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How to Clean Patio Screens

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Your patio being an outdoor haven requires to be kept clean and comfortable with a clear view of the sky and your backyard. The screens enclosing the patio get dirty and smudged over the seasons, ruining your view.

The cleaning process is tedious, time-consuming, and not a single soul is excited to do it, but you can appreciate the clean screens after the work is done.

The patio screens need washing at least once a year, mostly beginning of spring or the end of autumn. You can set a specific day and dedicate it to cleaning your screens, or you can handle different tasks for several days. This unpleasant process can be made easier with the right strategies to go about the business.

Easy methods to go about cleaning the patio screens include:

Table of Contents

Clear the Debris

Over time, the debris, dust, and pollen trapped between the screens and the patio will accumulate. There are a few options to go about removing the litter, like using a leaf blower or Swiffer Sweeper. The loose dirt can be swept and collected with a dustpan. Clearing debris will make it easier to deal with dirty screens.   

Use a Lint Roller

A lint roller will only prove helpful if your screens aren’t as dirty or they require a refreshing. A lint roller can be beneficial when getting rid of cobwebs, cat hair, and pollen. A lint roller is not a thorough cleaning process as the screens are not detached, but it is a good way of maintaining the screens clean.

When using the lint roller, press gently over the screen and make sure to get the particles. Change the roller liner when you notice it’s dirty, losing way, and not collecting any more particles. You can opt to use a paint roller with a lint roller refill for the high places you can’t reach.   

Use Clean Magic Erasers

The magic erasers can be used to pick up the particles left behind by the lint roller. The wet form will remove the stubborn smudges by scrubbing lightly on the affected areas. The magic eraser is made of melamine foam, making it safe to use as it doesn’t cause abrasions or scratch glass.

Cleaning the screen with the magic eraser can be done without detaching the screens, making the cleaning process bearable. The foam can fit into any space and take any shape, even the tricky spots to reach the screens. When you notice a buildup of dirt on your patio screens, reach out for your magic eraser and clean that up.    


Using a vacuum to clean your patio screens is a simple as the cleaning process get. Screen or window vacuum is made so that they can remove even the tiniest speck of dust. Make use of soft bristle attachment as a precaution to avoid scratching or damage to your screens.

Vacuuming can be done as a quick clean-up on the screens, but you can also choose to vacuum as part of the deep cleaning process. When deep cleaning, detach the screens and lay them down on protective fabric and vacuum. There are several brands of screen vacuums available in the market and online on sites like Amazon.

Pressure Washing

A , pressure washer is a a great tool to wash patio screens, especially if the screens are detachable. First, before pressure washing, you will need to eliminate any furniture and rugs in the space to avoid water damage. Before you start cleaning, assess the screens and ensure each is well attached.

Add multi-purpose soap to the pressure washer reservoir and soap tip at the end of the washing wand. Use a low pressure to spread the soap evenly on the screens removing all forms of dirt and smudges.

Target the screen at an angle to make sure your aim is perfect, and the dirt flows downwards. After that, use the pressure washer to rinse off the soap leaving the screens spotless. You may have to consider repainting if the pressure washer damages the paint.  

If you’re going to use a pressure washer be sure to check out our review on the ryobi 2300 psi electric pressure washer!

Brushes and Toothbrush

For the tough stains on your screen, you will need to add some effort to remove them. The least stubborn stains can be scrubbed off with a toothbrush, while the toughest require a slightly harder bristle brush.

When scrubbing the screens, try not to use much force as the screens can crack or scratch. Using a brush may make the cleaning process longer and tedious, but the result will be worth the effort. Cleaning screens with toothbrushes or smaller brushes will allow you to remove dirt from tiny holes, crevices, and nooks.

Vinegar and Soapy Water

If you encounter hard stains that won’t come off despite using soapy water, consider vinegar. You can take the screens down and lay them on protective material to avoid breakage. Mix vinegar with water on the ratio of 50/50 when making the solution. Put the solution in a water bottle and spray it on the stains.

Leave the vinegar water for a while and wipe it off with a soft sponge. The stains will be as good as gone. You can add a piece of fresh lemon to add fragrance to the patio screens. After the screens are dry, you can reattach them and observe your work.   

Wiping the Screens

You can choose to clean your screens by wiping them with a clean wet cloth or dishrag. When wiping, first take time to remove the dust, pollen, and dirt off the surfaces. Use warm and soapy water while cleaning the screens to get rid of all the dirt.

The hard stains to remove with cloth and water use brushes to scrub the screens’ stains. Use a glass cleaner to clean the screens, and don’t forget to wipe other glass surfaces on the patio. Rinse off the screens with clean water and allow them to air dry.  

Sweep and Dust

Sweeping and dusting off the patio can be your first step to cleaning your patio screens. Getting rid of the extra dirt and debris makes cleaning much more manageable. After the sweeping and dusting now you can spray, scrub and dry.

Use your broom to get rid of cobwebs and dust bunnies collected under the furniture. Remove the webs along with the ceiling and on-screen corners of the porch. It would help if you swept and dusted as often as possible to help maintain the patio and the screens reasonably well before a thorough washing.   

Washing the Pet Smudges

The pet owners are familiar with the streaks made on the screens by their pets, particularly dogs and cats. The pets tend to make these stains when pressing their noses on the screened patio. Worry not, as there is a way to eliminate these stains caused on your patio screens.

Use some hot water and paper towels to clean the area by rubbing the screen for some time. Use some dry paper towels or cloth to dry off the site and check if the pet smudges have disappeared. No special additive like widow cleaners is required for this process as hot water works perfectly.  

Clear the Rust on Screens 

The weather changes may be rough on the patio metal screens, causing them to rust. The rust can be cleaned and give your patio a beautiful finished look.

The cleaning process will involve spraying vinegar on the affected area and letting it settle for a couple of hours. Afterward, clean the screens with water and a brush and scrub off the rusty parts. This cleaning process requires patience as it is time-consuming.

If the rust doesn’t come off, make a paste with baking soda and water, smear it on the notorious rust stains. Let the paste sit for a while and scrub off the rust with a brush. Rinse the screen thoroughly after you are done and let them dry before reattaching.

Dealing with the Mold

You may notice some molding on your patio screens when cleaning. The mold should, however, not stress you as it can be removed. The secret to getting rid of mold is by using bleach. Dilute the bleaching agent with warm water and use gloves when cleaning with the solution.

If you are not a firm believer in bleach, then vinegar is also an acceptable option. Soak the screens with the vinegar or bleach solution and scrub off the mold. Make this a routine while cleaning to keep off the mold.

Mop the Patio

When all the work is done, mopping the patio is the last task. You can use cleaner and warm water to get rid of all the dirt on the floors. Scrub the corners and cracks of the floor and allow the space to air dry. Return the screen and reattach them preventing the formation of streaks.

Return the patio furniture and arrange the space as you prefer. With a clean place free of dust, spider webs, debris, rust, and mold, you can now appreciate the outside view of your backyard looks via the spotlessly clean screens. Maintaining the screen this way will require regular wiping and dusting before the situation gets out of hand.  

Other things in your backyard need cleaning too! Be sure to check out how you can proper clean your outdoor rugs, as well as clear your doorway tracks!

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Jena Slocum Co-Founder

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