How to Properly Clean and Maintain Screen Doors Without Damaging Them
It’s important to keep your screen door clean and in good working condition. Because a screen door can accumulate a lot of dirt, as it is obviously structured with many tiny grime-accumulating holes, keeping it clean helps to make the screen look transparent and tidy. Equally, a well maintained screen door helps with its key functions regarding security, as well as its long-term durability.
The good news is that maintaining a screen door doesn’t take too much work; a little bit of your time on a Saturday a couple of times each year, and you’ll get the most out of your screen door over the long term.
How often should I clean my screen door?
Good question! It depends on where you live; different environments have different climates and conditions that might cause dirt, grime, and other pollutants to accumulate on your screen door more quickly. If you live in a rural area, away from the coast, then you’ll only need to clean your screen door once every six months or so. As long as you’re not close to industrial or heavy urban activity, the flow of pollutants into the screen door should be minimal.
If, however, you live in an urban area, the air will carry more smog and pollutants that will be caught by the screen door. In these environments, you’ll want to give the screen a clean every three months. And, if you live in a harsher environment (such as being close to an industrial factory, a tropical environment, or within 15km of the coast), you’ll need to clean your doors every two to four weeks.
How to clean the door
The best way to clean any flyscreen, be that a door or window, is to first remove the screen so that you can lay it down. Place it on a couple of tarpaulin sheets, and in the first instance, give the screen a good vacuum. It’s better to use one of the lighter handheld vacuums so that there isn’t too much suction pulling on the mesh screen. The goal of this first step is to remove the loose dirt and dust from the screen.
The second step is to mix together a solution of cleaner and water. You should have some form of cleaner supplied to you when you have your screens installed. Always use the manufacturer’s cleaner if it’s available, as it is designed specifically for whatever material the screen mesh is made from. Otherwise, mix a quarter cup of all purpose cleaner with a bucket of water.
To clean it, stand the screen up and use a microfibre cloth or sponge with the mixed liquid. Run it across the screen, being thorough but not putting too much pressure on the screen itself. The material used in the mesh is generally tough or flexible enough, but it can be bent out of shape.
Finally, give the screen a good hosing down using a hose set to low pressure. Do this before the suds from the soapy cleaner have had the chance to dry. Once hosed down, immediately use a towel to absorb the excess water, and then leave the screen door standing for a while to air dry. Once it’s properly dry, it’s time to re-install the screen onto the door frame, and that’s your job done for another couple of months!
What can I do if I can’t remove the screen?
If the screen can’t be removed, then it can be an awkward process to clean the door via conventional means. In this case, it’s time to get creative! You’ll still be able to vacuum the door as normal, but other tricks that work for people include using an air compressor or high pressure hose to ‘blast’ the dirt away (this works better for security doors that are made of robust materials). Another simple but effective technique is to simply use the humble dust brush to scrape the dirt off the screen door, and then clean the mess that it makes around the door normally.
With fixed doors, the main concern should be avoiding getting water everywhere; too much water on the windowsills and floor can cause damage, particularly if it’s chemical water through the cleaning solution, or dirty water as the dirt is removed from the screen. Putting down towels or rags on the windowsill and floor immediately below the screen is a good idea before you start cleaning.
Cleaning your screen doors regularly and thoroughly
The longer that you take between cleans of your screen doors, the harder it will become to remove the dirt and grime. The key is to determine how frequently you’ll need to clean your screens, and then schedule in cleaning time to your weekend diary with regularity. The job takes much less time and less effort if it’s done regularly.