Flyscreens, by their very design, can quickly attract dirt and grime. The dirtier your screens, the less effective they are and the shorter their lifespan can be. Dust, dirt, salts, sap, and other bio-matter can get lodged, and not only can this affect the aesthetics of your screens and windows, but the acidity of these substances can also wear out your screens over time.
In this article, we look at how regular dusting and washing of your screens can reduce time spent on big, arduous deep cleans. We aim to show you that while cleaning your fly screens is essential, it doesn’t have to be a difficult and time-consuming job. We’ll look at the following:
- how to clean fly screen mesh
- the best way to clean fly screen doors
- how to clean fly screens without removing them
- creating a cleaning schedule according to your local environment.
Make dusting and wash-offs a part of your regular cleaning routine and reap the benefits of beautiful and practical flyscreens.
The best (and easiest) way to clean your fly screens
The easiest way to maintain clean flyscreens is to invest in quality products. Technical excellence makes a big difference to how much maintenance a flyscreen can require, and options such as retractable flyscreens can further reduce maintenance and cleaning time.
Inconspicuous and discreet retractable designs are designed to go un-noticed. They can be rolled or stacked away when not in use, meaning less time taking on dust, dirt, and debris through exposure to the elements. Retractable screens of good quality also offer greater durability, making cleaning simpler. All you have to do is vacuum the tracks every now and again and follow the steps below.
Step 1: The basic wipe over
For basic cleaning every few weeks, get yourself a microfibre cloth or a lint duster. A quick wipe-over will remove excess dust and debris and make deeper cleaning easier.
A vacuum cleaner with a soft brush attachment is another effective way to remove dirt and debris. The bottom tracks should be vacuumed regularly (in normal circumstances we recommend vacuuming them once a week or so when doing your regular household cleaning). The accumulation of dirt, debris and pet hair in the bottom tracks may eventually cause the system to perform poorly, jam and/or create creases in the mesh.
We recommend cleaning the mesh regularly with a vacuum cleaner on the lowest possible setting and with the soft brush attachment. Simply run the brush over your screens every few weeks as you vacuum, being careful that only the brush touches. The plastic parts of your vacuum can damage the mesh, so don’t rush the job.
Step 2: The deeper wash off
For a standard deeper clean (a wash-off), that you undertake if you have a fixed fly screen, a garden hose, a damp cloth, a soft-bristle brush, and a bucket is what you’ll need. You’ll want to try to undertake this type of cleaning at least every three months.
Remove the screen you want to clean, allowing you to easily clean from both sides. Place the screen on the lawn or on a hard outdoor surface that’s dirt-free, then spray the screen with your garden hose. If you can’t remove your screen, that’s okay; just make sure your windows are firmly shut before hosing down.
Should the retractable fly screen mesh become soiled, clean with warm water and a damp cloth (use mild soap if necessary). Do not use abrasive detergents or chemical additives. Fill a bucket with warm water and add a small amount of mild dish soap. Gently wipe with a damp, lint-free cloth. You can use a second bucket of clean water for rinsing and a towel to dry up any remaining water around your door and window sills.
In harsh environments (where dust, debris and humidity are persistent or higher than normal) the frequency of vacuuming and cleaning the screen needs to be increased accordingly.
Look for stubborn dirt
As you clean, look for stubborn dirt not easily removed with your hose or cloth. If you see stubborn dirt, take a soft-bristle brush and lightly scrub until your screens are clean.
The mesh will naturally accumulate dust and small debris. This may cause the mesh to look “greyish” or “dull” over time. To clean the mesh when this occurs, apply a solution of 40% methylated spirits and 60% water mixed in a spray bottle. Remove the solution by wiping the mesh and the screen with a soft cloth. This type of cleaning should not be done more than every 2 years or so. Regular use of this method could eventually affect the mesh coating.
Another tool you could use is an extra-strength Magic Eraser, which will withstand prolonged scrubbing on a rougher surface, or a soft-brush toothbrush which will allow you to break through dirt stuck in holes, nooks, and crevices. Just be careful not to press too hard on the screen, as you don’t want to bend it out of shape.
Watch your water
Avoid using bore water if you can, as this can leave staining. In the same way, avoid using grey water, which may leave contaminants on the screen, and keep the spray soft. Never direct powerful streams of water at your fly screen products, as this can strip the powder coating or tear the fly screen mash.
Mind your chemical use
Cleaning products can contain a cocktail of chemicals that can be potentially hazardous to your health and the lifespan of your fly screens. When cleaning your screens, consider using natural products such as vinegar. Use one cup of white vinegar and ½ a tablespoon of mild dish soap for 2 litres of water.
Consider your region
How often you need to clean can depend on your local environment. Urban areas are prone to pollution, and dirt can build up quickly. Coastal areas are prone to salt buildup, making screens brittle and grey in colour. Rural areas can be prone to dust and mud. Think about where you live and adjust your cleaning schedule accordingly.
Getting the most from your fly screens
While no one wants to clean their flyscreens regularly, it’s important to remember why you have them. Fly screens act as a barrier between the inside and the outside. They’re designed to be see-through and to allow for airflow while protecting your property from mosquitoes, pollution, and other insects/materials. They can’t do their job without active maintenance and cleaning, which could mean reduced illumination, ventilation, and aesthetic appeal.
Flyscreens, unfortunately, are not ‘set and forget’ additions to your home. They require proper maintenance, starting with arming yourself with the right tools. Contact Artilux for a free quote and get high-quality retractable screens – the smartest and easiest way to reduce your fly screen cleaning time.