Cleaning your screen enclosure yourself? Who would ever?
We know there are businesses that offer intensive cleaning services. Usually, they’re more worth it for enclosures that are in an extreme run-down condition. However, frequent basic cleaning can save you from needing it at all.
As a rule of thumb, you should be cleaning your screen enclosure at least once every 6 months. But of course, if you could do it more often than that, it would be ideal.
There are so many things that could grow or attach to your screens if left uncleaned for long periods. Leaves and pine needles are some of the common debris that could drop on the roof, especially after a thunderstorm.
Mold, algae, lichen, and fungus are other elements that could settle on not only the screens but also the metal enclosure itself. They’re more obvious on white members because they appear green or cause metal corrosion.
Most common of all though is dirt. The wind carries dirt with it and dirt can quietly settle on your screens unknowingly. They build up over time.
If cleaning your screen enclosure is a foreign concept to you, we’ll share some methods that you can use to clean your screens.
Before we start, a short disclaimer: Be careful in applying these techniques. While there may be hard-to-remove stains or debris, you still have to be gently as you don’t want to weaken the material or worse, puncture tears and holes.
1. Pool Brush
If you have a pool enclosure, you likely have one of those pool brushes used to clean the edges of the swimming pool. Ones with longer handles are best.
With the help of a ladder, climb up to the level of the roof. Push the leaves, pine needles and straws to the edge of the roof. Once a massive volume of debris has accumulated on the edge, it’ll be much easier to brush everything off all at the same time.
Works Best For: Removing debris off the roof of the enclosure
2. Leaf Blower
A leaf blower doesn’t only work for your lawn, they can be used to do the same thing as to remove debris off the roof of your enclosure. This can be a second step to clean the rest of the debris that you weren’t able to brush off, or you can just opt for this method altogether.
One huge advantage of this is you can do it from the inside. If you have a wide enclosure, this can also be used for the middle of the roof, which a pool brush may not be able to reach. The only disadvantage of this method is it’s hard to reach the area within the pool. You can’t prop up a ladder there so you might not be able to reach the height of the roof.
Works Best For: Blowing Off Dirt and Debris From Screens on the Roof and Walls
3. Canister Vacuum
As an alternative to the leaf blower, a canister vacuum can also be used to blow off debris if it has the option to reverse the suction. However, the best use of this is also the typical way you use vacuums, only you use it on your screens.
Replace the head of the vacuum wand with the small brush head. Make sure the bristles are not too hard or stiff. Brush the screens section per section and the vacuum will absorb the built-up dirt.
No other type of vacuum can work other than the canister because it has a long wand that can reach sections of the enclosure that may be difficult to reach.
Works Best For: Removing Dirt from the Entire Screens and Metal Enclosure (if any)
4. Garden Hose, Dish Soap, and Brush
For more intensive cleaning, you can’t go wrong with a garden hose, warm water, and good ole’ dish soap.
Wet the screens with the garden hose before you start. Once a large enough section is all damp, scrub the soft bristle brush with dish soap on it to remove any foreign element that has grown or built up on the screen. Don’t forget to also brush the metal enclosure because it’s not immune to algae or mold.
The most important step of this method is to dry the entire enclosure and screens with a chamois cloth. Leaving wet streaks to air dry may cause the same problems and make your cleaning session useless.
Works Best For: Removing mold, algae, lichen, dirt, or fungus
Many people rely on bleach to remove mold. It shouldn’t be different when it comes to screens. When using bleach, make sure to wear rubber gloves.
Follow the instructions on the container of the bleach for the right bleach-water ratio. If that’s not available to you, a good proportion is 1 quart of bleach to 3 quarts of water. Brush the bleach mixture gently on the screen to avoid damaging the material.
Rinse the bleach with water afterward. This is an important step, especially if your enclosure is made of aluminum. The bleach might cause discoloration if the bleach is not washed off thoroughly.
Works Best For: Removing old mold that strongly settled in
6. Natural Solutions
If you don’t want to use bleach, a good alternative to it would be a half and half mixture of white vinegar and warm water. Just note that this solution might not be strong enough to remove any buildup that stubbornly developed on your screens for years already.
Another solution that you can use with ingredients you can find in the kitchen is two tablespoons of bicarbonate from soda drinks and two pints of water. Scrub any of these mixtures onto your screens and it will leave them clean enough until the next regular cleaning.
Works Best For: Keeping your screens from chemicals in cleaning products
If you clean your pool and scrub the flooring in the area, you should also clean your screens. Dirt that has settled on the screens can actually fall to the pool without your knowledge. Bottomline is that, the cleanliness of your pool area is affected by the cleanliness of your pool cage. The same can be said about any other screen enclosures that you have, whether it’s in your front entryway or your undertruss lanai screens.