As a Home Inspector in Mesa Arizona I see plenty of houses that are fitted with sun screens. Sun screens are installed over the windows on the exterior side of the house. Solar screens are relatively inexpensive and they can easily reduce up to 90% of the sun’s rays from hitting your windows which equates in to a cooler house and reduced energy bills.
When I am walking my clients around a home during a Home Inspection I am often asked what is the best way to clean solar screens. Our famous dust storms wreak havoc on the screens and I make it a point to clean mine at least once a year and usually twice. The following is my top secret method I have used for years to clean the sun screens on my home.
Equipment needed: All I need to clean my screens is a bucket, a nylon brush, a garden hose, a screwdriver and dish soap. I have found dish soap (NOT dishwasher detergent!) works best to remove the dirt and buildup without leaving streaks.
Start by removing the screen from the window. Most screens are fitted with casement turn clips that you undo with your thumb. Some are held in place with screws:
If this is the first time you have cleaned the screens it is a good idea to mark the top edge and the location of each screen on inside top edge of the screen. This will make life easier when it is time to reinstall your clean screens:
Pick a flat, clean area to wash your screens. I find the driveway works best. Add some water to your bucket and add a decent amount of the dish soap so you have a good sudsy solution. I spray both sides of the screen with the hose to remove as much dirt as possible before actually cleaning the screen:
Lay the screen down and using your nylon brush begin scrubbing the screen using vertical or horizontal strokes.
Depending on the size of the screen scrub about half of the surface so the soap won’t dry before you rinse. After scrubbing the section using vertical or horizontal strokes, switch and use perpendicular strokes over the same section:
Then scrub the section using a small clockwise circular motion. Finish your scrubbing by using a counter-clockwise motion. Sounds like overkill but I have learned that if you just scrub in one or two directions there will still be dirt and streaks on the screen when you are finished:
Now thoroughly rinse both sides of the section you just completed:
Then repeat the above procedure on the remaining section of the screen. Rinse both sides and flip the screen over and repeat the cleaning procedure on the other side of the screen. Rinse both sides thoroughly when finished and lean the screens against the house to dry:
You’re not done yet! While the screens are drying is the perfect time to wash the windows. Why put clean screens over dirty windows? I use regular spray type window cleaning products and paper towels:
And my cat (Kozmo) points out the places where I have missed:
Then reverse the procedure to replace the screens making sure you put the correct screen on the correct window. Carefully tighten the turn clips and/or screws to secure the screen to the window:
If you have turn clips you may need to tighten the screw holding the clip. Be careful not to over tighten the screw:
That’s it! Clean, streak free sun screens and clean windows all for a few hours work. (Depending on how many screens you have!) And you will be amazed at how much better the view will be out of these newly cleaned windows:
I hope you found this info useful. As a Home Inspector in Mesa Arizona I do my best to offer money saving tips and suggestions to my clients. Cleaning sun screens is the first in my series of “How to’s” that can be found on the "How To" page on my website.