Ever notice how window screens can go from spotless to “weird science experiment” in no time? Blame it on pollen, dust, dirt and tree fluff. Home window screens can trap these particles, but that doesn’t stop them from affecting your indoor air quality. This buildup can easily be blown into the house when you open windows. Add moisture from humidity or rain, and screens and window sills can also become a breeding ground for mold spores.
Luckily, washing your home window screens can help mitigate these issues, and let you rest easy knowing you’re caring for your air. Here’s how to get started.
Carefully remove screens and keep them outdoors to avoid bringing more airborne particles into the house. If you don’t have a lawn or somewhere to put them, washing them in the bathtub or shower is a good option—just make sure to run the exhaust fan to help circulate the air while you clean. If you’re particularly sensitive to pollen, dust or dirt, wearing a face mask can help you dodge unpleasant symptoms.
Rinse screens with a hose if you’re outside or under the bath faucet or showerhead if you’re inside. Use a clean rag to wipe down the frames, taking care to get into all the cracks and crevices.
Wash screens and frames with a solution of warm water and dish detergent. (A mixture of one part vinegar to three parts water will also do the trick.) With a soft-bristled brush, scrub both sides of the screen. Rinse screens again to remove soap film and any stubborn particles. With the screens out, take this opportunity to wash window panes, too.
Wipe screens with a clean, dry rag. Then air-dry to make sure you’re not reintroducing extra moisture into the picture. Let them dry in the sun if you have space outside or keep them in a dry, well-ventilated room in the house to avoid exposing them to more particles.
Place screens back in windows.
Repeat this process as often as you notice build-up. Consider cleaning your home window screens more frequently during allergy season, especially if you’re irritated by those pesky particles. Otherwise, clean your screens once a season.
If you’re cleaning your window screens often and not seeing long-lasting results, try a pollen filter screen, which uses fine window mesh to block many plant allergens from entering your home. Additionally, you can take your prevention one step further and keep windows closed during the following times and conditions: