October's falling leaves, cold nights and daylight savings time alerts homeowners that winter is around the corner. This means it's time to de-summerize your home by covering the patio furniture and cleaning door and window screens. Yes, even screens need fall maintenance.
We advise homeowners to clean screens at least once a year. Some professional window washers offer screen cleaning with their services, but homeowners can easily do this themselves. Most people don't realize that the screening material has four sides. The best way to clean screens is to lay them flat on a porch or driveway, use mild soap and water and scrub on both sides with a soft brush. Rinse from top down with clean water, and then "snap" the screen to knock off most of the water so it dries clean.
Most screens today are vinyl coated fiberglass so homeowners can use a vinyl protectant to extend the life of the screens. However, most vinyl protectants will attract dust and dirt, and it's hard to evenly cover the entire screen. For sliding screen doors, we recommend using a furniture polish, such as Pledge. It's a silicon-based lubricant that doesn't attract dirt like oil-based lubricants, and furniture polish can also be used to clean the tracks of the sliding doors. It makes the doors work great!
Fall is a great time to take a close look ar your entire home, and that does not exclude your screens. If some do not fit or are bent, then they need to be replaced. If they fit correctly, then just clean them with the above steps. And if white strands are apparent, then it's time to re-screen.
About the Author: Scott Walker is the president of Screenmobile, the national at-home screen installation company, For more information about Screenmobile and their locations, visit www.screenmobile.com.