How to Clean Window Screens

Updated: Jun. 14, 2023

Screen Cleaning Made Easy  

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A few hours






Cleaning window screens can be a dreadful job, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are a few tips and DIY cleaning solutions for making your screens look new again.

Tools Required

  • Garden hose connected to water source
  • Garden hose spray nozzle
  • Large bowl or bucket
  • Microfiber Cloth
  • Soft-bristle brush
  • Spray Bottle
  • Stepladder

Materials Required

  • Dish soap or all-purpose cleaner
  • White vinegar
  • Screen Magic

Knowing how to clean window screens is a simple skill that will keep the exterior of your home looking fresh and will make those cool breezes feel even better. All it takes is a few tools you probably already have, some time, and some water.

Project step-by-step (5)

Step 1

Cleaning the Screens Without Removing Them.

  • First, vacuum the screen with a brush attachment to remove any dirt, spider webs and pollen.
  • Starting from the top, mist the screen with white vinegar from a spray bottle. Use a damp microfiber cloth and gently wipe the screen in a circular motion, careful not to push too hard. If possible clean the screen from the outside as well – you may need a ladder.
  • Screen Magic is a simple approach to cleaning your screens without removing them. You simply soak a micro-fiber cloth with Screen Magic and wipe the screen until it’s clean. As always, read the instructions on the bottle.

Cleaning Window ScreensFamily Handyman

Cleaning Window ScreensFamily Handyman

Step 2

Removing the Screens

  • Most screens can be removed by pulling up, then pushing out with both hands on the two plastic tabs at the bottom of the screen, removing it from the window jamb.
    • Pro tip: If you remove all your screens at once and have several different sizes, labeling them with masking tape will take the guesswork out when you re-install them.

removing the window screensFamily Handyman

Step 3

Homemade Cleaning Solutions

  • Make your own homemade cleaning solutions with a bucket of water and a few squirts of dish soap or all-purpose cleaner. Also, a vinegar/water mixture works well for this.
  • For extremely dirty screens use ¼ cup ammonia with 1 gal. water. (Wear rubber gloves for this.)

Cleaning Window Screens 3Family Handyman

Step 4

Cleaning the Screens

  • Once the screens are removed, set your hose nozzle to light pressure and douse the screen completely. Do not use high-pressure settings on the nozzle – you could damage the screen.
  • Lay the screens flat on the sidewalk or driveway. You can also lean them side by side against the house and spray them all at once.
  • Use a soft bristle brush or sponge along with your cleaning solution to clean the screen.
  • Scrub both sides of the screen then rinse it thoroughly with water.
  • Spray Screen Magic on both sides of the screen and gently wipe with a micro-fiber cloth.
  • Let the screens dry completely before re-installing them in their corresponding windows.

washing the window screensFamily Handymanwashing the window screensFamily Handyman

Step 5

Re-installing the Screens

  • Align the screen in the channel on the right and left side of the window jamb, pulling the screen up and into the channel on top.
  • With both hands holding the two tabs at the bottom of the screen, pull up and in on the screen until it locks into place.

re-installing the window screenFamily Handyman