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Best Way to Clean Window Screens

Removing window screens for the winter used to be a common practice. The screens would then be thoroughly cleaned before they made their reappearance in the spring. Since this method has fallen out of practice, many homeowners find themselves with window screens that are clogged with dust, dirt and debris. Clean screens can make a world of difference in the appearance of your windows.


Removing the Screens

The first step to cleaning your window screens is to remove them from the windows. In many homes, this is as simple as pulling down on the two posts holding the screen in place. For others, removing a window screen may require removing some hardware. If you have to remove any pieces of hardware to get your screen out, keep these in a plastic bag; label the bag to indicate which window the pieces came from and include any notes about tricky instillation that you may forget before it's time to put the screens back in. Cleaning window screens can be a pretty big process, so it's best to remove all of your window screens at once and make a day out of it.


Selecting a Work Area

Select the best available area for your window cleaning project. If you have a yard or driveway, this is ideal. Lay a drop cloth down in any area to keep further dirt and debris from making its way onto your screens. The cleaning process will involve a lot of water, so if you must clean your screens indoors, try to use a room with a drain in the floor, such as a laundry room. The bathtub is a last resort for cleaning window screens. While this will work in a pinch, you can only work with one or two screens at once, and your bathroom will need a good cleaning itself once you are finished.


Washing the Screens

Once your cleaning area is ready, begin by laying the window screens down flat. Use a soft brush attachment on a vacuum cleaner and gently vacuum both sides of the screen. Next, you will need to thoroughly wet each screen. This should dislodge or remove any large pieces of debris. You can create a screen cleaning solution by mixing four tablespoons of dishwashing liquid, a quarter of a cup of ammonia and three tablespoons of Borax into a five gallon bucket of warm water. Stir your cleaning solution until mixed thoroughly. Then, use a soft brush to apply the cleaning solution to the window screens. Scrub the screen very lightly in circular strokes until the entire surface has been covered. Repeat on the other side, then leave the screens to soak for about ten minutes.


Rinsing and Drying the Screens

A garden hose is the best option for rinsing if you are working outside. Make sure that each screen is thoroughly rinsed and all traces of the cleaning solution are removed. After rinsing, tap the screen lightly on the ground to remove any excess water. You can then use a towel or rag to gently dab water away from the screen. Leave the window screens propped against the house or fence for several hours to air dry before reinstalling them.