A screen porch lets you enjoy fresh air and the soothing sounds of nature without the bugs, rain, and falling leaves that sometimes accompany being outdoors. Porch screens act as a filter to keep insects, pollen, and lawn debris out, but they also trap a lot of buildup over time. Keeping screens clean is key to getting the most enjoyment out of your enclosed porch—and preventing caked-on grime or mold that can be difficult to remove. Learning how to clean porch screens starts with your vacuum, but you'll likely need to break out the garden hose and some soapy water if your screens are especially dirty. Plan to give your porch screens a good deep-cleaning at the beginning and end of the outdoor season (typically in the spring and fall) and spot-clean as needed. You might also want to clean the rest of your outdoor spaces while you're at it.
How to Clean Porch Screens
Depending on how dirty your porch screens are, you might not need to complete every step in this tutorial each time you clean. Vacuuming will likely suffice for removing dirt, dust, and other small particles, but soapy water and a brush are helpful for cleaning pollen, mold, and other grime off porch screens.
What You Need
Vacuum with upholstery brush and crevice tool attachments
Step stool or ladder
Bucket of warm water
Mild dish soap
Distilled white vinegar (optional)
Spray bottle (optional)
Step 1: Vacuum porch screens.
If you can safely reach the exterior surface of your porch screens, start vacuuming from the outside. Otherwise, use a vacuum with an upholstery brush attachment to loosen debris from the inside of your porch screens, starting from the top and working your way down. Use a step stool or ladder as needed to reach the highest areas. Switch to the crevice tool attachment to vacuum the corners and edges of the screens.
Step 2: Wet screens with a hose.
Before starting this step, move any items you don't want to get wet, such as furniture or rugs, away from the screens. From inside the porch, use a hose to rinse debris from each screen panel. Direct the spray outward as you work your way across and down. A pressure washer can also be an effective tool for cleaning a screen porch, but take care not to tear holes in the screen. Use the lowest pressure setting and stand several feet away from the screen to avoid damage.
Step 3: Scrub with soapy water.
Use soapy water to spot-clean any areas that remain dirty or stained after vacuuming and hosing down the screens, or to thoroughly clean the entire surface. Mix a few squirts of mild dish soap into a bucket of warm water. Dip a soft-bristled brush into the solution and gently scrub the inside of the screen.
Step 4: Remove mold from porch screens.
Porch screens in damp or shaded areas are susceptible to mold and mildew growth, which often appears as a green, powdery substance. To clean mold off porch screens, mix equal parts distilled white vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Spritz the solution onto the screens and gently scrub with a soft-bristled brush.
Step 5: Rinse porch screens clean.
Once your porch screens are clean, rinse away any remaining cleaning solution with your hose. Again, work from inside the porch and spray outward. Allow the screens to dry before returning furniture to your porch.