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How to Clean, Care for, and Replace Your RV Window Screens

Many RVs come with large windows, great for enjoying the view. On those beautiful days when there’s a breeze, opening your windows can help you avoid the air conditioner and instead let in the fresh air. Unfortunately, those RV window screens can quickly get dirty, especially if you’re in a dusty area.

Today we’ll look at how you can get them clean so all that fresh air can make its way in. 

large RV window
Windows in an RV let fresh air and light in, but without screens, you’ll be letting in more than you bargained for!

How to Thoroughly Clean Your RV Window Screens

When it comes to cleaning your RV window screens, the simplest process is the best. Remove your screens and clean them with fresh water and dish soap. Gently brush the screens to remove debris, using caution not to tear the screen. A microfiber cloth does a great job removing dirt and grime. 

Pro Tip: Keep the bugs out by using this Clam Quick-Set Screen Tent Comparisons to Help You Decide.

Tips for Caring for Your RV Window Screens

RV window screens are one of those things that you likely don’t think to put on your maintenance list, but you should. Here are a few things you can do to help your screens last for the life of your RV.  

Check for Rips and Tears

Make it a point to take a quick look at your screens a few times a year. If you’re seasonal, check them at the start of the camping season and then again as you winterize it. If you’re full-time, put it on your schedule to look at your RV window screens each quarter. You can also glance at them when you wash your windows

As you check, look for any rips or tears that require attention. You can patch some screens if the tearing is minimal, so give that a try first. Keep in mind: Tears can quickly grow if you don’t address them, and you may even have to purchase a new screen if it’s left too long. 

damaged RV window screen
The longer you ignore tears or holes in your RV window screens, the bigger they’ll grow.

Dust Often with a Microfiber Towel

Doing basic dusting with a microfiber towel between big cleanings can keep your screens looking new for longer. Simply wipe each screen clean each time you clean the windows. This is a great way to keep your screens clear of dirt between your quarterly or biannual deep cleanings. 

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When Should You Replace Your RV Window Screens?

Your RV window screens should only need replacing if tears or holes are too large for you to patch. Screens with large holes could mean unwanted insects finding their way into your RV. 

DIY. RV. Window Screen Replacement

How to Replace Your RV Window Screens

If your screen is beyond repair, set aside time to replace the screen completely. Thankfully, you won’t always need to buy an entirely new frame. If the frame isn’t damaged, you can often replace the screen part only. Keep reading to learn how simple it is to DIY this project. 

Tools You’ll Need

Thankfully, this RV project only requires a few tools and supplies. Purchase a roll of the screen from a local hardware store. Be mindful of the screen gauge; the finer the mesh material, the more effective it will be in keeping bugs out. 

You’ll also need a putty knife, flathead screwdriver, spline roller, razor blade, and scissors. 

Remove the Old Screen

First, pop the RV window screen frame out. Don’t attempt to replace the screen with the frame still mounted. Doing so will only result in frustration and wasted supplies. Removing the frame is easy; simply use a putty knife to pop the frame out of the track one section at a time. 

Once you’ve removed the frame, use a small knife or flathead screwdriver to lift the splining (the vinyl cording that helps the screen fit snugly), allowing the old screen to break free. Remove the screen and spline. You’ll reuse the splining, so be careful not to ruin it. 

screen roll
Finer mesh keeps more bugs out.

Unroll Your New Screen

Now you’re ready to roll out the new screen. Lay the frame flat and roll your mesh replacement over it, giving yourself a few inches of extra material on each side. Leaving a few extra inches ensures you will not find yourself with too little screen for your project. Cut your screen and set the roll to the side. 

Attach the New Screen to the Window Frame

After rolling out your screen, the next step is to attach it to the frame. Using your spline roller, reinsert the PVC splining over the new screen, securing it to the frame. Slowly make your way around the window. When you’ve arrived at the last portion of the frame, pull the RV window screen slightly, so you can be confident that it’ll have a tight fit. 

Once you’ve finished with the splining, cut off the excess screen with a razor blade or scissors. Be careful not to cut or scratch the frame while cutting the extra away.

exit window with screen
Use care when reinstalling window screens on an exit window. You wouldn’t want to damage this important safety feature!

Reinstall Your New Window Screen

You’re almost finished. Now that you’ve successfully reattached the screen, it’s time to reinstall it. Your window should go back in the same way it came out. Place the frame back onto the track, starting at the bottom and popping the top back in place. Run your hands along the edge of the frame and apply gentle pressure to make sure you’ve attached it securely. 

How Do I Protect My RV Window Screen from Pets?

Dogs and cats alike enjoy looking out the window. Who can blame them? People watching at campgrounds can be fun, after all. Unfortunately, in their excitement, pets can damage window screens.

If your pet has a habit of pushing on the window screen or scratching at it, consider keeping windows closed when they’re gazing out the window. Since screens are usually on the interior, a closed window won’t completely prevent damage, but it can help reduce the risk. 

cat and dog in RV
If you have pets that like to hang out by the windows, keep an extra close eye on your screens.

Find more pro tips for RVing with pets here: 5 Rules for RVing with Pets

You could also try using a heavier duty screen gauge. Thicker wiring will make it much harder for little claws to penetrate or push out of the frame. 

Some people install a grill in front of an RV window screen so airflow can come in but pets can’t push on the screen. This might be overkill for some, but those who’ve replaced several pet-damaged screens might consider it.

Don’t Feel Intimidated by This Simple DIY Project

It might seem intimidating to replace an RV window screen if you’ve never done so, but the process is quite simple. You can bring fresh air into your RV while keeping the bugs out, and if you experience screen damage often, you’ll be ready.

RV window
Fresh window screens can improve the overall look of your RV.

Do you spend more time outside than inside? Screen tents allow you to enjoy the outdoors without worrying about bugs ruining your day. Learn more here: 5 Best Screen Tents for Camping Bug-Free in the Great Outdoors

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About Tom Morton

Tom, a Pacific Northwest native, is our technical genius. Born in Washington and raised in Alaska before settling in Michigan. He's the man who keeps our operation running, both figuratively and literally.

With a background in Electrical Engineering, Tom specializes in RV solar systems and lithium batteries. He made history as the first documented individual to use a Tesla battery module as an RV battery. Tom has personally assisted countless RVers with system installations and has educated thousands more through his videos and articles.

Cinematography is another of Tom's passions, showcased in his work on the Go North series. You can see his camera skills on display in The RVers TV show on Discovery Channel and PBS where he also stars as a co-host.

Tom's mechanical expertise extends beyond RVs to boats, planes, and all things mechanical. He's renowned for taking on maintenance and repair projects single-handedly and is often spotted underneath RVs, making him the technical backbone of our endeavors.

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Wednesday 9th of November 2022

Where do I find new frames for my RV window screens? I’m completely missing two of them and have one that is badly damaged. I would like to replace them but have no idea where to start. Thanks.