Window Cleaning and Screens
Window cleaning and screens are part of a healthy home maintenance routine. Clean and well-maintained window screens keep critters out while fresh air circulates. Click here for more info.
If your window screens are heavily soiled, a vinegar solution works well, but repeated use of vinegar on the aluminum mesh can cause rusting. You can also use a lint roller, but be sure to cover the entire screen with your cleaning solution.
First, remove window screens from the frames (this should be intuitive, but since screen frames and how they secure vary, it’s a good idea to read the instructions carefully). Spread a tarp or drop cloth on your lawn or driveway and lay each screen down flat. Vacuum well using a hose attachment, and be sure to turn the screen over to clean both sides. It’s also a great idea to label each screen so you know which windows it came from, especially if you plan on washing all the screens at once.
Now that your screens are free of loose dirt, dust, and grime, it’s time to give them a bath! Depending on where they fall on the dirty scale, this can be as simple as running a lint roller over them or as complicated as scrubbing them with a scrub brush and cleaning solution. Be sure to dip and rinse your brush often, and make sure the solution is diluted enough so it doesn’t damage the screens.
Keeping window screens clean can be challenging, particularly in windy locations where dirt and dust are more likely to blow against them. The best way to keep your screens clean is by washing them regularly. You can do this by using a cleaning solution and a sponge or microfiber cloth.
To wash your screens, start by lowering the window sash and dusting the screen from the top down to pick up any loose dirt and debris. Then, make a solution with one part household ammonia and three parts water, and dip your sponge or microfiber cloth into it.
Wipe down each screen and the frame gently with your solution, making sure not to apply too much pressure so you don’t damage your screen. Once you’ve wiped down your screen, rinse it off with your hose at a low pressure (too high a pressure could stretch out the screen or cause holes).
Using a soft-bristled brush or a microfiber cloth, gently scrub away any stubborn dirt, grime, or buildup on window frames. Be careful not to use a harsh brush or cleaner that can scratch or damage the glass or frame, especially in areas with lots of nooks and crannies.
Avoid using any cleaners that are based on alcohol or ammonia. These can dry on the glass and create a thin film that attracts dust and moisture, leading to hard-to-remove streaks.
To prevent this, make sure you’re cleaning in the shade and only apply the cleaner on a cool surface. A good rule of thumb is to rinse the screen with a hose or water spray bottle before applying the cleaner and to use a low-pressure setting. Once the screens are clean and free of residue, you can leave them up for a breeze or lean them against an old towel to dry before reinstalling them. If they are super rusty, consider spraying them with white vinegar, which can help remove stubborn stains.
Vinegar is a natural cleaner that can be just as effective as commercial glass cleaners and without potentially dangerous chemicals. Its acidic content breaks down grease, mineral deposits and kills a small percentage of bacteria on hard surfaces. Vinegar is also a streak-less cleaner.
Pour a solution of equal parts vinegar and water into a spray bottle. Apply this to a lint-free microfiber cloth or paper towel and scrub the window and frames. Wipe dry with another clean lint-free cloth, ideally made of a cotton blend to avoid leaving lint.
While the same cleaning solutions can be used on screens, a soft brush is the best tool for removing dirt in the cracks and crannies of wire mesh window screens. Be careful, however, because repeated use of vinegar can rust aluminum, so a gentle all-purpose cleaner is a better option for screens. Check this out for more details.