Turn Messy Mesh into Clean Screens in 6 Easy Steps

Screen cleaning is usually a once-a-year job, and if temps have started warming up outside, now’s the perfect time to get it done. If you remove your screens over the winter, they’re currently covered with dust; if you keep them on your windows all year long, then there’s a buildup of gunk on ‘em that’s ready for a good ol’ bath. Start by wiping the mesh and frames down with a microfiber cloth, then:

  1. Lay the screens flat on a grassy surface that’s free of debris.
  2. Wet each screen with a garden hose, then dip a large sponge or soft brush into a bucket that contains 1 part ammonia and 3 parts hot water, and rub ‘em down.
  3. After the ammonia has had a few minutes to loosen the dirt, scrub it off with a sponge or brush—gently!—you don’t want to stretch or rip a screen.
  4. Tackle the crud in the corners with a toothbrush dipped in ammonia.
  5. After you’ve scrubbed the grunge off, rinse the screens thoroughly with a garden hose. Then give them a shake or two to remove excess water, and lean them against a wall or railing so they can air-dry before you put them back in place.
  6. While your screens are drying, clean out the grooves where they slide in the window or door frames. To reach into the narrow channels, wrap a strip of cloth around a screwdriver, dip it into the ammonia solution, and run it back and forth in the grooves until they’re clean.

By the way, you might think it’ll be easy to remember which screen came from which window, but take my word for it—it doesn’t take much to get them mixed up. Here’s how to make replacing screens a real breeze: Write a number (with a permanent marker) on each of the screens in an inconspicuous place, then write the same number inside the frame on the corresponding window or door. Then when it’s time to put the screens back up, the few minutes you spent marking them will pay off big time.

Looking for more smart tips, fast tricks, and DIY solutions that’ll leave your home smelling fresh, looking bright, and feeling sparkling clean? Check out my Cleaning Magic! book—FREE for 21 days! It’s filled with thousands of dirt-defying secrets.