Here's How To Clean Your Window Screens Without Removing Them

A dirty window is the last thing you want to see when you're looking outside. Even if you're wiping them down, they won't get any cleaner if you don't wash the screens too. It's a step many people skip because they don't know how to take them out of the window — but you don't have to remove the screen to clean it. You can eliminate all the dirt and debris while it's still in place. Although, you'll need to lay a tarp down to protect your floor and walls. That way, you don't have to clean the inside of your house after you get all the grime off your screens.

Window screens need to be cleaned at least twice a year. Otherwise, dirt will build up and transfer onto the glass when it's windy or raining. Washing the screens is not only about aesthetics. Remembering to wipe them down regularly also improves airflow when you open your windows. All you need is a bucket of soapy water, a cloth, and a tarp, and you're ready to clean the screens. Since you don't have to worry about figuring out how to remove and reinstall them, this chore will feel like a breeze.

Protect your walls and floors before cleaning

Before you can start washing your window screens, you need to protect the inside of your home. Skipping this crucial step will make the cleanup process even harder once your screens are spotless. When you're wiping the mesh, soapy water and dirt will fall onto your floors and walls. It's easier to catch it under a tarp, old bedsheet, or large towel that you can shake outside when you're done. Plus, you don't want the dirty water to potentially stain your walls if they're painted a light color.

Once your room is protected, you need to prep your window screens for cleaning. Start by opening the upper portion of your window as much as possible. It's important to work from the top down since grime is going to fall as you remove it. You can dust it with a microfiber rag or a vacuum with the brush attachment on the hose. Using the plastic end could potentially damage the mesh screen. Then push both halves of the window up and finish removing all the loose dirt. Now your screens are prepped and ready for cleaning.

Wipe them down with soapy water

What you use to clean your window screens depends on how dirty they are. If you wash them regularly, all you'll need is water and dish soap or distilled white vinegar. Simply mix a teaspoon of your chosen cleanser for every half gallon of water. Meanwhile, an exceptionally dirty screen may need ammonia to cut through the thick layer of grime. For this method, use water to dilute the ammonia in a 3:1 ratio. Don't forget to wear rubber gloves while using this cleanser to protect your skin.

Fill one bucket with the solution that best fits the state of your window screens and another with clean water. First, you're going to take a microfiber cloth, lint-free rag, or soft toothbrush and wipe down the screen. Make sure your cloth is wet but not soaked in soap, as that will create a large mess. Then switch to a fresh rag and use the clean water to rinse the cleanser away.

Continue repeating this process until your screens look good as new. Use the toothbrush if you have a lot of grime that needs to be scrubbed off. After multiple rinses, you may need to refresh your clean water bucket. When your screens are all clean, leave the windows open to help them air dry.