How to Maintain Your Window Screens
You love what they do for you but you rarely think about them. They are the window screens that keep flies and other pests out of your house. They even add a thin layer of security to your home. Window screens are low maintenance and easy to replace.
Window Screens: Low Maintenance for High Results
Keep your window screens clean. A good cleaning once a year is all they need. For aluminum screens, use a stiff bristle brush to sweep off the dust and grime after removing them from the windows. Keep track of which screen goes on which window as well as which way is up. A screen that looks square might have slightly different height and width dimensions.
If you feel your window screens need more than a brush off, then give them a good washing with your hose and a mild cleaner. Dish soap works fine and can be applied with a sponge or wet rag after mixing it in a bucket with water. You do not want to squirt the screen with undiluted dish soap.
How to Replace Window Screens
If your window screens are more than dirty--they have holes or rips--then it is time to replace them. Learning how to replace window screens is easy. Usually the screen just staples into a channel in the vinyl or wood frame.
You likely want screen materials that are 7/16" thickness, which is available at your local home center or hardware store. If you have wood frames, you might need to reinforce the corners with metal fasteners.
Frames often get bent or warped, and sometimes broken. Measure them at a few different places along each dimension to make sure you cut the screen to the right size. Once you have an accurate measurement, take 1/8th of an inch off each dimension then cut. Your window screens should be nice and tight once you staple the edges to the inside of the frame.
Metal Window Screens
If you have galvanized metal screening, every couple of years paint it with thinned enamel paint or varnish. You can treat aluminum screens with aluminum polish applied with steel wool, then add a coat of wax.
With a little care and minimum maintenance, your window screens, of any material, can last a very long time.
Leslie A.M. Smith is a freelance writer and public relations consultant with almost 20 years experience.