How to Maintain Your Window Screens

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Window and door screens are a house’s first defense against bugs and other pests, while still allowing the homeowner to enjoy sunlight and fresh air. Unfortunately, with fresh air comes dust, dirt, and pollen, which can clog up a screen. While retractable screens are protected from dust and dirt while they are retracted, they can still become quite dirty when they are in use. Because a dirty screen is more prone to tears and warping, it is important to frequently clean your retractable window screens and your regular window screens.

For a weekly maintenance cleaning, simply pull out your retractable door screens and window screens, then lightly dust them off. If the screens are especially dirty, you may want to gently vacuum them with a soft brush attachment. Try not to warp the screens with the suction from the vacuum cleaner.

Even with weekly maintenance, you may find that you need to deep-clean your screens once or twice a year. The best way to do this is to remove the screens from the windows and doors, and lay them flat outside. Scrub the screens with a dish soap solution and a stiff brush, then rinse with your garden hose. Be sure to rinse the screens completely, as leftover dish soap can attract more dirt and dust. Prop the screens against the wall of the house to allow them to dry. While the screens are drying, take your vacuum and clean out the windowsills and tracks.

Retractable screens may be more difficult to clean, as they may not be easily removed from their installation. If you cannot remove your retractable screens, simply vacuum the dirt and dust, then use a bucket of your soap solution and a cloth to remove any stuck-on grime. Rinsing with a cloth will be more difficult than rinsing with a hose, but it can be done.

Once you have cleaned your screens, double-check them for any small holes or tears. Tiny holes can be sealed with clear nail polish, but if the tears are larger, you may have to replace the screen mesh. Keeping window screens clean and in good repair not only makes your house look nice, but it improves the quality of the fresh air as it breezes through your house.

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