How to clean window screens

For the clearest views and bug-free breezes, give your insect screens some attention. 
Light streams into an all-white kitchen through sparkling clean windows.

It’s understandable if you’re not clamoring to take on this chore, but we promise it can bring immediate rewards in quality of light, freshness of air, and more. Besides, we’re making it easy with step-by-step instructions and expert advice from professional window washer Micah Nijjar of Micah’s Window Cleaning in the San Francisco Bay Area.

One note before we dive in: Remember that insect screens are for keeping bugs out, not people in. Always take care to keep children safe around open windows — find tips about window safety here.

1. Gather your cleaning materials

Here’s the equipment you’ll need:

  • Bucket.
  • Cleaning solution — Nijjar recommends 2 to 3 gallons of water with a 10-second squeeze of dish soap.
  • A T-bar scrubber

2. Remove the insect screen

From the inside, open the latches locking your insect screen into the frame. Gently push it out of its track or channel. You should now be able to go outside and remove it completely.

Inspect your insect screen for any torn or damaged mesh — this will help keep bugs and rodents out of your home. If it’s time to replace, consider upgrading to a TruScene® insect screen, which lets in 25% more fresh air and provides 50% more clarity than our conventional aluminum insect screens.

3. Clean the insect screen

Here’s Nijjar’s pro method for cleaning an insect screen:

Start by hosing down the insect screen. Then, dunk your T-bar scrubber in your cleaning solution and scrub both the front and back with light pressure. Tap each side lightly on a plastic surface, like your bucket, to help remove the soapy mixture. Hose it off and leave it to air dry.

How to clean your insect screens without removing them

For a quick fix in between deep cleanings, you can vacuum insect screens gently using a brush attachment. Then, spray insect screens with a solution of one part vinegar and one part water and wipe with a damp microfiber cloth.

4. Reinstall the insect screen

Reinstall your insect screen and forget about this task for a while! If you run into trouble, we have insect screen installation instructions by window type insect screen installation instructions by window type.

Don't forget about your patio door insect screens

These should be checked once a year for operation and condition. If you've stored your insect screens over the winter, we’ll show you how to reinstall them in the video below.

Why should you clean your insect screens?

Cleaning your screens regularly is part of maintaining your windows and will help keep them operating properly over time. It also ensures you’re making the most of your natural light, letting in the freshest air possible, and keeping your home looking beautiful.

How often should you clean your insect screens?

It’s a good practice to clean your insect screens twice a year. We think it’s easiest to make this the first step in cleaning your windows, which is something we recommend doing in the spring and fall. Cleaning in the spring can help wash away dirt and road salt from winter, and cleaning in the fall can help remove the dust, dirt, and pollen that might have collected over the summer months. Another reason we recommend cleaning in the fall is so you are putting your insect screens away clean (storing your screens in the winter helps protect them from ice and damage and can extend their life).

Next up: Get our expert window cleaning instructions.

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