Window Cleaning – Let There Be Light!

What Light through yonder window breaks?

William Shakespeare …

For centuries, throughout the world, light has defined the space we live in. For most, the amount of time spent in buildings outweighs time spent in nature’s natural light. And everyone knows, there is nothing better in this world than the purity of natural light.

Think of Parisian Cafe Society artists who tried to capture every ounce of light in attic rooms and garrets filled with paned glass ceilings. But it is more than the abundance of windows that matter, it is the quality of light that passes through a window. The quality of light matters and it matters a lot.

Living in the Light

As light loving humans, natural light is what we crave for a balanced existence. In fact, light deprivation can cause depression. According to an article by Scientific American, neuronal death may be the mechanism underlying seasonal affective disorder (SAD). A dirty window obscuring natural light is actually bad for your health. How about that?

There is always artificial light to fill the void. This is true, but natural light is best. However, streaming rays of sun should not be encumbered by dirt, dust, and grease.  Dirty windows are a sacrilege. And depressing. So, instead of calling your Doc if you’re feeling blue, call your local window cleaning company.

Window Cleaning Gurus

Professional window cleaning tribes work magic every single day. These professionals are on top of their game using methods and tools to create a brilliant, gleaming perfectly cleaned window every time.

True professionals and expert window cleaners have mastered various difficult techniques that set them apart from amateurs.

An Ancient Craft Revisited

But as innovations continue to be developed and emerge, a “better mousetrap” is actually a real thing in the world of window cleaning. The art of refining the ancient craft of window cleaning seemingly never ends. There is always something brewing in the scientific minds of industry innovators to streamline the craft, making each development even more intuitive.

So as window cleaning professionals, there is good reason to keep an eye on industry trends.

Pure Water

Cleaning with pure water as an example. Cleaning windows with pure water is a remarkably innovative system. The Unger nLite HydroPower Starter Kit is the perfect system to segue from traditional methods to a high productivity, pure water alternative.

We’ll share more on this system and other interesting window cleaning options in an upcoming article.

Beginnings

Everyone has to start somewhere. So, if you’re just starting out, or would like to, keep it simple. Here are seven basic tools of the trade you’ll need: applicator, blade, oblong bucket, cleaning solution, squeegee, microfiber cloths, and a hip bucket.

Applicator/Mop/Strip Washer

The applicator holds plenty of water and saves going back and forth to a bucket. Use a t-bar with water wells, the water is retained longer than a smooth one. The length of the applicator to use will depend on the job.

A small 8″ applicator is ideal for cleaning paned windows but useless on a large window. As a rule of thumb, the wider the window the longer the applicator should be. This allows you to cover the window quickly.

There are various types of sleeves as well. The more absorbent it is, the longer it will hold water. Of course, a microfiber sleeve is extremely absorbent, and one with a scrubbing strip is excellent for more aggressive cleaning jobs.

A 18″ applicator works best for most windows and fits into an oblong bucket, which is a real plus. Typically using a 22″ applicator isn’t practical as it will not fully immerse in the bucket.

Blade 

For a 1st-time clean or very dirty job, it’s a good idea to scrape the entire window first. Use a heavy-duty wide blade, it’s much easier and faster to use than a small retractable blade. Make sure to always scrape in one direction from bottom to top in long strides.

Also keep a small retractable 4″ blade on hand. Chances are, you’ll need it along the way.

Oblong Bucket

This bucket allows you to fully immerse the applicator in the soapy water. Saving time means you are increasing profits simply by choosing the right shaped bucket.

Accessories are available to store channel lengths. The accessory tray or sieve gives you a place to squeeze water out of the mop.

Cleaning Solution

Washing up liquid as the Brits say do a good job of cleaning the windows and is easy to work with. Translation: Dawn, Ivory or any liquid dishwashing soap that suits your fancy.

The soap foam it produces makes it easy to see where you have passed the blade and acts as a good lubricant when using a rubber squeegee on the window.

Don’t use too much soap. Too much soap will leave a sticky residue on the window, and dirt will quickly build up.

Squeegee 

A squeegee is made up of three parts; a handle, channel and rubber blade. A quick release handle makes it very simple to change the channel.

Rubber blades come in lengths and it’s very important to change the rubber blade frequently. If the blade gets a nick in it, it will leave a line on the window.

Also as the rubber wears out it loses its sharp edge and is less efficient. Remember you can use both sides of the rubber. So be sure to flip it before throwing it away.

Squeegee Do’s & Don’ts

If you see lines on the window it could be caused by a dirty rubber blade. Run your finger over the blade to clean it or wipe it with a wet cloth. If that doesn’t do the trick, take the rubber out and wash it in the bucket. Another cause of watermarks left on the window may be because of a warped channel or the angle where the squeegee is being used.

Avoid using the squeegee on the window sill, use old rubber blades for that or another short squeegee.

Use a channel length to suit the size of the window. The wider the window the longer the blade should be, a 14″ squeegee is good for general domestic work.

As a general rule, it is better to use a squeegee blade that is shorter than the width of the window.

For shops and larger windows use an 18″ or 22″ blade to cover the window in fewer strokes. The longer the blade the more skill is required to turn the blade effectively.

Microfiber Cloth

Use a microfiber cloth to tidy up. Microfiber cloths are very absorbent, especially on a damp day. Use the cloth dry or very slightly damp to achieve the best results. If the cloth becomes too damp it will leave smears on the window.

Keep a stock of clean cloths and change them as the dry cloths become damp. Use them for the wet cloths and grab a new clean one.

A good window cleaner should only use one or two dry cloths a day.

Use a set of pouches to carry the cloths and keep a wet cloth in the front pouch for tidying up the window sills and dry cloths in the back for minimal detailing.

Never wring out the wet cloth in the bucket or the solution will get dirty very quickly.

A lot of excess water on a window or frame can be cleaned with a small squeegee kept in your front pouch, or use offcuts from old rubber blades.

Hip Bucket or Bucket on a Belt

Use a Bucket on a Belt as a place to keep your tools as you work. This will keep your tools from getting dirty or damaged and saves time going back and forth. There is a slot to hold a small retractable razor blade. A 4″ scraper is best, always with the protective cap engaged.

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Author: Jolie Baetzel

3 Comments

Join the discussion and tell us your opinion.

Jolie Baetzelreply
May 17, 2021 at 5:17 pm

This is a great article. Who wrote it?

Ann Gullyreply
May 18, 2021 at 12:35 am

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Ann Gullyreply
May 22, 2021 at 12:50 pm

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