Window and door screens get very little credit for the important role they play in keeping pests out while allowing fresh air in.   Screens ensure that not only those nasty biting insects are kept out but also those that tend to get in and create an insect village in your home – ladybugs come to mind.  Screens also block large pollen and airborne debris from entering your house.  While most screens are quite durable, they do need maintenance and repair to be able to do their job well.  In this two part series we’ll cover proper window and door screen care.

Proper screen maintenance extends the life of the screens and saves you money.  Here are a few tips that will help you keep your screens in tip-top shape.

Deep Cleaning

Screens should be deep cleaned at least once a year, more if you live in an area where pollen, cottonwood and other airborne debris is prevalent.   In a large space, preferably your yard, set up the tools you’ll need:  

  • Rags
  • Cleaning solution (1:3 ratio ammonia to water or 1 tablespoon dish soap to ½ gallon of water)
  • Soft brush
  • Tooth brush
  • Sponge
  • Gloves
  • Garden hose

 

You'll need these simple cleaning items

Remove screens from the windowing being sure to label where they come from otherwise identifying them later could be a problem.

  • Thoroughly hose down the screen and frame.
  • Gently scrub the screen with a generous amount of cleaning solution and a soft cloth or brush. Do not push hard. Even though the screen has its frame it does not have the support of the window frame to withstand much pressure. Let sit for a few minutes to loosen up the dirt.
  • Be sure to wipe the frame and hardware.
  • Rinse thoroughly.
  • Shake gently to remove excess water.
  • Stand upright against a wall, bucket or other secure object to drip dry.
  • Before replacing the screen, be sure to wash the window sill and frame, getting into the tracks and edges that bind the screen from moving smoothly.

Vacuuming

Every month, perhaps when you are vacuuming the room, open the window and gently vacuum the screens. Be careful that the suction from your vacuum doesn’t bend or rip the screen, especially older screens.  Use a duster or damp soft cloth for those older screens.  Don’t forget to clean the sills, and lift the screen up into the window frame to clean the track for smooth operation. 


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