Throw Open the Windows – Summertime is Almost Here!

by Matt Blank

Oftentimes overlooked during yearly maintenance, window screens need regular cleaning and care. Experts recommend removing and cleaning window screens every year for maximum performance in the home.

Window screens are generally made of fiberglass or aluminum mesh and require proper maintenance to allow for maximum airflow into the home and prevent insects from getting in the house.

Cleaning Tips: To clean window screens, remove the screens from the window frame, following the manufacturer’s instructions. Place the screens on a flat surface (such as the driveway) and use mild soap and water with a soft bristle brush to remove dirt and grime. Clean both sides of the screen and around the interior and exterior of the frame. Rinse off the unit with lukewarm water. Allow the screen to dry completely before replacing in the window. Never pressure wash screens or windows because the force of the water may damage the units. Use extreme care when cleaning aluminum mesh, since it can be dented or creased if too much pressure is placed on the screen.

Maintaining Your Screens: While most window screens may remain in the windows year-round, some homeowners prefer to store screens during winter months. If you choose to remove your window screens, make certain to store them either in an upright or flat position. Covering them with plastic or a sheet will keep them clean while in storage. And, make sure nothing sits on top of (or leans against) the screens to eliminate the chance of bending of the frames or poking a hole in the screens.

If a small hole or tear does occur in your screen, patch kits are available in most hardware and home stores. Homeowners unhappy with the look of a patch (or who have a large gash in their screen) may choose to get the screen mesh replaced on the entire unit. Many cities have screen repair services where you can take your screen frame and have new mesh added to replace torn mesh.

Screens and Safety: Screens are not meant for animals or children to lean up against. Screens can be damaged or pop out if a child or animal pushes against them with enough force. Never consider a screen a safety feature in the home … they’re available only to allow in the flow of air, not to restrict anything of force. Another safety tip for the home is not to place cribs or furniture directly under a window. Children can climb and push out on the screens when the windows are open, resulting in a potential fall.

Window screens are terrific for ventilating the house and keeping insects outside, but that’s all they’re intended to do. Maintain their screens regularly and make sure to keep the bottom sash of windows closed when children and pets are around to prevent potential problems.

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