Screen Cleaning. It’s one of those things we typically don’t want to think about never mind actually do! However, dirty window screens not only makes it impossible to keep your windows clean but it also decreases the efficiency of airflow and reduces the life of the screens significantly. So how do we go about tackling these beasts?
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Tools You’ll Need To Clean Your Window Screens
- Access to an outdoor water faucet & hose
- Bucket with soapy water (dish soap and water works fine!)
- Unger Screen Cleaning Tool ($15 at Home Depot)
- A few soft rags
- And … the secret weapon!
Window Screens: Cleaning Process
Screen cleaning begins with the removal of the screen. This might seem straightforward but if your screens have a few years on them, the removal tabs may be brittle or missing. Even if your screens are new the screen removal tabs are often weak and break easily if too much force is applied.
The Secret Weapon
Let me introduce the secret weapon…the butter knife. Yes that’s right, you can use a regular old butter knife to outsmart those pesky little removal tabs! The majority of screens are held in pace by tension from small metal springs that are found on one side of your screen. The springs are directly opposite of the removal tabs (or opposite from where your removal tabs were if they have broken).
Insert the flat edge of the butter knife between the screen frame and the window frame on the SAME SIDE of the screen as the removal tabs. Apply slight pressure toward the springs and help the screen clear the holding track. Gently pull the screen toward you (if you are on the outside of the window, or push out if you are on the inside) and you should be able to work it free from the window.
Washing the Screen
This is where the real fun begins. For extremely dirty screens, spray them down with water first. This removes the majority of the dirt and clears the way for a good scrub down. Next, take the Unger Screen Cleaning tool. The screen-cleaning tool has a soft microfiber scrubber on one side and a stiff bristle brush on the other. First soap up the scrubber with a little soap and water and wash every inch of the screen on both sides including the frames. Then take the bristle brush side and scrub the entire screen on both sides as well.
Next spray the entire screen down with fresh water to rinse the soapy water from the screen and wipe the frames of the screen with a small, soft towel removing any leftover dirt and grime. To remove the excess water simply knock your rag against the screen a few times and watch the water fall away! Let the screen stand 10-15 minutes or until completely dry and then snap it back into place.
And just like that, you have a perfectly clean screen!