How to Remove Window Screens

Hunker may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story.

The humble window screen keeps bugs out, but can be pesky to remove when you want to clean the window or replace torn mesh. Generally, there are only about three standard styles -- pin, tab and pry-out -- and how you remove them differs at least a little from one type to another. While your screens are out, it's a good time to clean their tracks too.

Pull the Pin

With some screens, you'll notice two small pins or spring-loaded locking devices at the bottom corners. These are -- or should be -- on the home's interior side for easy removal, and to hinder access from outside.

Step 1

Grasp both pins at the same time -- one with each hand.

Step 2

Pull the pins straight back to unlatch the screen from its track, using only as much force as needed.

Step 3

Bring the screen carefully toward you until it's about an inch from the track.

Step 4

Slide the screen out from its track on the opposite side, keeping the unit straight and upright, so that you don't twist or distort the flimsy frame.

Grab the Tab

Rather than locking pins, some screens simply have tabs that you hook with your fingers for removal. The tabs may be along one side of the screen or the bottom edge.

Step 1

Pull the tabs toward the center of the screen; this compresses the tension springs hidden inside the track on the opposite edge.

Step 2

Bring the screen toward you, an inch or two.

Step 3

Grasp the edges of the screen with your hands for better support. Slide the opposite edge out of its track; wiggle it gently, if it's stuck.

Pry, and Pry Again

For screens without pins or tabs, you simply have to use ingenuity -- and a butter knife or flat-head screwdriver as a prying tool. Using the same idea as removing the other screen types, pry up from the bottom or in from one side -- at about the center point -- getting the tool between the screen and track. You may have to find an edge that provides enough leverage or offers the most slack. Use the tool to pull the screen an inch or so inward, and then use your hands to remove it from the opposite side of the track.


Lorna Hordos

Lorna Hordos

Lorna Hordos is a home-flipping business owner and freelance writer. She writes friendly, conversational business, home and lifestyle articles for Bizfluent, azcentral, Daltile, Marazzi, Lowes, Philips Lighting, WordPress.com and numerous other publications.