But once they've been cleaned, how do you keep them clean?
There are two ways you can keep your window screens clean longer. First, consider doing a quick wipe-down of your screens every other month, like what's suggested in step one. This will extend the time needed between deep cleans. Second, don't forget to wipe down your window sills and frames fairly often too, as the excess grime left on them can end up on your screens.