How to Clean Porch Screens

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A screened-in porch is the perfect place to enjoy fresh air and chirping birds without dealing with pesky bugs. The screens keep a lot of the bugs and debris out of the porch, but they can also get quite dirty and clogged up because they filter out so many things. Giving your porch screens a thorough cleaning in the spring and fall keeps them in good condition and makes it easier for you to continue enjoying your time outdoors. Touch up the screen porch windows between deep cleanings with a quick vacuuming or a damp cloth.

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Things You'll Need

How to Clean Porch Screens

Step 1: Clear the Furniture From the Porch

Move items such as patio furniture away from the screens, pushing them toward the center of the porch. Move portable items that are outside around the porch at least 5 feet away to keep them out of your cleaning path. To stop slightly soapy or dirty water from getting on plants surrounding the porch area, cover them with a lightweight plastic tarp or plastic tablecloth before rinsing the screens with the hose. Remove the tarp afterward.

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Step 2: Dust the Porch

Dust light fixtures, ceiling fans, ceilings, and other areas in the porch before you start cleaning the screens. This helps make the space cleaner overall, and it prevents that dust and debris from making the screens dirty again after you clean them. If you're allergic or sensitive to pollen, enlist someone without allergies to clean the screens, or wear a dust mask while working to avoid breathing in allergens.

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Step 3: Vacuum the Screens

Vacuum the outside of the porch screens on a dry day, if you can access the area immediately surrounding the porch. Work from the top down, vacuuming with an upholstery brush attachment to loosen fine particles. Working from the top down results in a more thorough cleaning because debris knocked loose travels down. If you can't reach the highest areas, stand on a step stool or stepladder while working. Vacuum the screens from inside the porch if you're unable to access the area outside easily and safely.

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Step 4: Vacuum the Edges

Swap the brush attachment for a crevice tool, and vacuum the corners and edges of the screens from inside the porch. Again, start along the top edges of the windows, working down the sides, and vacuum the bottom edges last.

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Step 5: Spray Screens With a Hose

Hose the screens off from inside the porch, spraying outward. Start from the top, going across and working your way down each screen panel. If you can't use a hose from inside the porch area, wet and rinse the screens with a rag dipped into a bucket of soapy water.

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Step 6: Scrub Screens With a Brush

Dip a soft-bristled brush into a bucket of warm water. Gently scrub each screen from inside the porch, working from the highest areas downward. Add a squirt of mild dish soap to the water before scrubbing if the screens are quite dirty.

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Step 7: Treat Mold on Screens

Check for mold growing on the screens. Before treating the mold, make sure any plants outside the screen are covered as the solution can damage your plants. Use a mixture of one part vinegar to one part water to create a solution to clean the mold. Wipe it onto the moldy area using a microfiber cloth and wait a few minutes. Scrub it with your brush to remove the mold.

Step 8: Rinse the Screens

Rinse the screens off with the garden hose, again spraying from the inside out and working from the top down. Check the screens for any remaining debris and clean those areas again. This is also a good time to check for damage to see if you need to repair the screens or replace them. Dry the screens with a soft cloth to remove excess water and prevent streaking. Dry the window sills with an old towel to keep the water from soaking into the wood.

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Step 9: Sweep the Porch

Sweep the porch floor when you're completely done cleaning. Dry up any water drops first, then sweep or vacuum. Place the furniture back in the space.

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