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Do Window Screens Affect Air Quality?

There’s nothing quite like a crisp breath of fresh air. Whether sitting on your back porch or lounging indoors with the windows open, you may wonder just how clean the air is that you’re breathing. The filtration qualities of most screens are relatively similar across the board; however, some specialty screens provide more advanced filtration for smaller particles. While there are many things that a screen can filter, some particles are small enough to slip through. The particle or debris size typically determines whether or not your screen can keep it from entering your space.

What Can’t Get Through?
Many people opt for screened porches and patios for the added layer of protection. But from what, exactly, is the screen protecting you? Your window and porch screens can filter out some seriously unwanted pests and debris that would otherwise infiltrate your home every time you choose to get some fresh air.

Leaves and Debris:

Breezy days can lead to flying leaves, twigs, and natural debris floating around the environment. While this doesn’t cause problems outside, lifting your window to find debris fluttering inside your home is likely to be an unwelcome engagement. Similarly, an unscreened porch carpeted with leaves and debris will leave you sweeping tirelessly. Screens prevent large debris like leaves and sticks from infiltrating your space. They act as barriers that keep unwanted litter from breaking through. Screens allow you to sit back and enjoy the falling leaves and fresh air rather than constantly sweep them off your floor.

Bugs and Insects:

Mosquitos, flies, and bees are some of the most annoying pests during the summer. It can be hard to relax if you constantly have to swat at a buzzing nuisance. Additionally, some bugs like mosquitos carry diseases that could compromise your health and safety. Luckily, your screen mesh should keep most large bugs away so you can sit back and swat no more!

UV Rays:

Some window screens block UV rays, which are harmful to the skin and can damage furniture. The sun’s harsh rays can cause furniture and rugs to fade over time if not properly shielded with a UV-filtering window or patio screen. It is also wise to limit your skin’s UV exposure. Sitting on a screened-in porch is much safer for your skin than sitting on an open-air patio.

What Can Get Through?
While screens do filter a lot, there are a few exceptions. The mesh that makes up a standard screen has about 200 holes per square inch, meaning that they are tiny, yet, they are holes nonetheless. Because they are still holes, small particles, pests, and debris can break through.


Tiny bugs like gnats (no-see-ums) can fly through window screens easily. They are harmless to humans, yet they can contaminate food or drink where they land and can be incredibly annoying, especially in large groups. You can reduce the likelihood of gnats by moving mulch piles away from screened-in areas and adequately disposing of food and other waste. (1)


Since window screens are not designed to ensure adequate indoor air quality, the holes in the mesh are not small enough to trap particles as tiny as pollen and other allergens. If you suffer from allergies, consider installing special heavy-duty window screens that filter even the tiniest of particles. The average window screen, however, is not equipped to trap pollen.
Dust and Dirt: Similar to pollen, these small particles can sneak through the mesh of your screen due to their minuscule size. The more tightly woven a screen, the less likely dust will be to break through the screen.

Breathe easy, knowing that your screen keeps you safe by filtering the big stuff. While a standard screen won’t be able to filter everything, custom screens can be made to suit individual needs. You should never be afraid to open your window or sit on your porch. Screen in your area to breathe happy and healthy!

1 https://pestcontrolzone.com/how-to-keep-gnats-off-window-screens/