How to Wash Window Screens: It’s Easier Than You Think



Let’s face it, clean window screens are often overlooked in our routine home maintenance. Yet, they play a crucial role beyond just looking good. They’re our first line of defense against the outside world, filtering the air, letting in natural light, and keeping out unwanted guests (I’m looking at you, pesky bugs!). 

Many folks think cleaning screens is a Herculean task, but I’m here to tell you, it’s simpler than you think. When cleaning windows screens there are several ways and it really depends on how well you want your screens to be cleaned or if you already have clean screens, what can we do to maintain them. There’s always a method for everyone!


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Why Clean Window Screens?

  • Improved Air Quality: Dirty screens trap dust, pollen, and pollutants, affecting your indoor air quality. Clean screens make a noticeable difference, especially for those with allergies.
  • Enhanced Natural Light: Let the sunshine in! Clean screens allow more natural light to brighten your home, creating a welcoming and cheerful atmosphere.
  • Extended Screen Lifespan: Dirt and grime are abrasive, leading to wear and tear on your screens over time. Regular cleaning protects your screens and helps them last longer.
  • Improved Curb Appeal: Clean windows and screens instantly make your home look well-maintained and inviting, boosting its overall appearance.

Cleaning window screens are often included in the window cleaning service as a package (if you opt to do it by the pros). To know what are the other inclusions of window cleaning, read our article about What’s included in the window cleaning?


How To Wash Window Screens



Clean screens matter: Dirty window screens affect indoor air quality, light flow, screen lifespan, and even your home’s curb appeal.

Regular cleaning is essential: Aim to clean screens twice a year (spring and fall). Clean more often if you live in a dusty/polluted area, have pets, or frequently keep windows open.

Choose the method that suits you: Traditional hand washing is sufficient for light cleaning, while a dedicated screen cleaner machine provides efficiency for heavily soiled screens. A combination of methods is often ideal.

DIY vs. Professional: Weigh the pros and cons of cost, time, and the desired level of clean before deciding whether to clean your screens yourself or hire a professional.


What Are The Different Types of Window Screens

Window screens come in all shapes and sizes, from the standard bottom pane screens to large sun/solar screens and even wooden frame screens. Each type has its quirks when it comes to removal and cleaning. For instance, removing a wooden frame screen is a workout in itself! Understanding the type of screen you have is crucial in determining the best cleaning method.

Type of Window Screens

How Often to Clean Window Screens?

Do Your Screens Need a Wash?

A clean window screen makes a world of difference for your home, but knowing when they need attention can be tricky. Use this simple checklist to decide if it’s time for a refresh:

Visibility Check: ☐ Are the screens visibly dirty? Can you see dust, pollen, or grime buildup?

Air Quality Test: ☐ Does your indoor air feel dusty, or do you find yourself sneezing more often?

Environment Factor: ☐ Do you live in a high-traffic area with lots of dust or pollen? ☐ Do you have pets that shed?

Usage Check: ☐ How often do you keep your windows open?

If you answered “yes” to any of the above, it’s likely time to give your window screens a clean!

General Guideline: Aim for cleaning your window screens at least twice a year, during spring and fall. However, if any of the checklist items apply to your situation, you may need to clean them more frequently.


How to Clean Window Screens

Tools & Materials Needed

  • Garden hose with a gentle nozzle
  • Bucket
  • Mild dish soap
  • Sponge or soft-bristled brush
  • Microfiber cloth or lint-free towel
  • Optional: Vacuum with dust brush attachment

Cleaning Window Screen Process:

How To Wash Window Screens With Cleaning Solutions

  1. Remove the Screens: The first step in ensuring your window screens are cleaned without a hitch is to remove them carefully. This process can vary depending on the type of windows you have. Some screens pop out easily, while others might be held in place by latches or springs. 

We often handle this step for our clients, especially when we’re already there washing the windows. It’s a service that, while it does come at an additional cost, can save you the hassle and risk of damaging the screens. However, for those looking to save a bit, removing the screens yourself is a great way to cut costs. Just make sure to organize and stack the screens into a bundle once removed, to keep the process efficient and orderly.

  1. Pre-Cleaning (Optional): If your screens are particularly dusty or covered in loose debris, a quick vacuum can make the subsequent steps more effective. After vacuuming, it’s time to whip up your cleaning solution. Simply fill a bucket with warm water and add a squirt of gentle dish soap, stirring to mix well. This solution will be your best friend in cutting through the grime.
  2. Wash Both Sides: Place your screen flat on a surface you don’t mind getting wet (laying down a tarp can be a good idea). Using a sponge or a soft-bristled brush, gently scrub the screen. The key here is gentle pressure; you want to clean the screen, not damage it. Once you’ve given one side a good scrub, flip it over and repeat the process on the other side. This ensures that no spot is left behind.
  3. Rinse Thoroughly: With the scrubbing complete, it’s time to rinse off the soap. A garden hose with a gentle nozzle setting is perfect for this. Rinse until all the soap suds have been washed away, ensuring that no residue is left to dry on the screens.
  4. Dry Completely: Now, lean the screens upright against a wall or another surface to air dry. If you’re in a hurry, gently patting them down with a microfiber cloth or a lint-free towel can speed up the drying process. Typically, screens will dry within 10-20 minutes, especially on a warm, sunny day.
  5. Reinstall: The final step is to put the screens back in place, but only once they’re fully dry. If Full Color Cleaners provided the full service, our technician will take care of this for you, reinstalling the screens so you don’t have to lift a finger. If you opted to remove and reinstall the screens yourself, we’ll leave them nicely stacked and ready for you once they’re dry.

If your screens are already fairly clean and just need a touch-up, there’s no need for a full wash. We’re happy to give them a quick brush to remove any lingering dirt or cobwebs, keeping your windows looking their best with minimal effort.


What Is the Best Way to Clean Window Screens?

There are two main methods: the traditional hand wash and using a dedicated screen cleaner machine. 

  1. The traditional method is mostly cleaned by hand and a lot of scrubbing. This allows the soap to work its way into the screen and loosen the dirt. The screen is then rinsed off with water from a hose. If there is no water hose available to rinse off, we simply tap parts of the screen’s frame to knock off the dirt and soap. After that, we use a towel and wipe down the frames and gently tap our towels on the screen’s mesh to remove any excess dirt, debris, and soap. We then allow the screens to dry and are ready to be put back onto the windows.
  2. The more modern method is to use our dedicated screen cleaner. It has brushes built in and a jet that shoots water as each screen gets put through the middle between the two large brushes. For dirty screens, we put our soap on the two brushes. The brush and the jet working alongside with the added soap effortlessly breaks down the dirt and grime. Screen cleaning with our cleaner device makes it extremely quick and efficient. It is also cleaner.

The best method depends on your specific needs:

  • Light Cleaning & Budget-Conscious: If your screens only have a light dusting or you prioritize a budget-friendly approach, the traditional hand wash method can be sufficient.
  • Heavily Soiled Screens & Efficiency: For heavy grime buildup or valuing a fast, effortless clean, the screen cleaner machine offers a clear advantage.

For most homeowners, a combination of both methods is likely ideal. Regular hand washing to maintain cleanliness and periodic deep cleaning with a screen cleaner machine will ensure your window screens are always performing their best.

Window Screen Cleaner: The Solutions To Use

While warm water and dish soap may be your go-to, I’ve experimented with various solutions over the years. A mix of dawn dish soap with eco-friendly detergents and degreasers has proven to be the ultimate cleaning solution, tackling all types of screens without harming the environment.


DIY vs. Professional Cleaning

While DIY cleaning has its perks, professional cleaning offers specialized tools and detergents that can handle any situation. It’s a balance between cost, time, and the level of cleanliness you’re aiming for.  Here’s a breakdown to help you decide:

Aspect DIY  Professional
Cost Lower upfront costs  Higher cost, but potential long-term savings
Time Spent Time-consuming Saves you time and effort
Level of Clean Results may vary based on skill Consistent, high-quality clean
Safety Risk of falls or damage to screens Trained professionals with safety gear

Personally, I’ve seen the satisfaction on a homeowner’s face when they see their screens (and windows) professionally cleaned – it’s priceless.

I have written an article about Hiring a Professional Window Washing Company that will guide you on why it’s important to know your professional window washer.

Key Considerations:

Cost: While DIY is cheaper upfront, pros might save you money long-term by preventing damage and extending screen lifespan.

Time: DIY requires hours of your own time; pros get it done quickly, leaving you free.

Safety: Ladders and cleaning on heights can be hazardous, especially if inexperienced.


How Do You Clean Window Screens Without Removing Them?

Screens must be taken out to clean. Screens have two sides to them and if only one side gets clean, the other side will slowly get the clean side dirt again really fast.

If you have a screened-in porch, there isn’t any way to remove the screens. What we do in this instance is to soft wash the screens, just like a house wash, but with soap and our detergents that help break down dirt, oxidation, and much more. 


Is Window Screen Washing Already Included In The Window Cleaning Price?

Every component of the window is different. With Full Color Cleaners, can package things up to help clients save more. 

For example, if a client has 25 windows and 20 screens, we would charge for the 25 windows and charge for the 20 screens.

We also charge for tracks as that is a specialty clean. If you bundle all three it can save you more. Our window cleaning includes just the window frames, sills, and the glass pane. Screen cleaning includes washing of the mesh, and the frames.

Track cleaning has two levels: essential clean and detail clean. 

  • Essential clean is where we clean it and it may still have some stubborn dirt here and there in very difficult places. 
  • Detail clean is for super dirty tracks that need to be cleaned with various tools to get it looking almost as good as new. Permanent stains are not included.

How much is it additional to the window cleaning? 

It can vary, if you don’t have a lot of screens, the cost can be quite low. If you have about 1-2 screens only, then we often just do it for free. 

If you have a lot of screens, they’re very dirty, and if they’re big and difficult screens, the cost can be almost the same as cleaning the windows or much more.

You might also want to read our detailed article about Window Cleaning Cost determining different factors in pricing your window cleaning.



Clean window screens are more than just a cosmetic upgrade; they’re an essential part of maintaining a healthy, bright, and welcoming home. Whether you decide to tackle the task yourself or call in the pros, regular cleaning is key. 

At Full Color Cleaners, one of the top rated Austin TX window cleaning companies, we’re committed to bringing the sparkle back to your home, one window at a time. Remember, a clean screen is a clear view to a beautiful day. Let’s make every day shine together.


About the Author

Benjamin Nguyen, owner of Full Color Cleaners LLC, has garnered significant recognition for his company’s exemplary services in window cleaning and pressure washing, making them one of the Top Rated Exterior Cleaning companies in Austin, TX. Full Color Cleaners commendations are not only from renowned platforms like Yelp, Yellow Pages, and Super Pages but also include prestigious recognitions as one of the “10 Best Austin Window Washers” by and “Best Window Washing Services in Austin” by Beyond this, Benjamin’s expertise extends to specialized areas such as soft washing, roof washing, and Christmas Lights Installation, with the latter backed by his membership in CLIPA. His dedication to continuous learning is evident through his annual certifications and affiliations with Pressure Washing School and Expert Safety Services. Notably, Benjamin’s commitment to excellence in exterior cleaning is further solidified by his status as an F9 Authorize Handler, showcasing his proficiency in handling commercial chemicals.

One of the pivotal moments in Benjamin’s career trajectory was his association with the Home Service Business Coaching (HSBC) Program, steered by David James Moerman. Under David’s mentorship, Benjamin honed his business acumen, propelling Full Color Cleaners to its current stature as one of Austin’s top-rated window cleaning and pressure washing enterprises. David Moerman, a successful entrepreneur himself, has publicly endorsed Benjamin’s dedication and vision for his business. For those seeking to connect with Benjamin or learn more about Full Color Cleaners, he maintains an active presence on LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, Yelp, and Indeed.

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