How to Clean Window Screens

Cleaning Window Screens

Most people do not bother with removing window screens in the fall and storing them all winter.

Consequently, blustery fall and spring winds and rain deposit lots of dirt and dust that plug the screens and make them unattractive to look through.

Cleaning window screens is not the hassle you may think. Probably the worst part is removing the screens from the window frame. That’s why people leave them up all year.

Organize the screens by size – if they are small enough, they will fit easily in the tub or shower. Larger screens may be left outside, leaned up against an exterior wall close to a garden hose for rinsing.

Cleaning Small Window Screens

Mix a simple cleaning solution of 3 parts water to 1 part ammonia.

Before applying the cleaning solution, wet the screen thoroughly with water. Then dip a scrub brush into the solution and apply to the screen using a very light scrubbing motion.

Be sure you don’t scrub too hard or push the fabric which can stretch or cause damage to the screen.

Lightly brush the solution over the entire screen using overlapping, rotating strokes.

You may want to then rinse the screen, looking for missed or stubborn spots. Retreat those areas and then rinse thoroughly again with the hose or shower head making sure all cleaning solution is removed.

Shaking the screen and giving them a light tap against the floor should remove most of the excess water. You may also give a quick wipe with an absorbent towel to speed up the drying process.

Replacing the screens as soon as they are dry makes short work of what could be a time consuming chore. Looking through clean screens is a real pleasure.

Cleaning Outdoor / Large Window Screens

Tools Needed

  • Sponge or a soft brush
  • Mild detergent or dishwashing liquid

Cleaning Solution

  • 4 Tbs. dishwashing liquid
  • 1/4 cup ammonia
  • 3 Tbs. borax
  • 3 gal water

Mix the items above with warm water in a 5 gallon bucket and mix thoroughly.

  1. Using a hose, shower nozzle or large heavy-duty sponge, wet the screen thoroughly.
  2. Dip the sponge in the solution, lightly wipe it all over the screen until there’s a nice sudsy coating on the screen.
  3. Give the screen a quick rinse, check over for stubborn dirt or missed places – scrub again.
  4. Rinse the window screens with the hose, shake it slightly to remove water and let dry.

The Cleaning Process

  1. Remove the screens from the windows and either lean them against a wall or lay them on a clean surface – if you lay them flat, be sure it’s not in a traffic area where children or dogs might step on them.
  2. Using a soft brush or air compressor, lightly dust the screen. Removing dust and chunks of dirt while dry makes wet cleaning easier and less messy. Mix a few drops of mild liquid detergent per half gallon of water. Wipe the screen and frame with a soft cloth of soft brush that has been moistened in the solution.
  3. Either spray rinse with a hose, or use a watering can to rinse, then air dry.
  4. It is important to thoroughly rinse off soap residue as it will attract dust and dirt faster. Rinsing well is the key or next year you will have a more difficult job. Before replacing the screens, wipe the grooves or tracks in the window frames.
  5. Clean the screen track when the screen is out using a cloth wrapped over a pencil.