Screen enclosures are great at keeping leaves, insects, and debris out of our pools, patio, deck, or other outdoor areas. We can enjoy a relaxing day and a nice breeze without worrying about pests. It also gives us a sense of privacy and acts as a personal getaway in our very own homes.
It has become an essential part of our home and that’s why we should take care of it. Similar to cleaning the inside of your home, you should also know how to do it for your screen enclosures.
Learning how to properly maintain your under-truss lanai, pool enclosure, screen room, or screened areas will not only make it sparkle but also extend frame and screen life. There may also be health implications if dirt, pollen, mold, mildew, and other grime are left to grow on our enclosure.
So here are 5 tips you can follow to give your screen enclosure a brand new look.
Soak, Manually Brush and Dry
Before you use other methods, you can first start cleaning your enclosure by hand. You’ll be needing a bucket, a soft bristle brush, a garden hose, and a chamois or a sunny day.
You can first brush the screen to remove loose leaves and debris. Make sure to use a soft and small-bristled brush to not damage your enclosure. You can also use a blower to clean the roof of your screen enclosure, similar to the video above. Next, you have to clean the stains caused by fingerprints, dead insects, and weathering.
First, soak the screen and frames using the garden hose and then gently scrub it with warm water mixed with dish soap. Thoroughly rinse it afterward and check for any spots that you may have missed. After going through it again, do one final rinse. You can allow it to air dry or wipe it with chamois. You need to dry it because otherwise, there might be drip marks that will ruin your hard work.
If there are still some areas you can’t clean, then you’ll need to resort to other methods or use chemicals.
Use a pressure washer
For those grimy areas that don’t want to budge, you can use a pressure washer to clean it. To eliminate stubborn stains and mold, power wash your enclosure’s screens and frames. This is considered one of the most convenient methods to clean screen enclosures and great for hard to reach areas.
The high pressure combined with hot water usually eliminates most of the mold and grime on the screen. But before turning it up, start with a low pressure so your screens won’t get damaged. You can also use this method to clean your pool deck, under-truss lanai, and porch. If you don’t have a pressure washer, you can rent or buy one from a hardware store.
Here’s a video of how to clean a screen enclosure with a screen roof, specifically a pool cage, using the two methods mentioned above.
First, apply a cleaning solution on the screens. For the next two steps, you’ll need to soft brush the inside and outside of the screens. After, you’ll need to power wash the screens with medium pressure. Then you’re done! You can let it air dry or use a chamois to wipe excess water.
But scrubbing and power washing can only remove most of the mold, algae, or mildew. To clean these leftover grime, you’ll need to use chemicals.
Removing mold with a bleach solution
Mold tends to grow on areas around the pool because of the moisture. It forms a green powder-like substance that spreads on the frame or material. Aside from being an eyesore, it can also affect people such as those with allergies or asthma.
Don’t worry, it’s not impossible to remove, it just takes effort. Sometimes a good scrub or power-wash is not enough that you need to use another method. You can use chemicals such as bleach to remove mold on non-porous surfaces. Before you start, water nearby plants to protect them from this chemical.
Then you’re ready. The first step is to mix warm water and liquid chlorine bleach in a bucket with a ratio of 3 to 1 (example: 3 quarts of water and 1 quart of bleach). Make sure to wear rubber gloves when using bleach to avoid getting chemical burns since it’s hard on the skin. You can also add powder detergent to the bucket as well. Use a sponge or soft bristle brush to remove the affected areas with the solution. You can also use this to eradicate moss, mildew, and algae on your paver deck or patio.
Once the mold is gone, rinse the screens and frame with fresh water to remove remaining bleach or solution on it. Don’t forget to water nearby plants again to avoid it from getting contaminated.
Note: When using this method, be warned that this chemical may discolor aluminum. Make sure to rinse thoroughly after using the bleach solution.
If you want to use a gentler solution…
Aside from bleach, there’s a natural and gentle solution you can use – white vinegar and warm water. Vinegar is an effective ingredient against removing mold and mildew.
Mix white vinegar and warm water with a 50-50 ratio in a spray bottle and then spray it on affected areas. After, use a soft bristle brush or sponge to clean the stubborn mildew, moss, algae, and mold.
You can choose to rinse your enclosure or leave it to air dry. The solution leaves an acidic residue that hinders mold growth. If you’re worried about the smell, it dissipates once it’s dry.
Get someone else to do it
After doing all these and you still can’t get your pool cage to shine, you might need to call a professional to do it for you. If you also don’t have the time, hiring a contractor will help make your life easier.
If you choose to clean your own pool, there’s a risk of damaging the screens or frames. Using a pressure washer improperly or scrubbing with the wrong brush can easily damage your enclosure. You will also have a hard time removing mold and debris in the high-up places. Be careful when climbing the ladder or balancing on walk boards.
To avoid the risk of damaging or getting injured, hire experts who have the experience and tools to get the job done correctly and quickly. It’s the best method for those who have a budget or don’t want to go through this hassle. Check for local screen enclosure contractors near you.
The time will also come that your screen enclosure is beyond cleaning and is due for restoration. You can get a quote from a contractor in your area.