How to Clean Window Screens (With and Without Removing)

Most people only think about cleaning their window screens once they’re full of dirt, bugs, and spiderwebs. If this is the case for you, don’t worry, cleaning window screens is a straightforward process and doesn’t take much time.

Here’s the best (and easiest) way to clean your window screens.

How to Clean Dirty Window Screens: Step by Step

How to Clean Window Screens

To clean your window screens, you’ll need the following supplies:

  • Broom
  • Vacuum with hose and flat attachment
  • Bucket
  • Sponge
  • Water
  • Dish soap
  • Towel

If you have windows on a second story, you’ll also need a ladder and the necessary safety gear.

Step 1: Remove Your Window Screens and Knock off CobWebs

Remove your window screens, and be mindful to arrange or mark them, so you know which screen belongs to which window.

Hold each screen upright and use a broom to remove built-up dust and cobwebs.

Step 2: Vacuum Each Screen

Lay your screens on a flat, stable surface. Then, use a flat host attachment to vacuum over the front and back of each screen. The vacuum will remove built-up dirt along the frame and between the screen mesh.

Step 3: Wash, Rinse, and Dry

Fill your bucket with water and a couple of drops of dish soap. Swirl the mixture. 

Dip a soft sponge in the bucket and use it to wipe both sides of the screen. If there is a tough build-up or mold on parts of the window screens, use a toothbrush to scrub it off. Wash 2-3 screens at a time, but rinse them with a hose before the soap can dry.

After rinsing your first set of screens, pat them dry with a towel and set them somewhere to finish air drying.

Repeat for all screens.

Step 4: Reinstall

After the screens are dry, reinstall them.

How to Clean Window Screens Without Removing Them

If you live in an apartment or have stuck screens, removing dust is still possible. You just need a different method.

Try one of these window screen cleaning hacks.

  • Use a lint roller. You can use a lint roller inside or outside of your window. It will attract dust and cobwebs that are stuck in the mesh.
  • Vacuum the screens. If cleaning from the outside isn’t an option, use your vacuum and a hose attachment to rid your screens of dust, bugs, and cobwebs.
  • Use a duster. A duster with a long head can sweep over the window and trap in the dirt and cobwebs. We like a Swiffer duster for this since it has disposable pads.

How Often to Clean Window Screens

The frequency of cleaning window screens depends on your location and climate. For example, you may need to clean more often if you live in a dusty area.

As a general rule of thumb, clean your window screens when you notice significant build-up or at least once per year.

Why You Shouldn’t Clean Window Screens with Vinegar

Vinegar has a high acidity level. Because of the high acidity, it can rust metal and wear down the protective coating. Since many mesh window screens are aluminum, vinegar isn’t the best choice. Repeated use will cause rust and corrosion. Dawn dish soap or a gentle all-purpose cleaner is a much safer choice and is just as effective.

Unless you know that your mesh window screens are fiberglass and not aluminum, skip the vinegar.