Is it just us or was that the longest.winter.ever? Now that snow and sleet are finally behind us, it’s time to throw open the windows—but to make sure you’re letting fresh breezes in and keeping insects and dirt out, you need window screens that are clean and functional.
And luckily, we’ve got the tips and know-how you need to keep screens in tip-top shape.
Clean Your Screens
Chances are, washing your windows is already a part of your spring cleaning routine, but did you know you also need to show window screens some love? Here’s how to clean your screens:
1. Gather your supplies. You’ll need a vacuum with a soft brush attachment, garden hose, bucket, dish soap or white vinegar, sponge or soft cloth, and a soft brush or toothbrush.
2. If you removed screens to install storm windows for the winter, get the screens out of storage; if you left screens in all winter long, remove them from the windows. Lay screens out on a flat surface outdoors – a deck or driveway is ideal.
3. Start by carefully vacuuming screens with your vacuum’s soft brush attachment to remove loose dirt. Use a light touch—too much pressure could rip the screen or bend the frame.
4. Mix some warm water with dish soap or vinegar in a bucket. Spray the screens with a hose, then use a soft cloth or sponge dipped in your cleaning solution to gently clean the screens and frame. If the screens are really dirty you may need to use a small brush or toothbrush to really get into the nooks and crannies where dirt is trapped.
5. Once the screens are clean, spray them again with a hose to wash away any soapy residue, then prop the screens up to dry before re-installing.
As you’re cleaning screens, take a close look for any damage. Small holes or tears can be easily repaired with Frost King Screen Patches. These self-adhering patches instantly repair damage and are almost invisible, and can be used on either aluminum or fiberglass screening—just press them into place and you’re done.
If screen damage is more extensive, you may need to replace the entire screen—it’s a more extensive repair than a patch job but very doable and will only set you back a few dollars. You will need:
• Screening material
• Frost King Screen Spline
• Spline roller
• Utility knife
1. Start by removing the damaged screening and spline (the vinyl cording that holds the screening in place; it runs around the entire frame and fits into a little groove on the edge of the frame).
2. Lay screening material over the frame and cut screening to fit the frame, leaving ¾” to 1” of overlap; cut each corner at a 45-degree angle. Pull the screening material taut (either clamp it in place or have a helper stretch it over the frame) and use the spline roller to push the spline into the groove. Continue working your way around the frame until you’re back to your starting place. Slack in the screening should tighten up as you install the spline, but if there are large wrinkles you may need to remove the spline and start rolling again. Don’t be discouraged—it takes a few tries to get the hang of it.
3. Trim any overhanging screening with a sharp utility knife, then re-install the screens.
What If You Don’t Have Screens—Or They’re Damaged Beyond Repair?
If your window screens are missing or too badly damaged to fix, you don’t have to choose between keeping windows locked up tight all summer long so you’re not overrun with bugs or springing for pricy replacement windows. W.B. Marvin Adjustable Window Screens to the rescue! They keep out bugs and let in breezes and come completely assembled and ready to use.
These high-quality wood and aluminum screens are available in a variety of heights, from 7” to 24” tall, and expand to fit windows ranging from 15” to 45” wide. To use, just place it in your window frame, expand it to fit, and then close the window sash to hold the screen in place.
If you want to be able to open and close your window without removing the screen every time, check out this clever hack from kathleenhenri: she attached W.B.Marvin Adjustable Window Screens to the inner window frame with a little bit of Velcro so she could easily close the window sashes when it’s raining or open the sash to let in fresh air whenever she wanted.