Having an outdoor retreat is absolutely wonderful – especially if that retreat is attached to your house!
A screened lanai offers homeowners the ability to relax outdoors without having to contend with wildlife, bugs, and the elements.
While lanai screens do an excellent job of keeping things out, they aren’t the best at staying clean.
Over time your lanai can build up an unsightly accrual of pollen, dirt, and even mold.
Knowing how to maintain your lanai – and especially the best way to clean lanai screens – is essential to keeping your space well-cared for.
What is a Lanai?
A Hawaiian staple, a lanai is simply a porch that has a roofed entrance along with more than one wall that is completely open. Lanais make it possible to enjoy the great outdoors no matter what time of year it might be, as many are screened to keep out bugs and the weather.
Some lanais even come with panels made out of plastic or glass that can be removed to accommodate changing weather.
Lanais are often safer than porches or even screened-in patios. They tend to be larger as well, offering room for greenery, furniture, and sometimes even ceiling fans.
However, the costs to construct a nice lanai can be steep. Even an inexpensive lanai is likely to cost more than $1,300 – meaning it is important that you get the most out of the space you have.
Not only will you want to build your lanai out of the best possible materials, but you need to know how to keep it clean. Lanai screens, in particular, have a tendency to attract and hold dirt and grime.
By following the tips below, you can keep your lanai screens sparkling – and just like new! – no matter what fortune throws at it.
The Best Way to Clean Lanai Screens
Lanai screens aren’t difficult to clean, but you will need to make a few extra considerations in order to prevent damage to your space.
When you’re looking at your lanai screens, you may be absolutely appalled at how dirty they get. Luckily, a little bit of elbow grease is usually all it takes to get your lanai back to its spic and span glory.
How to Clean Your Lanai Screens By Hand
Cleaning a lanai screen is one of the best ways to clean, since it will allow you to tailor the amount of force you use. This can prevent damages and costly repairs down the road.
It’s also cost-effective – you don’t need anything besides some soap, warm water, and a good old-fashioned sponge or scrub brush.
Start by pouring some dish soap into a gallon of warm water.
Mix until you create a sudsy mixture, then apply the soap to the screens.
In some areas, you may need to scrub lightly in order to receive the desired effect. Once the screens have been scrubbed clean, you can rinse them with clean water or a garden hose.
Allow the screens to air dry and repeat if necessary.
Cleaning Lanai Screens with Power Washers
If scrubbing by hand doesn’t sound like a good time to you, don’t worry. You can also clean your lanai screens using a power or pressure washer. This is the perfect technique for reaching hard-to-get-to areas like cracks, crevices, and spots near the ceiling.
You may not be able to clean the interior of your lanai screens with a pressure washer, but you’ll definitely be able to get the exterior nice and clean.
A power washer does an excellent job at blasting away debris and grime. However, keep in mind that you want to start by using the lowest level of power available to you. Too much force can damage your screens.
Removing Stuck-on Algae, Mold, and Stains from Lanai Screens
Despite our best efforts, there are some substances that stain lanai screens no matter what. If you find that these spots resist your initial soap-and-water based attempts at removal, keep in mind that you can add vinegar to your cleaning arsenal for a quick boost in cleaning power.
Don’t use straight vinegar, as this can impart an unpalatable smell. Instead, use a mixture of equal parts of vinegar and hot water. Use your scrub brush to scrub away at the troubling spots, then follow up with a rinse with a garden hose to remove lingering odors.
Be careful using vinegar on your lanai screens if you have any plants nearby. You don’t want to get vinegar on the plants, as it can kill them on contact.
Another option for getting rid of stains is to use bleach.
Just know that bleach also has the ability to discolor aluminum and other surfaces.
It’s also not wise to inhale it, so you will want to make sure the space is well-ventilated before you break out the big guns.
Mix it conservatively with water before applying, ideally at a ratio of three parts water to one part bleach.
Always wear gloves to protect your hands as you scrub.
Why You Should Clean Your Lanai Screens
Cleaning a lanai screen isn’t difficult, but it’s something you need to do for several reasons.
Not only can lanai screens harbor dangerous growths like mold and pollen build-up, two known allergens, but they also are unsightly to look at when they are dirty.
A dirty lanai is an eyesore that has some serious health implications. Unfortunately, there is no way you can prevent dirt, mold, and algae from building up on your lanai screen. Since these structures are frequently located in humid areas or next to wet spots like swimming pools, they are going to be susceptible to these kinds of problems. You can always hire someone to clean your lanai screen for you, but be prepared to spend some money.
As they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
However, since there aren’t many good ways to prevent your lanai screen from becoming dirty, it’s definitely better to be aware of the best way to clean your lanai screens.